Silver Matchbox

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
Tarakiwa
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:20 am

Silver Matchbox

Postby Tarakiwa » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:45 am

So - my mother recently gave to me an old solver match box that had been sitting on her mantelpiece for years.

I do think that it holds some family history.
(admin edit - see Posting Requirements )

She knows that it is a generation or two old but has no idea of the original owner. I am trying to determine the year that it was made and use that as my first step towards discovering who owned it in the first place!

On the lid of the box there are 2 marks. The first is a Lion and the second is the letter "B". The "B" is in capitals, in a square surround. The corners of the square are slightly "cut" in. I have attached a picture (taken with my phone so it might not be all that clear!)

Once you open the lid, just along the ridge on the inside there are 4 marks.

The first are the letters "RBS". They appear as; capital R, a dot that is centered in the middle, capital B and a super script s.

The second is the same lion as appears on the lid.

The third is a crest. I can only describe it as looking like 3 button mushrooms with a dagger in the center.

The fourth mark is the same B as is on the lid.

Does anybody here have any knowledge as to the meanings of any of these marks?

Any and all help really is much appreciated.

Tarakiwa
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:20 am

Re: Silver Matchbox

Postby Tarakiwa » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:50 am

Am not too sure how to add pictures, but if somebody can explain that too then I am happy to add the pictures to the post.

Thanks again

dognose
Site Admin
Posts: 32308
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:53 pm
Location: England

Re: Silver Matchbox

Postby dognose » Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:07 am

Hi,

Welcome to the Forum.

Your question cannot be answered without the required images, but the below should help you:

How to Add Images

Posting Requirements

http://www.tinypic.com is recommended. Embedded images get a far greater response than just posting links.

Remember to use the 'Preview' button before submitting your post.

Trev.

Tarakiwa
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:20 am

Re: Silver Matchbox

Postby Tarakiwa » Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:01 am


carlislepaul
contributor
Posts: 88
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:11 pm
Location: Carlisle

Re: Silver Matchbox

Postby carlislepaul » Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:08 am

Tarakiwa

This is a 'Vesta Case', Vesta being an early manufacturer of matches, known as a 'Match safe' in America.

The case was assayed in Chester. The city coat of arms is of 3 wheat sheaves with a sword erect.

The date letter 'B' was from 1st July 1902 to 30th June 1903.

The Lion is the mark for sterling silver.

The makers mark, 'R.B.s' was registered at Chester by the Rolason Brothers, John & Joseph, who had a factory at Vyse Street, Birmingham.

Regards

Paul

Tarakiwa
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:20 am

Re: Silver Matchbox

Postby Tarakiwa » Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:37 am

Thanks ever so much for passing on this knowledge.

If you don't mind I would like to press you with just 2 more questions:

1. Why did the Rolason Brothers use a Chester city mark if they were based in Birmingham? (does Birmingham not have its own city mark?)
2. I note on the Chester letter table that the "B" for 1902 has two small curves at the bottom of the square into which it is pressed. These 2 small curves do not appear on this match safe. Is it possible that it is from another year? (I note that the 1727 "B" does not have the curves at the bottom of the square, but also assume that matches did not exist back that far so am discounting that as an option!)

Again - thanks for your help on this. I really do appreciate it.

Tara

carlislepaul
contributor
Posts: 88
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:11 pm
Location: Carlisle

Re: Silver Matchbox

Postby carlislepaul » Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:16 am

Tarakiwa

Long story shortened, books have been written on this subject.

Birmingham had many factories mass producing silver, there was often a backlog at the assay office. Fashionable makers were prepared to pay the additional cost of transport, a short railway journey, to get a quicker turn round and so Chester gained a reputation for assaying more upmarket wares. This publicity helped to sell Chester marked goods, so more makers sent it there.

The assay office had different sized punches for different sized wares, each differed slightly in manufacture, yours is small but there was probably a smaller one for jewelry. The smaller ones had less detail and were more difficult to apply, plus add wear and tear.

Paul

Tarakiwa
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:20 am

Re: Silver Matchbox

Postby Tarakiwa » Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:57 am

Again, huge thanks for the information.

I really do appreciate it.

Thanks and Regards,
Tara


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