AMENIA, N.Y. – Blueberry Hill Galleries will a collection of match safes, vestas and match holders on Wednesday Oct. 23. This diverse collection numbers over 600 pieces and has been stored for the past 25 years since the passing of its collector, Julian Marwell. It is now offered by his children with the hope that these interesting collectibles will be appreciated by those who share the same passion. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
Many of the match safes, or vestas as they are called in England, are cast in the likeness of animals, such as Lot 1, the head of a rooster (above). The base of this brass match safe opens when the rooster’s beak is squeezed. Matches are stored inside the bird’s hollow head.
Another animal form match safe is in the likeness of a hound. This exterior of the late 19th century match safe is covered with hide and has glass eyes and a brass nose and mouth. A button on the brass dog collar opens the lid.
A nicely decorated match safe depicting a scarab tests for 10K gold. The gold bug has red glass eyes.
Some of the match safes promote consumer products, such as advertising Anheuser Busch Malt Nutrine “for healthy appetite and vigor.” The brass match safe features an engraving that depicts a bottle of the low-alcohol beer which Anheuser Busch marketed as a health tonic.
Another bygone product was Hunley & Palmers Albert biscuits, named in honor of Price Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband. This brass vesta is in the shape of a biscuit. Impressed on the reverse, “Made in Vienna.” It has a striker at the base.
A Sheffield silver match safe in the forn of a trunk has a nice patina with sterling silver decorative hinges and straps. It is marked “J.D. & S.” (for James Dixon & Sons), an impressed crown, left facing lion and a lower case “n” for Sheffield, 1905.
The auction will begin Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 5 p.m. Eastern time.