19th C. Coin Silver Box & Spectacles
I have brought a silver eyeglass case that belonged to my great-great-great-grandfather. He lived, uh, between 1728 and 1768. So he died at a very young age. It was made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, out of nine silver dollars, and the eyeglasses, as you can see, have a colored lens, um... the first sunglasses, let us say.
Okay. And how did we know that it was made from nine silver dollars?
In the little case when it was handed to me was this little slip of paper in my grandmother's handwriting-- which I knew very well-- in which she had written this information: "Made out of nine silver dollars in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, sometime between 1728 and 1768."
Okay, well, great. You know, it's a very interesting object. First of all, the only confusing thing is that we open it up, and we discover it's an American coin silver eyeglass case, and we see the maker's mark of "Robert & William Wilson, Philadelphia," and he was working around 1825 to the middle part of the 19th century, which, unfortunately, makes it impossible for it to have belonged to that relative of yours in the 18th century. It's still a very interesting box, however. You don't find too many American coin silver spectacle boxes, so it's extremely interesting. It was, um...It's not by one of the great makers like Benjamin Burt or Jacob Hurd, but as an American coin silver box of the early 19th century, it's worth about $1,000 to $1,500. Now, the spectacles are also silver. They're from the 19th century, as well. They're very early sunglasses. They come in and out according to the sun. And I assume these belonged to another relative of yours, and these fetch at auction about $100 or so. They're not as rare as the box.
They...do they...they don't belong, then, as part of the box?
No, they probably were made at a different time, and they just fit quite nicely in there. In fact, some people may argue that this is not a spectacle box. It could also be called a snuff box.
Right. But they do happen to fit in perfectly.
Yes, they did. In all my lifetime, they have been in that box.
Thank you very much for bringing it in, and I guess you'll have to do more research as to who might have been your relative in the early 19th century with the initials E.S.
I have that information documented. I don't have it in my head.
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