Zarfle the Garthok: The $200,000 Coffee Clutch


The zarf, which I first learned about while reading A-Z Coffee, is basically a historic version of the coffee clutch—also known as the cardboard sleeves placed on to-go cups.

However, in the 1800’s, coffee drinking Turks had a bit more style than post consumer cardboard. While taking part in ceremonious coffee rituals, the simple shallow cups that held the coffee, were nestled in ornamental stands like this one, coming up for sale at Christie’s for $150,000 to $200,000—get your bids in now!

Zarfs were generally made in metals, including brass and silver, but examples in wood, ivory and tortoiseshell are also known. At the beginning of the 19th century, Geneva was the world’s capital for luxury goods, and the jewelers and gold-box makers there created the most precious examples of the zarf in gold, enamel, and jewels for the Ottoman court. This object is one of only two zarfs known that are almost entirely formed of gems—this one of rubies, offset by large diamonds & military trophies topped by the Turkish crescent.

This makes the Jimmy Choo coffee sleeve seem like a bargain.

[h/t Unconsumption]

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