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.
Card cases – the slim rectangular holders of visiting cards made in many materials and countless styles from the 1820s for a century or more – are not just a reflection of a once important social habit. They provide a survey in microcosm of the techniques and artistic styles used for all kinds of objects during a hundred-year period. Card cases were made of silver and several other metals, mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell, wood, lacquer, papier mache, ivory, horn, leather and synthetic materials. Sometimes different materials and techniques were used in combination. Card cases were regarded, like the snuff boxes of an earlier period, as status-enhancing accessories, and they were nearly always finely made; their decoration, especially in examples designed for women, was often elaborate and complicated.
From the Introduction