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Silver Collector Forums

Flask or Handwarmer


I have had this piece of silver for some time (a family piece). There are no hallmarks on it but I think it is silver. It is inscribed with the words Quand vous avez froid pensez a moi.
It has a hinged handle at the top and the lid screws off. I took it to a silver dealer but he had not seen one of these before and was not sure what it was. It is rounded on the back as well as the front and is very tactile. It is about 3.5 inches tall excluding handle and around 8 inches in circumference.

Any ideas?


Its a strange item. The inscription is obviously french, but french silver of this age would always have hallmarks, so perhaps it isn’t silver?? It doesn’t look like silver to me in the picture but photos are always deceiving anyway.

The inscription, ‘when you are cold, think of me’ would make sense for a hand warmer but also for a whiskey flask, so that’s no help either.

Can we have a picture of the other side? I can’t quite imagine what the handle looks like and how it fits on.



Hi John

there are definately no hallmarks but the piece does tarnish - the jeweller who looked at it believed it to be silver. The hinge is substantial and I wonder if it would have been hung up in a carriage or similar perhaps?

I have attached another 2 photos. Hope they can throw some light on the subject. I look forward to seeing your reply


I’m no expert but I would say it’s unusual for any silver from the western world (and most other places) to have no “hallmarks” so my first guess would be that it is not silver. What colour is the tarnishing and is it magnetic? These, as you probably know, are simplistic ways to judge whether an item is solid silver or plated steel. Plate will tarnish with a blue/violet colour whereas solid silver only ever tarnishes black.