Recently acquired from an estate is this wonderful antique silver repousse vesta or match safe as this is commonly referred to. Vesta reminds me of a miniature representation of a cigar case and comes with the most beautiful detail. Total measurement is approximately 1 ½ inches in length by 1 1/8 inches in width not counting the loop attachment and a thickness of 3/8 inches.

On the bottom of this case is a rough wedge-shaped area which would have been used to light one’s match when needed. This piece has a permanent attached loop which will allow the wearer to attach as a pendant, add to your chatelaine, use as a watch fob or container for multiple purposes.

This vesta has a string of backstamps and hallmarks found on the inside lip of the closure, and again two of these stamps are found on the top outside. The first is the maker’s mark which is Smith & Bartlam (S & BM), then comes the Birmingham anchor, the lion passant which represents sterling silver and finally the letter ‘h’ for the year 1907. Repeated on the top front is the lion passant and the date stamp.

To the front and back of this piece there are alternating etched and shiny bombe surfaces. On one side there is a black cartouche, where if so desired you can add a monogram for a more personal touch.

Piece weighs 15.86 grams and is in excellent condition, there isn’t any major damage or repair that I can see with the exception of minimal daily wear noted. I have given this piece a light polish to bring out the wonderfully incised patterns and leave the rest to the new owner.

History: Smith & Bartlam were in business from 1905 – 1947. Was well noted for Boxes, castors, cigarette cases, compacts, napkin rings and vestas.

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 1830s 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.

Match Safes
England • English

Vintage Vistas

Antique Edwardian Sterling Silver Match Safe Vesta Case Chatelaine


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