This superb looking desk seal is one of our seal's in focus because of its superb quality of manufacturer but also because it has a fascinating story attached to it in the form of a Royal scandal......
A two-colour gold and hardstone double-ended seal engraved with the arms of the Prince of Wales, son of Queen Victoria who succeeded to the throne as Edward VII in 1901.
The handle is in patterned red brecciated Saxon agate with amethyst inclusions, of columnar form, stepped at one end, the other with a plume-chased and reeded gold collar. The smaller circular bloodstone matrix is engraved with the Prince of Wales’s crest within the Order of the Garter, below the coronet of a Prince of Wales. The stepped end has an engraved and bright-cut red-gold chevron mount; its later bloodstone matrix is engraved with a hand holding thirteen cards, within an inscription that reads: to err is human, to forgive divine.
Although the badge could be that of the Prince Regent, later George IV, the treatment of the plumes and coronet is more consistent with it being that of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, son of Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert, who succeeded to the throne in 1901 as Edward VII.
The hand of cards and motto refers perhaps to a celebrated court case of 1890, known as the Royal Baccarat Scandal, in which the heir to the throne was called to testify at the Old Bailey.
Christie’s, London, 24 October 1990, lot 39.
English, probably circa 1870; with later additions.
Height: 61 mm.
Diameter of matrices: 25 mm and 33 mm.