This is an interesting item, the first of its kind I have ever seen. It is a cylinder type music box and a playing card box – that is, a music box designed to house playing cards. It works quite well, and plays a lovely Alpine tune. The music mechanism has the word "SWISS" on it, but is otherwise without maker identification. The box itself does not have any maker identification.
It is my understanding that cylinder type music boxes gave way to disc type boxes in the 1890s, and so I have dated this box c.1900. However, it came to me with two decks of Standard cards that date to the early 1920s, and some auction bridge score sheets. If the cards and sheets were original to the box, then the box should be dated later. My belief is that the box was sold as a stand alone item, and that the cards were contributed by an owner subsequent, but I can't be sure.
The Standard cards that accompanied the box are in poor shape. They are included here, but I have contributed a couple of bridge size decks of National "Columbia Whist" cards (no jokers) that are in much better shape and date closer (i.e., c.1905) to what I believe is the likely date of the box itself. The auction bridge score sheets are also included.
As noted, the music box is in good working order. It is covered in a leather type material and is lined inside with a fabric. Given the age of the box, the material is in very good condition. However, there is some "foxing" to the exterior of the box, and very light soiling to the fabric that lines the interior. The box is simple and the materials used were not expensive; however, it is well preserved, and charming in its way.
Thanks for visiting.
Item ID: T0000331
Playing Cards and Card Game Collectibles
Antique and Vintage Playing Cards, Cribbage Boards, Whist Markers, Trump Indicators, Game Boxes, and Other Card Game Items