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Unger Brothers Antique Sterling Silver Native American Check Protector, Newark, NJ, c. 1904

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A what? We'll admit we didn't know what this was when we purchased it but after checking our Unger Brothers 1904 catalog, there it was - 'CHECK PROTECTOR'.

This is a very rare desk accessory. There are 14 versions pictured in the catalog, all with beautifully designed fronts.

At the turn of the century, America's fascination with American Indian design was huge and depictions of American Indians, designs and colors appeared in silver, pottery, jewelry and textiles.

The piece functions by pinching the rollers on the check and dragging your written amount through the rotating wheels. These wheels have a series of small nubs which texturize the paper so that the amount cannot be altered without detection.

This rare novelty item is marked on the back with Unger Brother's trademark and 'STERLING/ 925-FINE/ PATd. JAN 7, 1902'. It measures 2.25 inches long and is in excellent condition.