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Standard Collar Co. Collar Box, w/ Playing Card Theme and Patent License Stamp, c.1880s
I bought this item because I had never heard of a collar box, and this one has playing cards and card suit symbols embossed in the plastic on the lid. It turns out that collar boxes were common items supporting the American male wardrobe in the 19th century, when detachable collars were the norm, and are more common than I knew. However, this one is interesting for another reason. On the underside of the bottom of the box is a complete and surprisingly clean and undisturbed patent license stamp. These stamps were attached to products to show that the manufacturer had been given permission by owners of the patent to use the patent. It is not a government stamp, but was issued by the patent holder, who could require it. From information on the internet, it appears that Standard Collar Co. was in business for only 13 years from approximately 1880 to 1893, and the patent dates shown on the stamp are consistent with that period.
Frankly, this is not a “fine antique.” It was not made for the privileged class. The base of the box is a simple lightweight wood, held to the top with simple metal hinges. In the front is a metal piece that should slip over a small pin, tack or finishing nail, but that piece has gone missing. The box top is is wood but has a lid made of some kind of brown plastic material, that shows the playing cards and suit symbols. The plastic veneer is square, measuring 4¾” x 4¾”; the box is 3¼” high.
With these limitations, it seems to me that the box is in very good condition. Perhaps most surprising is the condition of the patent license stamp on the bottom. One would assume that it would be destroyed by now, but that is not the case. I have seen a Standard Collar patent license stamp offered for sale on the internet for $25, and have priced this box the same.
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