Featured Antique Pill Box - Help

Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by Cereus17, Jan 12, 2024.

  1. Cereus17

    Cereus17 Member

    Hi, I’m looking for any information that the members here can offer about this little hinged pill box (its approximate age, country of origin, materials…).

    I’m hoping that there are a few people in this group who are familiar with painted enamels / or with antique pill boxes who can guide me.

    The box is about 39 mm in diameter (just over 1 1/2 inches) and it’s about 17 mm high (just over 10/16 inches). I think the metal bottom is made of chased brass. (Is that the correct term?)

    My best guess is that the box dates from the mid to late 19th century and comes from Europe. (England? / France? / Austria?) Does that sound right?

    I've searched Google Images and eBay for similar boxes but I didn’t find much information that seemed useful.

    Thanks in advance for any information!

    IMG_20240112_113903w.jpg IMG_20240112_102256w.jpg IMG_20240112_102310w.jpg IMG_20240112_102453w.jpg IMG_20240112_102411w.jpg
  2. moreotherstuff

    moreotherstuff Izorizent

    Could be a snuffbox. I would guess continental Europe, and mid-19th C sounds plausible. Boxes like these frequently made simply as decorative pieces, any functionality being secondary. These and similar trinkets were the original use of the word "toy".
  3. Cereus17

    Cereus17 Member

    Thanks. I had the idea that it was too small to be a snuffbox. But if it's designed to be purely ornamental the size doesn't matter much.

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  4. moreotherstuff

    moreotherstuff Izorizent

    The hinged lid is what makes me suggest snuff. Depends on how securely it closes.
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  5. johnnycb09

    johnnycb09 Well-Known Member

    WHat a pretty little thing. Id guess French,maybe a patch box ?
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  6. Cereus17

    Cereus17 Member

    It has a good snug fit.

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  7. Hollyblue

    Hollyblue Well-Known Member

    Looks like the metal part was cast from a mold,not chased or engraved.
  8. Cereus17

    Cereus17 Member

    I first heard of patch boxes today while researching this.

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  9. Cereus17

    Cereus17 Member

    Interesting. I wondered why there was no seam.

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  10. moreotherstuff

    moreotherstuff Izorizent

    Are the interior sides of the box straight, or do they also curve outwards?
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  11. Cereus17

    Cereus17 Member

    The walls curve back inwards towards the top.

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  12. moreotherstuff

    moreotherstuff Izorizent

    Cast with subsequent handwork? The exterior decoration could be chased. The overall pattern cast? There are lines there that look too crisp for casting to my eye, but I could be wrong. I'm trying to visualize how it might have been formed. I don't know enough about casting, but, if cast you have to be able to remove it from the mold and that's going to be difficult if the inside walls curve outward. Just a multi-stage process I guess. Maybe cast and then pressed?
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  13. Hollyblue

    Hollyblue Well-Known Member

    Enlarge the 3rd photo down,you can see casting bubbles in the "chased/engraved" lines.
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  14. moreotherstuff

    moreotherstuff Izorizent

    These look like bubbles:

    And if you look at the pattern of dots on the inside: if it was handwork, they would be better defined.

    But are you seeing tool marks here:

    One thing that does bother me is the end of the hinge:
    It not only looks sloppy, but it also looks bright.

    Well... I don't know what to say.
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  15. i need help

    i need help Moderator Moderator

  16. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    The little fisher person is Psyche.
  17. Cereus17

    Cereus17 Member

    Thanks for pointing out the bubbles. I wouldn't have known how to spot them.

    Re: the hinge. I spotted the ragged end when I photographed it. Looks like recent damage of some sort. Bought this on eBay fairly recently.

  18. Cereus17

    Cereus17 Member

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  19. Cereus17

    Cereus17 Member

    Interesting! Do you know why Psyche is fishing? (For souls? For Love?) Don't know my Greek mythology. (But I had thought of this as an analog to Cupid's hunting with a bow and arrow.)

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  20. kentworld

    kentworld Well-Known Member

    Did anyone say Italian? The painting style makes me think Italian. Better quality than most souvenir stuff...that's all I got!
    Cereus17 likes this.
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