Rare Sterling "Bird in Hand" Compact by Salvador Dali

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This extraordinary compact was designed by Salvador Dali around 1950. It has a streamlined bird shape, and it feels great in the hand. This design was made in three versions, bronze, silver-plate and sterling, with gold-plated accents. A blurb from the "WHAT'S NEW" section of "The Corpus Christi Caller-Times" of March 25, 1951 that describes a silver-plated bronze version of the "Bird in Hand" compact states:

"The bronze is silver finished, with gold-tipped wings and body, ruby-colored metallic eyes. While these will be in the moderate price range in department and jewelry stores, an earlier edition of 100 hand made models in sterling silver and gold was offered at $100 each."

This is the only sterling version of the compact that I have ever seen. Rather than the ruby colored metallic eyes, is has bezel set, cut rubies (or perhaps simulated rubies) for eyes.

There is a release on the tip of the tail that allows the wings to open upward and expose the powder compartment. This release also allows access to the pillbox in the tail. And, in perfect surrealist fashion, one pulls the bird's head off to access the lipstick. It's the most elegant combination of the sweet and the bizarre.

It comes with it's original presentation box and protective, fabric bag. The powder puff is still there, and it has never been used. It doesn't look like it ever had any lipstick in it, either.

The box measures 3 5/8" wide x 5 3/8" deep x 1 5/8" high.

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Salvador Dali
Elgin American
Place of Origin
United States
Good. Spotting to the finish, ding to the beak, discoloration to the clear finish inside the powder compartment, fraying of the cord and overall wear to the cloth bag, marks, dents and adhesive residue to the box, light spotting to the mirror.
Wear consistent with age and use
2.63 in. W x 1.25 in. D x 4.5 in. L
7 cm W x 3 cm D x 11 cm L
4.5 in. (11 cm)
Dealer Location
Chicago, IL
Number of Items
Reference Number
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1stdibs seller since 2009
Located in Chicago, IL