the mysterious box

We currently have a temporary exhibition about the Wolfers family (famous jewlers from Brussels) and Victor Horta (famous art nouveau architect).

During this exhibition the curator received this silver box. We know some things about it, but there is also alot we don't know. That's why we need your help.

Here is what we know:

- It's a silver sigar box, made by Wolfers (there is a quality mark on the back: triangle with three stars, 800 and Wolfres freres). The 800 is a gradation of the quality of the silver.

- On the front is says 'Zur Erinnerung an Gemeinsame Arbeit in Belgien. Brüssel, den 1. november 1918'. This translates to 'In memory of the joint work in Belgium. Brussels, the first of november, 1918'

- The box traveled from Belgium (where it was commissioned/made and bought) to Germany and back to Belgium

 

Here is what we presume:

- The names on the box are officials (not military personnel: it would be very likely to have a military grade engraved together with the names)

- The box is a souvenir for people who worked together in occupied Belgium. With this in mind, it's not unlikely there were more of the same boxes made and handed out (there are 16 autographs on the box, perhaps 16 of these boxes were made)

- The box was made/commissioned as a souvenir as soon as this group of people realised the war was over (the date is prior to the armistice: 1 november 1918 vs 11 november 1918).

- There are 14 autographs on top of the box, 2 on the front. Perhaps the two on the front are from the officials in charge

- There is one autograph (on the front) that is perfectly readable: Brinckman(n). All the others are open to discussion.

We would like your help with the following:

- Best case: you have seen this (kind of) box with someone you know (a neighbour, relative,...) and know more about it.

- The signatures are not at all clear: we would like to know the names of everyone that signed (this might help in locating those persons or finding out more about them)

- We would like to know more about the context: who were these people? What was their job in occupied Belgium?

 

Thanks in advance to help us solve this mystery! and thanks to send your ideas & answers to our colleague Bart Schouppe.

 

The bow is now on show in our exhibition Horta & Wolfers.