Spices were very expensive back in the 18th & 19th Century as they were hard to come by. It would only make sense that a box would have been made with a lock to protect them. This fantastic Spice Box was used for this purpose and even though the lock is missing the hasp is still intact.
This piece is from my own collection and I acquired it about fifteen years ago. I was quite taken with the detailed stenciling on the six round tin lids and also liked the fact that the condition was very good. The paint on these spice tin covers is just fabulous and boast a bittersweet, pumpkin, mustard, sage green & deep red berry colors that are just "primitively amazing". The stenciling for the most part is intact except for the "Cloves" container which has some light wear by the letter "C". There is a wonderful little spray of what reminds me of wheat with a simple flower just below on the top and bottom. The spice names are on the lid of the container to identify the contents and are surrounded by small dots for that extra little detail. The names of the spices referenced are Cloves, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cayenne & Allspice. Please see image 8.
Traces of the finish around the sides of the tins are still present but most have only a whisper of what was once there. All of the tins are in very good condition, except the Allspice tin has some rust deposits that are limited to the inside only. See image 10. I was having difficulty removing the lid from the "Ginger" spice jar and decided not to force the issue therefore, I am not sure of the inside condition. All of these special tins have some remains of the spices they once stored. No dents or holes to report. There is a simple seam on the outside and a raised lip about 1/4" down from the top to hold the lid in place.
The box used to store these tins is quite showy and the colors are just the best! Soft Lamplight black, bittersweet with a warm red hue and antique gold rule the day accented with buttermilk pin stripping detail. The top of the box has a raised panel with great scroll detail to the outside edge that gives this piece a two dimensional look. See image 2. The simple wire handle is sturdy and so are the hinges and hasp. There is a rolled lip edge on the bottom of the lid and there are no holes however there is a small dent on the upper right hand corner of the raised panel. Not very obvious and I only discovered this from the inside lid. In the back of the lid, on the right corner there is a open crease that has slightly pulled away from the side counterpart but is not very noticeable. Please see image 5.
The inside reveals circular marks where the spice tins rest and the gold color is no longer present as the original tin surface is apparent. This tells us that the spice tins are definitely original to this set as the circular bottom of the tins are a perfect match for the circular wear indicated on the bottom box. There is some light rust on the inside bottom corners of this box but are not present on the other side.
The inside lid is in very good condition however there is a small dent at the top right corner of the raised panel. The gold color is still intact with some light wear through out. The outside bottom of this box has nice aging to the tin as most of the paint is no longer there.
This spice tin is in overall great condition and is a very interesting piece to own. I have never seen another like it, to date! Would really make a nice statement in your home as it lends wonderful charm, interest and captures history of this period. Enjoy!
Box measures 9" Wide, 6 1/4" Deep & 3 1/4" Tall, Spice Tins are 2 3/4" across the top & bottom & 2 1/4" Tall.