This remarkable antique stickpin features the head of the god Mercury (Hermes in Greek parlance), who wore a winged hat and served as messenger of the gods, bringer of dreams and patron of travelers.
Items with themes from Greco-Roman mythology are tricky to date, since there have been several major Classical Revivals in the past few hundred years. Because the god's image isn't idealized in the Victorian manner and the pin's construction suggests an early dating, I've concluded it's Georgian (and more likely 18th than early 19th century). The stylized profile anticipates Art Deco, but the pin's construction isn't right for that dating, nor is the scale. It's less than an inch tall and its head measures about 15mm (5/8") round. (I say "about", because it isn't a perfect circle, being hand-wrought.)
The material appears to be gilt bronze and the detailing is marvelous. Condition, as you see, is exceptional relative to age. While its original owner would have been a gentleman, who needed pins to secure the voluminous neckcloths that protected shirts not washed often, this jewel is suitable for either a man or a women today and will add a striking note of antiquity to any lapel, necktie ot scarf.
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