Lisbon antique ID?
May 21, 2017 2:46 PM   Subscribe

I bought this shallow dish at a market in Lisbon, Portugal, today. It is about 5 inches wide and features some sort of demon/ram-hybrid head with three old 10-centimo coins and a variety of playing cards. I'm guessing it was intended as a change dish or something? Does it have symbolic meaning beyond guesses regarding gambling? Any additional information about this would be lovely.

For some reason this shallow brass (?) dish struck my fancy. I would enjoy learning anything more about it - approximate age, reason for existence, symbolism, etc. I asked the vendor, but she only spoke Portuguese (unsurprisingly) and her helpful marketplace neighbors who also only spoke Portuguese but really wanted to interact only managed to get across that it was metal despite their playful insistence that my fragile command of Spanish meant I clearly understood everything they said. (I will have no problem hearing from you that it was mass produced and given away for free by a casino, for instance - I will nevertheless like it; as the sticker implies, I only spent 10 euro on it.)
posted by vegartanipla to Shopping (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm guessing it's an ash tray.
posted by DarthDuckie at 3:07 PM on May 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

It could be Spanish, rather than Portuguese. In the pre-Euro Portuguese coin (the 'escudo'), which was in use since 1911 or so, the cents were called 'centavos', not 'cĂȘntimos'. The coins in there look more like these Spanish cents, perhaps?
posted by jlverissimo at 3:34 PM on May 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

There are several similar ones on ebay and other sites but nobody seems to know much about them. This one has the name of a hardware store on it, so I would guess they were advertising giveaways or used in casinos or clubs.

Also looks like the coins varied for the country they were sold in, since the hardware store one has US pennies. Unless somebody glued the pennies on later?
posted by interplanetjanet at 3:36 PM on May 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Here's one with French coins on it. One of the coins is dated 1940-something, so it can't be earlier than that.
posted by interplanetjanet at 3:45 PM on May 21, 2017

I'm going to guess this too this was popular furniture in Spanish or international gambling houses at some point. Here's another listing in Spanish.

Here's an extremely similar one from Argentina.
posted by vacapinta at 5:38 PM on May 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

After a bit more googling it looks like Parker Hardware was not a hardware store but a hardware wholesaler. So maybe the one with the name on it is a sample of a dish you could buy from them for your bar or nightclub.
posted by interplanetjanet at 7:03 PM on May 21, 2017

Note that the French one posted by @interplanetjanet has three slots for cigarettes. That one is clearly an ashtray so probably this one is too.
posted by Leontine at 8:46 PM on May 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

"This new Lucky Devil Tray is a pewter replica of an old advertising piece from the early 1900's. It has a gambling theme and can be used for a candy dish, coin tray, business card holder or most anything. 5 1/4" wide x 4 3/4" tall x 1" high. Great gift idea for the gambler!"

This listing calls it a Gamblers coin tray.

"We are offering a vintage solid nickeled bronze soap tray/trinket tray/calling card."

It does look like card receivers. It does sound again like Parkers Hardware?? And it was replicated around the world?
posted by vacapinta at 8:55 PM on May 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

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