Vintage ATLAS, Boston, Custom-Made AFRICAN ELEPHANT Briefcase, Circa 1948
Styles: Collectors Shoes/Object d'Art, Custom-Bespoke-Maas, Exotic Leathers, Luggage
Important Historical Custom-Made
The African elephant hide for this briefcase was most likely provided to the maker by the owner himself. Atlas of Boston was America’s premiere luggage producer of the time and this is their standard “Brief-O-Fold” model in every detail, except that it is custom-made in this spectacular and, frankly, indestructible material.
The monogram represents Major (later Honorary Lt. Colonel) Mervyn Constantine Sanford Phipps, born on 26 February 1912. Phipps was the son of Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Clare Edmund Phipps and Frances Ward and a descendant of King James I. He was educated at Harrow School and New College, Oxford.
Phipps was stationed in Egypt with the, then, newly armoured 7th Hussars and took part in the battles of Fort Capuzzo, Sidi Barrani, Bardia and against Rommel’s Afrika Corp at Tobruk and the battle of Sidi Rezegh where the 7th suffered severe losses but succeeded in delaying Rommel’s advance toward Egypt. Phipps was awarded the Croix de Guerre and raised to the rank of Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel in the 7th Hussars. After the war he was Military Attaché to Mexico and Central America. Col. Phipps died in 1983
Certain remnants of Col. Phipps’ kit were discovered in 2007 among the holdings of the Percival David Museum in Gordon Square when the contents of the museum were being transferred for exhibition in Room 95 of the British Museum. Never having pertained to the collection’s oriental interests, Colonel Phipps’ African items were deaccessioned.
Whether your interest be to put this treasure to daily use, a use for which it is eminently suitable, or merely to admire it among your collection of exotic leathers, this is an antique of unmatched beauty and a considerable pedigree. As you have read, this is literally a museum piece.
Condition: showing almost no wear. Leather soft and supple. Lock and latch functional but key absent. Brasswork showing slightest rubbing. Interior clean. Overall in superb condition.