From the Antique Pocket Guides series – a useful series for the collector of small antiques. Collecting small antiques can be of absorbing interest, partly because of items are easy to display and partly because they can be found in a great variety of places, including antique shops, public auctions, bric-a-brac stalls, jumble sales and flea-markets. Each title in this new series is written by an expert in his or her chosen subject. There is a wealth of practical advice to help the novice over any initial hurdles, guidance on prices and over 100 illustrations to help with identification. Each book could lead the way to a remarkably satisfying hobby.
The production of small portable decorative containers for matches began some time in the mid-19th century, and appears to have reached a peak during the 1880–1914 period. In making them, the craftsmen involved let their imaginations run riot regarding ornament, shape and choice of materials. They were known at first as fusee boxes or vesta boxes, but later in the century simply as matchboxes. The term 'vesta boxes', which has been adopted here, is the one generally accepted by collectors and dealers. In America, they are known as 'match safes'.