9207
Antique German Box

Date: Circa 1820

Country: Germany

Stock Number: 9207

£495
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A good quality antique silver box of shaped bombe form with a ribbed body, hinged lid and flower finial. Probably a sugar box or tea caddy. Original gilt interior. Good gauge silver. Weight 287 grams, 9.2 troy ounces. Height 12.5 cm. Top measures 12.8 x 8.5 cm. Marked underneath with the old German silver mark "12" and initial "P". Circa 1820.

Signed/Inscribed: German silver marks. Pre 1888 antique German silver was based on different town mark symbols and the silver fineness was indicated in "loth" (12 loth = 750/1000, 13 loth = 875/1000, 15 loth = 937/1000). In 1888 the 'crescent moon and crown' marks were adopted together with the fineness of silver usually "800" = 800/1000. This system is still in use today.

A Tea Caddy is a box, jar, canister, or other receptacle used to store tea. The word is believed to be derived from "catty", the Chinese pound, equal to about a pound and a third avoirdupois. The earliest examples that came to Europe were Chinese tea canisters in blue and white porcelain with china lids or stoppers. 
Tea in the early 18th Century was expensive, and also there was a tax on tea. so early tea caddies were small and made in precious materials such as silver, shagreen or tortoiseshell which reflected the valuable contents within. 
Some of the earliest silver examples have sliding bases (or tops) and the cap was used for measuring the tea. By the mid eighteenth century matching sets were available, with two caddies (for green and black tea) and a sugar bowl, all fitted into a wooden or shagreen case, often with silver mounts. During the late 1700's the locking silver tea caddy was introduced with its own key which the lady of the house kept on the chatelaine around her waist. Double locking tea caddies in silver are rare.

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