This is an interesting and indeed very rare antique snuff mull or snuff box which dates to the end of the 18th century or very early 19th century.
It came to me from a collection of little straw workboxes (which were listed in my Iconic Edinburgh online store; now sold) which were made by French prisoners of war in the Napoleonic era.
This little box is certainly a little primitive one - and has been carved from an old ox bone. The origin of the bone is evident in the shape of the box - and the little panel held in the base with three old steel pins (where the bone marrow would have originally have been).
The lid is held on by a primitively made hinge - the top section of the hinge is copper and the back bit is brass, again held in place with old pins. The lid has a section underneath which was added to fit into the bottom box section and to form a more airtight seal. This has been constructed again with the addition of an old cork layer - and again pinned on top of the cork another fine sheet of bone - with the same crude pins.
The hinge still in place and opens and closes readily.
As you can see from my photographs - this has a good bit of age to it, and has a patina which would only develop on such a box over a long period of time.
The construction of the box suggests that it was made by a prisoner who used materials which came to him in his confinement - it is certainly not a highly crafted item - but more of an item of great historical interest.
Of course - these simple snuff mulls are now very hard to find and highly collectable.
Dimensions: Height of the mull is 4 cm. From hinge at the back to the front of the box is 5.3 cm.
The width at the widest point is 5 cm.
Unpacked it is 90 grams.
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