Here's the history , so far...Natural Pearl set, 18K gold “Perfumer”
Purchased by NY gentleman from La Vie Russe' in the late 50's, possibly 1960.
Stayed with him till 17 years ago when another private party purchased it. This has not been publicly shown (no auction exposure). Un restored, original case & key.
I'm trying to get the previous owner's name to see if it's in the La Vie Russe' archives, he was a frequent buyer from them ( he's since passed away).
This is an extremely rare and important gold, enamel and pearl-set musical perfume-sprayer automaton, a miniature (4 5/16” = 11cm long when closed ) pistol shaped jewel that of course doesn’t actually shoot but instead has a perfume spraying flower – accompanied by music – slowly emerge from the barrel-end when triggered.
It's one of the only 14 examples known to exist, and though unsigned , is virtually identical to those produced circa 1805 by Mouliniè et Bautte or Bautte et Moynier in Geneva, Switzerland.
When first they were produced and sold, each of these magnificent pieces was delivered as a set composed of a matching-pair primarily for the Chinese market.
In recent years, examples have been auctioned, fetching 421,500 Swiss francs and at Christie’s London in November 2006 fetching £344,000 ($654,632) to well exceed Christie’s £150,000 – £250,000 ($285,450 – $475,750) Estimate.
Known recent provenances of some of the pieces sold through these auctions include The Palace Collections of Egypt (originally acquired by King Farouk in March 1954) and The Sandberg Watch Collection.
Additionally, a similar piece has been part of the Watches and Enamels of Geneva Collection assembled by Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf throughout the first half of the 20th century.