This is one of the nicest early 1900's Victorian Shell Art Boxes I've ever seen. Because there is a mirror on the inside, I believe this was made to be a jewelry box. The lid is covered in various shells with a very large iridescent shell as a center focal point. On this center shell is printed in dark ink "Snie d' Algerie" (Algeria). The box measures 10" x 5" x 7". Made of thin wood and covered in blue printed paper. It is supported on four round wooden feet. There is a key hole, but no key. The ribbon to hold the lid is broken. The bottom is covered with colored paper in very good condition. The lid fits well to the bottom. The inside is covered in green ribbon paper still in very good condition with no stains or tears.
Yes, there are a few cracked or broken small shells. The large shells on top are fine. The backside has five missing small shells. For a box this old and fragile, this is a minor problem.
I have often heard this type box called Sailor's Valentines. But, perhaps this one was a souvenir from the Algerian coastline. It is a beauty!!