This glorious little 1-finger box with such a beautiful wood grain is only 5-3/8 inches long, 3-3/4 inches wide and 2-1/4 inches tall. We believe it to be of Shaker origin. We are located not far from where several Shaker societies flourished -- Niskayuna (outside Albany) and New Lebanon, New York; and Hancock (Pittsfield), Massachusetts.
This appealing little box has 1/4 inch boards on its top and bottom, with the wafer-thin sides held on by the tiniest imaginable nails. The well formed fingers are anchored firmly by copper tacks.
The unadorned, simple finish of this piece suggests it probably was crafted as a personal item, as opposed to being made for sale to the public.
CONDITION: Excellent-plus! We could find only 2 imperfections, neither of which makes any difference in the structural integrity of the box: (1) Inside the box, the bottom edge of the overlapped end has split apart (apparently long ago); and (2) there is a tiny split at the very tip of the finger on the outside of the box, beneath the copper tack anchoring the tip, again very old from the look of it (SEE PHOTOS PLEASE for close-ups). Otherwise there are only a few tiny bumps here and there that add to its character appeal, expected from "simply living."
This has such a rich, appealing patina -- the plain wood has a beautiful grain, that has aged to a rich, reddish chestnut color, fading to lighter areas on the box bottom. There are some darker areas on the lid but NO writing or pencil marks so commonly found on these small boxes. Most importantly, it was never painted.
This pantry box would be a wonderful addition to any collection of antique Shaker items or early New England treen ware.
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