Welcome to my sixth Show and Tell Wednesday! If you're a new reader, let me explain what I'm doing: every other Wednesday I show a curiosity from the fascinating world of antiques and tell a little about it. On the alternating Wednesdays, I post "Expand Your Vintage Vocabulary" lessons. Basically, Wednesdays here at Mitzi's Miscellany are educational. I want to share information about antiques so readers can get involved in the wonderful world of "vintage", and make wise purchases. As we all know, Knowledge is Power!
Today's object is an unusually shaped box that's over 100 years old. The cover is colorfully printed celluloid, an early plastic-like material, depicting a French soldier and his love. Perhaps it's Napoleon and Josephine?
Whoever is depicted on the top of the box isn't that important, really. Do you know what the purpose of the box is? Viewing the interior will give you a clue:
It's a collar box. These boxes were necessary storage for men's collars that would be kept nice and neat inside the box around a circular form.
Not all collar boxes were celluloid, but during this era colorfully printed celluloid was a popular material for collar boxes, trinket boxes, and grooming sets of brushes, combs, and mirrors. There are a lot of collectors for these beautiful accessories nowadays. Favored celluloid images include children, animals, and beautiful women. Less desirable images are landscapes, old women, and men. I really love my example because of the dramatic roses on the sides.
Celluloid sheets were applied to a material, usually wood, to create these boxes. Often, the celluloid will lift up and peel or chip off. Finding a celluloid collar box in excellent condition with a popular image is a real accomplishment! A collar box like the example I have here would sell for about $65 to $85.
Here's one I found on eBay. The seller was offering it for $85 with "Buy It Now", and it hadn't sold. The image of the pretty lady is desirable, but maybe it doesn't have the additional frills for it to reach the $85 price tag:
A collection of colorful celluloid collar boxes would make a nice addition to a boudoir, don't you agree? Perhaps you'll come across one soon in your travels.