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Boxes / Desk

Browse our collection of antique silver Boxes, Miniature Items, Inkstands and Desk Related Objects

Small Silver and Gold Boxes, Vinaigrettes, Snuff Boxes, Tea Caddies, Biscuit Boxes, Cases, Cigar Boxes, Speciality Boxes etc.
Since antique times caskets have been used to keep important documents and jewels. In England silver boxes (and gold) in a various of shapes and sizes became popular in the seventeenth century. Small boxes, designed for many diverse uses – counters, snuff, vestas, tobacco, vinaigrettes, scent, nutmeg, toothpicks, toilet boxes. Larger boxes, made for specific storage requirements, including tea, sugar, biscuits, cigarettes and cigars. The jewellery box remains as popular today as it did in ancient times.

Miniature Boxes, Dishes, Toys, Models, Kitchenware and Musical Instruments
Silver toys originated in Europe during the 17th century and were made initially for the children of kings and queens. At that time England was still suffering under Puritanism and it wasn’t until the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 that silver toys were made available in this country. The earliest English silver toys date from 1665 and were made in London; it was uncommon for toys to be made in the provinces. The Dutch were the leading manufacturers of silver toys, their most prolific period being 1725-1750, and by then wealthy royalty, landowners and business men were buying toys for their own pleasure as well as that of their children’s.
The Traveller’s Sample would be an exact copy of a full size original. The great attention to detail and slightly larger size than normal toys of this period generally indicates this purpose.

Inkstands and Inkwells. Desk Accessories, Bells, Pens, Letter Openers, Seals
The inkstand did not enter into common household use until the 18th century. Earlier 17th century examples exist but are exceedingly rare. The main requirement was a container for ink and another for sand (or pounce) which was used for drying the ink. Also required was a space to put quills. Some inkstands also incorporated a taper stick for melting sealing wax or even a bell.
Desk accessories form a wide and interesting collecting field and they make an excellent gentleman’s gift. It’s thought that the first handwritten letter was written, probably on canvas, by a Persian queen in around 500BC. Letters were vital for basic communication, both personal and formal, and were governed by basic rules of etiquette. The equipment required to write a simple letter was quite extensive including paper, envelope, pen, ink, blotter, stamps. Once written the letter or scroll needed to be sealed using a candle wax kit. Letter openers are useful gifts.

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Boxes / Desk

Browse our collection of antique silver Boxes, Miniature Items, Inkstands and Desk Related Objects

Small Silver and Gold Boxes, Vinaigrettes, Snuff Boxes, Tea Caddies, Biscuit Boxes, Cases, Cigar Boxes, Speciality Boxes etc.
Since antique times caskets have been used to keep important documents and jewels. In England silver boxes (and gold) in a various of shapes and sizes became popular in the seventeenth century. Small boxes, designed for many diverse uses – counters, snuff, vestas, tobacco, vinaigrettes, scent, nutmeg, toothpicks, toilet boxes. Larger boxes, made for specific storage requirements, including tea, sugar, biscuits, cigarettes and cigars. The jewellery box remains as popular today as it did in ancient times.

Miniature Boxes, Dishes, Toys, Models, Kitchenware and Musical Instruments
Silver toys originated in Europe during the 17th century and were made initially for the children of kings and queens. At that time England was still suffering under Puritanism and it wasn’t until the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 that silver toys were made available in this country. The earliest English silver toys date from 1665 and were made in London; it was uncommon for toys to be made in the provinces. The Dutch were the leading manufacturers of silver toys, their most prolific period being 1725-1750, and by then wealthy royalty, landowners and business men were buying toys for their own pleasure as well as that of their children’s.
The Traveller’s Sample would be an exact copy of a full size original. The great attention to detail and slightly larger size than normal toys of this period generally indicates this purpose.

Inkstands and Inkwells. Desk Accessories, Bells, Pens, Letter Openers, Seals
The inkstand did not enter into common household use until the 18th century. Earlier 17th century examples exist but are exceedingly rare. The main requirement was a container for ink and another for sand (or pounce) which was used for drying the ink. Also required was a space to put quills. Some inkstands also incorporated a taper stick for melting sealing wax or even a bell.
Desk accessories form a wide and interesting collecting field and they make an excellent gentleman’s gift. It’s thought that the first handwritten letter was written, probably on canvas, by a Persian queen in around 500BC. Letters were vital for basic communication, both personal and formal, and were governed by basic rules of etiquette. The equipment required to write a simple letter was quite extensive including paper, envelope, pen, ink, blotter, stamps. Once written the letter or scroll needed to be sealed using a candle wax kit. Letter openers are useful gifts.

  • Circa 1635

    Simon and Willem De Passe

    9993 Charles I Antique Silver Box

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    A charming piece of early silver. An antique silver counter box of cylindrical form, the openwork sides pierced with fanciful birds and scrolling foliage. The cover has a bust portrait of Charles I, the base has a bust portrait of Henrietta Maria. This box has no counters.

  • 1673

     

    8394 Charles II Silver Porringer

    £2,250

    A rare early English silver porringer of small size having 2 side handles and belly shape. Lovely original hand beaten finish. Weight 69 grams, 2.2 troy ounces. Height 5.5 cms. Diameter 6 cms. London 1673. Maker IC* listed in Jacksons.

  • 1675

    Isaac Dighton

    9172 Antique Charles II Silver Boxes

    £6,950

    A very rare matching pair of early antique silver boxes of octagonal form, with pull off tops, dating from the reign of King Charles II. Sterling silver. Simple plain form with a large hand engraved crest within tied plumage, very typical of the date. Superb antique colour. At this date boxes of this type would have originally been part of an extensive toilet service. Total weight 239 grams, 7.6 troy ounces. Height 3.5 cm. Width of top 9 cm. London 1675. Maker Isaac Dighton, London.

  • 1675 - 1679

    Marx Schaller

    9789 Antique German Silver Tea Cannister

    £6,500

    A 17th century German parcel-gilt silver caddy of barrel shape. With a screw top lid and drop ring handle. Beautifully made and very tactile to hold. Suitable for tea and sugar. Raised on four ball feet, the box is decorated throughout with silver lobes against a matted gilt background. Weight 321 grams, 10.3 troy ounces. Height 11.5cm (to the top), 15cm (to top of handle). Stamped on the top and underside of body with German silver marks and assay scrape for Augsburg, Germany. Maker Marx Schaller II. Circa 1675-79. See Rosenburg German silver marks for Augsburg page 127.

  • Circa 1680

     

    9568 Antique Dutch Silver Marriage Box

    £9,500

    A 17th century silver gilt casket of traditional rectangular form. The domed top with swing handle is hand engraved with a bridal couple surrounded by birds and foliage. The body, standing on four ball feet, has a front locking catch in the form of a flower, and is hand engraved with old testament scenes. Initials to the front of the lid. Weight 162 grams, 5.2 troy ounces. Height 7.7cm. Length 8.5cm. Depth 5cm. Stamped underneath twice with a maker’s mark (anvil?) unidentified. Circa 1680.

  • Circa 1680

     

    9855 17th Century Continental Silver Pomander

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    A fascinating piece of history contained in a small silver globe. This antique silver pomander of spherical form has all-over chased decoration of flowers & leaf-scrolls in low relief. The screw top unturns to release the six numbered, hinged segments with sliding covers, the interior with hand engraved flowers. The foot unscrews to reveal a secret hollow compartment. Weight 89 grams, 2.8 troy ounces. Height 6.5cm. Spread 9cm fully extended. The pomander is made of unmarked silver It is quite usual for a small article of this date to be unmarked. Probably Dutch. Circa 1680.

  • 1683

    Samuel Hawkes

    9523 Charles II Silver Wine Taster

    £2,550

    A rare early English two-handled wine taster in sterling silver from the reign of Charles II. With a simple plain form and wirework handles. Excellent patina and faint signs of the hand hammered finish. Owners initials inscribed underneath. Weight 27 grams, just under 1 troy ounce. Height 2.2 cm (bowl), 3.5 cm (to top of handle). Diameter of top 6.5 cm. Spread across handles 9.2 cm. London 1683. Marked inside at the bottom with the makers mark “SH” within a heart shaped shield, probably Samuel Hawkes (*see David Mitchell’s book on “Silversmiths in Stuart and Elizabethan England”).

  • Circa 1690

    Anthony Nelme

    9371 Antique 17th Century Silver Boxes

    £3,750

    A pair of early English antique sterling silver toilet jars with lift off lids. Plain octagonal form. The tops have a hand engraved armorial within plumage feathers, typical of the Charles II/James II period. These unusual miniature toilet jars are very charming. Superb antique colour. At this date boxes of this type would have originally been part of an extensive toilet service. Total weight 148 grams, 4.7 troy ounces. Height 6cm. Diameter of lid 3.8cm. Makers mark only for Anthony Nelme. Circa 1690.

  • 1690

     

    9997 William & Mary Antique Silver Nutmeg Grater

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    A charming little late 17th century silver nutmeg grater of teardrop form, one side fitted with a serrated rasp. Each side has a hinged lid with stand-away hinge. Both covers are hand engraved with simple foliate decoration. Weight 29 grams, 0.9 troy ounce. Height 2.5 cm. Top 3.7 x 2.9 cm. Total spread across the covers 8.3cm. Unmarked silver. English. Circa 1690.

  • 1693

    George Manjoy

    9539 William & Mary Antique Silver Miniature Mug

    £2,350

    A delightful little collector’s piece. This rare miniature (or toy) mug is an exact copy of a full size original. Of globular form it has a reeded and incised neck, and double scroll handle. This style was only made for a short period at the end of the 17th century and is the earliest type of mug you are likely to come across. The body is engraved with an exotic bird and leafy branches. Weight 14 grams, less than 1/2 troy ounce. Height 3.5cm. Spread 4.9cm. London 1693. Maker George Manjoy, a specialist toy maker.

  • Circa 1714

    John Swann

    9803 Antique Silver Snuff Box

    £695

    A little period gem. A small rectangular silver snuff box with simple plain styling and gilded interior. Queen Anne or George I period. Weight 37 grams, 1.2 troy ounces. Top measures 5cm x 3.5cm. Stamped inside the base with a single makers mark “IS” with the distinctive swan for John Swann. London circa 1714. Britannia standard silver.

  • 1723

    Edward Gibbons

    9133 George I Silver Tea Caddies with Sliding Tops

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    A rare pair of antique sterling silver tea caddy boxes with sliding lids. The removable cap doubles up as a tea measure. Lovely plain hexagonal design and good gauge silver. Each sliding top caddy has a decorative cartouche hand engraved to the front. Total weight 390 grams, 12.5 troy ounces. Height 12 cms. Base 9 x 6 cms. London 1723. Maker Edward Gibbons.

  • 1733

    Edward Vincent

    9695 George II Silver Box

    £8,750

    A rare antique silver box of hexagonal form with a folding strapwork catch; the hinged lid having a large drop handle supported by ball finials. Of plain form and heavy gauge silver, this unusual box is extremely heavy. The interior pull out tray has two hinged lids enclosing six compartments. Possibly a spice box, although spice boxes of this period usually had a double centrally hinged lid, could also be used for cash or jewellery. Weight 1268 grams, 40.7 troy ounces. Height 9.5cm. Top measures 17 x 12cm. London 1733. Maker Edward Vincent. Sterling silver.

  • Circa 1740

     

    9621 Antique Gold Pique Box

    £3,500

    An antique tortoiseshell box of circular bombe form inlaid overall with gold pique dot work. The cover and base are overlaid with solid gold cut work ornament of classical figures and motifs. Diameter 6 cm. Height 3.1 cm. Circa 1740. Probably English. Unmarked gold.

  • 1740

     

    9957 George II Antique Silver Cashew Box

    £675

    An attractive little antique sterling silver cashew box, or silver snuff box, of heart shaped design. Original gilt finish. The embossed lid decoration shows a young man playing a lute with a putto in the background. Weight 40 grams, 1.2 troy ounces. Height 2.5cm. Top measures 6 x 5cm. London 1740. Maker “LM”. Sterling silver.

  • 1742

    Peter Archambo

    9573 George II Silver Inkstand

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    A rare early English silver inkstand of plain rectangular design raised on four ball and claw feet. Sterling silver. Mounted on top are two cylindrical containers for ink and sand and a small detachable candlestick. Engraved to the top with a coat of arms, the two pots and taperstick with a crest. Weight 780 grams, 25 troy ounces. Height 9.5cm. Length 20.5cm. Width 13.5cm. London 1742. Maker Peter Archambo.

  • 1748

    Samuel Taylor

    9867 George II Covered Sugar Bowl

    £1,750

    A rare antique sterling silver covered sugar bowl of circular form on a small spreading foot. Excellent plain design, typical of the period. Good colour. In the early 18th century sugar bowls or sugar boxes nearly always had covers which, when reversed, could be used as a saucer or spoon tray. Weight 219 grams, 7.0 troy ounces. Total height 9cm. Bowl diameter 9.7cm. London 1748. Maker probably Samuel Taylor a specialist tea caddy and sugar bowl maker.

  • Circa 1750

     

    9674 Antique Silver Perpetual Calendar Snuff Box

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    An 18th century silver snuff box with rotating dials to both sides. Very charming and retains the interior gilding. The panels have scrolled flower and chased decoration. The top side has the rotatable “Calendarium Perpetuum” which shows the days of the week (in old German script, and marked with their planetary signs) against days of the month. The reverse side has seven readout windows described by the headings on the rotatable disk (in old German script) – 1) month of the year with its number of days, 2) the important saints’ and feast days in the month, 3) sun’s Zodiacal position (represented by amusing little hand engraved zodiac symbols), 4) length of day, 5) length of night, 6) time of sun rise, and 7) time of sunset. A good example in very good condition. 126 grams, 4 troy ounces. Length 8.4cm. Width 5.5cm. Height 2cm. German. Probably 18th century circa 1750. Unmarked silver.

  • 1751

    John Jacob

    9784 George II Silver Caddies in a Box

    £11,750

    A stunning quality set of antique silver tea caddies and covered sugar bowl in a later fitted lockable tortoiseshell box with silver mounts. Very heavy gauge, cast silver. The deeply embossed and chased silver decoration is particularly attractive and each piece has a cartouche with a lion crest to the front. The two baluster shaped caddies, for green and black tea, have lift off tops. The bowl has a hinged lid with a bouquet of flowers finial. Total weight of 3 boxes 1,373 grams, 44 troy ounces. Tea caddy height 16.5cm. Sugar bowl height 15.5cm. London 1751. Maker John Jacobs, of Hugeunot origin. The box handle is hallmarked for London 1805, maker “JS”. Sterling silver.

  • 1752

    Samuel Herbert And Company

    9504 George II Silver Caddies in a Box

    £6,750

    An excellent quality pair of antique sterling silver tea caddies and matching covered sugar bowl with gilt interior. All with cast silver bird finials and contained in a fitted Sheraton period wooden box with coloured flower and foliage inlays. The deeply embossed and chased silver decoration is particularly attractive and each caddy has a fine hand engraved coat of arms to the front. Heavy weight. The two caddies, for green and black tea, have the original lift off tops now drilled with holes to convert them into sugar shakers (muffinieres). Total weight of 3 boxes 882 grams, 28.3 troy ounces. Sugar casters height 15.5cm. Sugar bowl height 14cm, diameter 10.3cm. London 1752. Maker S Herbert & Co..

  • 1761

    Emick Romer

    9755 George III Silver Chinoiserie Tea Caddy

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    A fine example of an antique silver caddy box of bombe form with a side hinged lid and standing on scrolling feet. The sides are embossed with charming scenes of Chinese daily life. The lid finial is in the form of a mother and baby. Weight 366 grams, 11.7 troy ounces. Height 16cm. Body measurements at maximum – width 9.2cm, depth 8cm. London 1761. Maker Emick Romer. Sterling silver.

  • 1766

    Edward Aldridge

    9826 George III Silver Caddies in a Box

    £7,850

    An exceptional set of antique silver tea caddies and covered sugar bowl in a black shagreen box with silver mounts. Excellent quality and classic styling. The bombe form tea boxes have lift off lids with gadroon borders; the decorative cast bases have applied acanthus mounts above to all sides. The two square shaped caddies are for green and black tea; the rectangular caddy is for sugar. The shagreen box has a red velvet interior; the exterior has beautifully ornamented silver mounts, the handle is hand engraved with a crest. Total weight of 3 boxes 858 grams, 27.5 troy ounces. Square caddy height 15cm base 8.5 x 7.5cm. Rectangular caddy height 16.5cm, base 9.5 x 8.5cm. London 1766. Maker Edward Aldridge. The box silver maker is “IW”. Sterling silver.

  • 1770

     

    9877 George III Silver Sweetmeat Basket

    £275

    A very pretty antique silver swing handle basket of small size. Possibly a Georgian epergne basket. Attractive cutwork design decorated with flowerheads and other motifs. Cast and pierced handle. Weight 111 grams, 3.5 troy ounces. Height 5.2/12.8 cm. Length 15.2 cm. Width 12.5 cm. London 1770. Maker’s mark “S.B”. Sterling silver.

  • Circa 1780

     

    9896 Antique Silver Table Trivet

    £1,650

    An unusual 18th century miniature table of rectangular form standing on cabriole legs. A perfect display for a small tea set or pair of candlesticks. The solid wood top, with inset armorial plaque, is mounted with a silver framework. The underside still has the original claws to hold the wood in place and the pretty little wing nuts for the silver plaque; the remains of an old collector’s label can be seen in the corner. Top measures 26.2cm x 16.4cm. Height 6.3cm. Maker’s mark only, stamped twice. Probably Italian. A grand tour piece. Circa 1780.

  • 1782

    William Sumner

    9607 Antique Silver Skewer

    £350

    An attractive antique silver meat skewer with decorative ring handle. Can also be used as a letter opener. Uninscribed. Weight 61 grams, 1 troy ounce. Length 24.5 cm. London 1782. Maker probably William Sumner.

  • Circa 1790

     

    3289 Antique Continental Silver Tobacco Box

    £550

    A good 18th century silver tobacco box with long hinged lid and original gilt interior. The bright cut decoration is particularly fine. Weight 229 grams, 7.3 troy ounces.Length 14.5 cms. Depth 6.25 cms. Height 3 cms. Continental silver hallmarks (2 silver marks stamped on the inner rim of the box). Circa 1790.

  • Circa 1790

    Guiseppe Caltagirone

    8191 Antique Italian Silver Frames

    £2,250

    A stylish pair of late 18th century Sicilian silver cartaglorias containing the original texts in old fashioned script. The oval bead bordered frames have applied gilt silver swags, leaves and flower motifs, the bases are raised on square supports. The sheet silver frames are pinned onto carved softwood backs. Height 26.7 cm. Width 23 cm. Marked on the bottom left hand corner with “GC” for Guiseppe Caltagirone of Trapani, Sicilia. Circa 1790.

  • Circa 1790

     

    9643 Antique Tortoiseshell Snuff Box

    £225

    A pretty little tortoiseshell snuff box of oval form with a hinged lid and gilt brass banding. The top has intricate silver pique work and a central agate plaque. Top measures 8 x 4.1 cm. Height 2.5 cm. English. Circa 1790.

  • Circa 1795

     

    9791 George III Old Sheffield Plate Globe Inkstand

    £1,250

    A rare and collectible conversation piece made in Old Sheffield plate. This elegant novelty inkstand, made to sit on an 18th century Englishman’s desk, is in the form of a globe and by pressing down the top finial the two flaps open to reveal four Bristol blue glass bottles. Two bottles are for ink, one for pounce (a fine powder to dry the ink) and a fourth to keep spare nibs. The centre rim is decorated with swags and lions masks. Height 27cm. Diameter 14cm. Bottle height 5cm. Unmarked. Old Sheffield plate. Circa 1795.

  • 1796

    Henry Nutting

    9917 George III Silver Tea Caddy

    £1,950

    A very elegant antique sterling silver tea caddy of oval form with a hinged lid. Beautifully hand engraved with bands of bright cut engraving and classical flower and swag decoration. The lid has a flush inset hinge. To the front is a decorative cartouche containing a monogram in old fashioned script. Weight 399 grams, 12.8 troy ounces. Top 13.5 x 8.8 cm. Height 16cm. London 1796. Maker Henry Nutting.

  • 1796

    Henry Chawner And John Emes

    9949 George III Antique Silver Caddy Box

    £3,350

    A fine antique sterling silver tea caddy box of plain oval form, the fixed carrying handle with reed and acanthus decoration. Elegant classical features with bands of shell motifs hand engraved within concentric prick dot lines. The bucket handbag shape is very unusual. The double opening lid has an inset hinge and there is a lock to either side. Weight 546 grams, 17.5 troy ounces. Height 18.5cm (to top of handle), 11.5cm (to top of caddy). Length 15cm. Width 10.2cm. London 1796. Maker Henry Chawner & John Emes. Sterling silver.

  • 1798

    William Ely

    9597 Antique Silver Skewer

    £350

    A good quality antique silver meat skewer with ring handle. Can also be used as a letter opener. Uninscribed. Weight 133 grams, 4.2 troy ounces. Length 35 cm. London 1798. Maker William Ely II.

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