18th-Century Patch Boxes
My father-in-law and mother-in-law were collectors of many different things over the years, and this was just one of their collections.
And did they visit England to collect these boxes?
These little boxes were made in England in the 18th century. They were made either in South Staffordshire, a little area called Bilston, or in London, in Battersea. And they were given as little tokens and trinkets from one loved one to another. And even today, that's how they're collected and given, as presents to collectors. Now, I'm going to just point out this one in particular, which I like, which is entitled "A Trifle from Limington." Do you know what these were used for?
Well, they're called patch boxes, and they were actually for ladies to keep their beauty spots in. So a lady would keep her beauty spots in here, she would take one out on her little finger, and she'd place it in the prerequisite position, checking with the mirror inside the box it's in the right place, and then replace it. So they're little patch boxes, and they became mementos from places one would travel to. You've got ones from Harwich, Leominster in Herefordshire, and in Limington. This one is also a particularly interesting one, and slightly controversial. It says, "Success to the fleet and the British army." And I think that meant the British army possibly fighting against America at the time, so I do apologize for that one. The other two at the bottom here, both these are French enameled boxes, again of the 18th century. And I think they're absolutely charming. Now, remember, condition is very important when you look at these. There are some cracks and chips. If these boxes are in perfect condition, they can make a lot of money. Once they're damaged, the value halves. And I've totaled up the damaged ones with the perfect ones, and I would say that you should insure them for about $3,000.
Indeed. If you ever go to London, there's a little shop there that specializes in selling these. You'll be shocked by how much just one would cost you. So thanks for bringing them to the Antiques Roadshow, and thanks for making me feel homesick.
Well, thank you-- it's been a pleasure.
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