Of good gauge silver, the desirable teardrop form,
having a hinged opening to both the top and base,
the cover with scratched owner's initials 'L*H', with nut storage space inside,
the base the hinged base opening to a metal rasp
Condition : Excellent for age and usage, the hinges are in good stead and close flush,
with slight looseness through age and use; usual minor surface scratches and small dents;
inside of lower cover showing impression from the grater
The earliest nutmeg graters originated in England in the early 1600s.
Small "pocket nutmeg graters", began to appear in the mid-1600s,
first as one-piece silver tubes, and next as the rare teardrop graters. Both are objects rare survivors.
And only the wealthiest might have owned one.
During the 17th century, nutmeg was extremely coveted -
valuable in not only adding seasoning to food and drink,
but was thought to have medicinal and mystical properties.
However, the entire nutmeg trade was controlled by the Dutch,
and imported Indonesia's Dutch-owned Banda Islands -- at a great expense.
The spice was so important that the Dutch, in 1674, agreed to trade the entire island of Manhattan
(then New Amsterdam) for a small British island (Granada) whereon the British grew just a few nutmeg trees.
Among the most popular uses for nutmeg was flavoring for "punch", wine and ciders.
Elite gentlemen would carry in their vest pockets a small silver grater,
with their personal nutmeg supply, thereby exhibiting both their wealth – and sophistication,
especially to the nearby ladies!
During the 18th and 19th centuries, graters – and nutmeg – became much more available
and were made in many materials, including treen, enamel, ivory, brass and gold.
1" High / 1.25" Long (closed) / 3.25" (fully open) / .7 oz.