The C-couronné poinçon was a tax mark applied to alloys containing copper between March 1745 and February 1749.
Mains à papiers or presse-papiers of this type are described in the Inventory taken following the death of the banker Nicolas Beaujon in January 1787. Placed upon a Louis XV lacquer bureau plat in the grand salon on the first floor of his Parisian hôtel, now the Elysée Palace, they were listed as:
Deux petits chevaux de bronze en mains à papiers sur soc [i.e. socle] de cuivre doré...
These were probably sold in the sale that followed, which began on 25 April 1787.
These galloping horses are almost certainly inspired by the model executed by Francesco Fanelli. A Florentine sculptor, Fanelli worked in Genoa from 1609-10, before moving to England, where he was patronised by both Henry, Prince of Wales and his brother Charles I. In 1642, Fanelli left England for Paris, where he died in 1668.
Although Fanelli's oeuvre is scantly documented, his only signed work being the bust of Charles II as Prince of Wales at Welbeck Abbey, dated 1640, he appears to have specialised in small-scale, darkly patinated bronzes, primarily of equestrian subjects (J. Pope-Hennessy, Essays on Italian Sculpture, London, 1968, pp. 166-171). A closely related galloping horse features in the Cupid on horseback group recorded by Vertue amongst the sculptures by Fanelli at Welbeck Abbey in 1736, as well in the Cabinet Room at Whitehall Palace as described by van der Doort. Casts of this latter model are now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and were sold anonymously at Christie's London, 10 December 1991, lot 98; whilst a further variant surmounted by St. George and the Dragon was sold anonymously at Sotheby's New York, 10 January 1995, lot 64. Interestingly, this latter group is thought to have been based on a painting by Raphael now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, which was sold from the collection of Charles I during the Civil War.