Vesta cases are small portable boxes made to contain
matches and keep them dry. They take their name from the Roman
goddess of fire and the hearth, although in the United States they
are more prosaically know as match safes.
When they first came into use in the 1830s, friction matches
were hazardous and could combust without warning, so vesta cases
were something of a necessity.
But as their production became more sophisticated, they came to
say much about the status, wealth and personality of their owner.
Part of the essential 'dress code' of the late Victorian and
Edwardian eras, they were made in a range of materials and in a
bewildering number of forms, from the purely functional to the
deluxe and the novel.
In short, with such a huge scope in terms of variety and price
levels, these are perfect collectables.
From the ATG Archive
20 November 2012
It was the emergence of the very useful but somewhat hazardous ‘strike anywhere’ match in the 1830s that necessitated the fashion for vesta cases.
05 November 2011
Gordon Bramah, a descendent of the lock-making dynasty, collected silver smallwork for 28 years.
19 November 2005
The niche market appears to be the driving force in silver sales today.
ATG Site Search
13 May 2013
Holding a major silver sale days after the melt price has plummeted by about £3 an ounce is hardly ideal timing.
26 April 2011
THE highest bullion prices for a generation are helping the cause of much general silver at auction, but the real strength of the market is for the better-quality smallwork where weight counts for nought.
27 March 2013
Silver smallwork is a designated area of the silver market in its own right but even this particular sector has its own sub-divisions.
11 April 2009
Dr William Lindsay Gordon, a Birmingham GP who died last year, had a fascination for English history especially the Stuart era.
17 December 2012
Oxfordshire saleroom Jones & Jacob of Watlington sold this Nathaniel Mills silver presentation snuff box for £16,600 at their latest sale.
13 December 2008
SO-CALLED castle-top boxes represent a fascinating moment in British social history. Fashioned by the silver ‘toy’ makers of Birmingham, these vinaigrettes and card cases engraved or die-stamped with British landmarks were seemingly marketed as tourist souvenirs.