Fresh from an Estate in Bernardsville, New Jersey is this wonderful antique silver repousse Vesta or match safe as this is commonly referred to. Vesta has a lovely pinwheel style repousse design which is found on both sides of this case. This design alternates from smooth to heavily chased Repoussé. Total measurement is approximately 2 ¾ inches in length by just a tad under 1 ½ inches in width and a thickness of ½ inch. There is no looseness to the hinge, it works perfectly pulls open and snaps closed like the day it was produced.
This match safe case is quite substantial and weighs 32.53 grams. It is in excellent condition, there isn’t any damage, dents, splits or pinholes that I can see with the exception of minimal daily wear. On the inside rim is clearly stamped 'Sterling', and believe it’s American made. I have given this piece a light polish to bring out the wonderfully incised patterns and leave the rest to the new owner. On the bottom of this case, in the center running down horizontally is rough area which would have been for friction when lighting one’s match when needed.
Definition: Vesta cases or match safes were small portable boxes made in a great variety of forms with snap shut covers to contain vestas (short matches) and keep them dry. These cases came into use around the 1830's and were produced extensively between 1890 and the 1920’s. Wealthier people had match safes made of gold or silver, while common folk had ones made of tin or brass. These precious metal cases typically had a gold wash interior to prevent corrosion by the chemically active match heads.