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Hi everyone. 


Need some help here obviously.  Got this box.  It measures 5-1/2 inches as a cube.  Has no markings as from an artist or manufacturer.  Has some great art on top.  Bird looks to be inlaid and the branches seem to be lightly carved and stained.  Very ornate.  Each corner has a brass piece over it.  Two brass handles on the sides.  The front has a hlf mortise lock.  The key is the kind with a hole in the middle.  The hook that would close the top is still on and in good condition.  The bottom is covered in leather(?), shows age and has 4 brass feet.  The two small brass hinges that hold the top are done with vey tiny screws not nails.  I'm wondering if this is a recipe box or jewelry box, or something else.  Also any idea of origins, age or manufacturer, artist?  It seems pretty well done to be a piece to just have hanging around.   Anything about this item would be great.


Thanks Paul   

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Replies to This Discussion

none.  it has a lot of what looked like a cross between small wood shaving and dust... possibly dried tea leaves?  Thanks 

Yes, tea was a very valuable commodity and was kept in a locked box for safe keeping.



Are they commonly reproduced?  Is there a way to tell if it is origianl or date it by it's style?

I'm not a collector.  I dabble with buying storage units.  This happened to be in one. The lady had passes and she traveled all over the world.  I have a bunch of items that out of neccessity I'm having to learn about.  I try to sell everything I buy.  I just don't want to sell something to someone under the wrong premise.


The design on top is "Wood Burning" a popular pastime for many generations, usually done by boys and men. It does have age though, maybe 1890's - 1920 or so. It's a beautiful box, certainly could have been a tea safe.


Most tea leaf boxes were longer, 9-15 inches.  Other precious commodities were also kept under lock, namely betel nuts (chewed they are hallucinogenic), tobacco, jewelry, money.  Betel nuts can be bought today, they run around $22.-40. USD/pound.

The brass corners remind me of India during the British occupation, 19th Century. The design looks Asian.  Betel nuts come from SE Asia.

Nice box, if you don't have a key take it to a Locksmith and he can get one for it. Probably will cost $10. but will increase value.

Thanks,  Like I stated earlier, I'm not a collector.  Should I decide to buy a key, what would a reasonable estimate be for the value of an item like this.  Also where is a good place to advertise it?

I've seen some old boxes, with keys, sell for up to $650. but I think maybe 1/4th that would be more in line, $150-160.

BTW don't clean the box or polish the brass! It ruins the value.

Awesome, Thanks. Where is the best place to sell something like this.  On this sight, ebay or other?    

The bird in the center looks very similar to the Canada Goose. Could have possibly been made by someone here.

Robert your looking at the bird upside down..its tail is up, head is down, wings on either side. Bird is diving.  Tail does look like a long neck of a Canadian Goose, but the leaves on the tree are bamboo, not maples!  :)

I've got to go with tomsantiques on this one.


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