Learn about Card Cases

In the early 19th century etiquette dictated that upper class ladies and gentlemen should carry a visiting card, also known as a calling card, being a small paper card, about the size of present day business cards, printed with the individual's details, and often bearing an artistic design.

In 19th century England, the caller or the footmen accompanying the caller (if he or she was very important) would deliver the visiting cards to the servants of their prospective hosts, introducing the arrival of the card bearer.

Card cases solely for the purpose of holding visiting cards were introduced at this time and etiquette dictated that ladies should always carry their cards in a card case, although it was acceptable for a gentleman to carry his cards in the breast pocket of his jacket.

Reflecting the fact that card cases were mainly used by ladies, the designs were feminine in nature.

The early card cases were made of silver and leather with fine gilt tooling. The earliest French cases, c1760, were made of gold, silver and enamel, sometimes with ivory panels or beadwork. more...
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Two Tartanware card cases Scottish, circa 1880, one labelled McPherson 11 cm long, the other labelled Clan Stuart 8.7 cm long

A Bearn card case by Hermes, styled in blue jean leather with palladium metal hardware, 7 x 10 x 1.5 cm

Mother-of-pearl and Abalone card case, of rectangular shape, height 1.2 cm width 7.8 cm

A Victorian mother-of-pearl calling card case, 19th century, the hinged case with a diagonally set mother-of-pearl tile design. Length 10.5 cm. Width 8 cm

A gold case, the rectangular hinged case having finely chased decoration and push clasp, in 18ct gold, 65mm x 73mm. Condition: Continental marks to the interior base lip of the case. Total weight 80.9gms.

A French rosewood and inlaid card case. 10 cm high, 11.5 cm long.

A card case with sliding lid decorated with porcupine spines and medallions of bone, 22 cm long, 10 cm wide. Provenance: Property of a Gentleman, Melbourne. NB:

A whalebone card case, c1830s. 8.5 x 5 cm. Note: This lot has been identified at the time of cataloguing as containing organic material which may be subject to restrictions regarding export

A plain playing card case, of box form with hinged lid. Birmingham 1901 by Henry Matthews. 9.6 cm x 7 cm x 22.

A diamond, gem-set and silk brocaded evening clutch bag, Cartier, circa 1930 the clutch decorated with a gold and rose pink foliate pattern, the interior with pink satin lining, completed by a diamond and red gem-set clasp, including a lighter, signed Cart

Vintage Tartan Ware card case with Stuart tartan pattern, 10.5 cm long approx.

A French amboyna card case and a painted card case, the amboyna card case with a hinged top, with enclosing compartments, the painted case with fabric interior. Each 8 cm high.

Inlaid sandalwood visiting card case from Vizagapatam-late 19th.century

A Chinese export carved wood card case intricately carved with all over decoration of pagodas, trees and people, circa 1900. Height 11 cm. Width 7 cm

Lord Harris' visiting card case: mother-of-pearl and hand-painted visiting card case (78 x 102 x 9mm), decorated with cricket scene on one side, and portrait of Lord Harris on the other side, with initials 'Hon Grch' (Harris' initials). Beautiful cricket i

A Cantonese carved sandal wood card case, Qing Dynasty, 19th century, 10 x 6 cm

A Victorian lady's shell inlaid card case, late 19th century, of hinged form and with a diamond pattern inlay of mother-of-pearl and abalone shell, with a petite button release catch to the side and lined with original red fabric. Length 9 cm. Width 5.5 cm

An Edwardian mother-of-pearl and abalone card case, the lid opens to reveal a silk concertina section for individual cards.

An Edwardian mother-of-pearl and abalone (paua) card case, rectangular form, the exterior with alternating diamonds of mother-of-pearl and abalone.

A Chinese carved and stained hardwood card case, late 19th/early 20th century, probably walnut, rectangular of typical form with a slide-off top, carved all over with scenes of figures around buildings amidst trees. Height 11.5 cm. Width 7.5 cm

A gold card case, with engine turned decoration, hallmarked Birmingham 1920-21, maker W.N. Ltd, 8 x 4 cm

A Chinese lacquerware card case, first half 20th century, rectangular with a slide-off top, red-brown lacquered with gilt bamboo decoration to one side and cash discs to the other. Height 12.5 cm. Width 6.5 cm

Henry Matthews, yellow gold card case, 9ct yellow gold card case on chain, Birmingham 1917, weight 26 grams

A gold card case of woven design, the card case, in two tone 18ct gold

A Japanese lacquer and gilt decorated ladies card case, signed Moho Saku,Meiji period, Recto worked with a scene of possibly Kinkaku-ji (, temple of the golden Pavilion), verso a pair of peacocks against chrysanthemums, the male standing on a piece of rock

Art Deco enamel and diamond gold box, Cartier, 1933, the rectangular engraved 18ct gold case decorated all over with a black and white enamel abstract pattern, with rose cut diamond pushpiece to the black enamel sides, opening to reveal a single compartmen

A Chinese carved hardwood card case. Early 20th century, rectangular of typical form with a slide-off top, carved all over with scenes of figures around buildings amidst trees. Height 11.5 width 8 cm.

A Chinese export rectangular card case 19th century, the sides profusely carved all over with panels of figures in pavilions and shading by blossom and fir trees

Inlaid card case featuring bone, hardstone, metal and timber. Length 10 cm

A Victorian period mother-of-pearl card case, the exterior decorated with engraved floral patterns. 10.5 x 7.5 cm.

Inlaid bone card case with hardstone decoration. Length 10 cm