1829 Burl Wood Snuff Box


Pictured above is an old burl wood Masonic snuff box, silver plate engraved:  Robert Kerr, Bellstone, (Ireland), and dated 1829.  It is 6 1/2 inches in length, 3 1/2 inched wide. The top is a finely executed ink inscription of the Kerr family kneeling at prayer and many of the symbols of Freemasonry depicted underneath.

It is a truism that almost every human habit produces some form of beauty in one of the arts. The practice of snuff-taking has been no exception to the rule and the study of this development in the snuff box is a fascinating one. It is perhaps in the art of the metal worker, whether goldsmith, silversmith, or pewterer, that this artistic achievement has been demonstrated through the centuries of snuff indulgence.  Just as, for the earliest smokers, the craftsman created exquisite things in the form of shredding knives, tobacco jars, boxes and pouches, so has he given us a legacy in the form of snuff boxes, some of them of unsurpassed beauty and of considerable value as works of art.

Since snuff boxes first became popular, boxes have been made from a wide variety of materials and we find today in private collections and museums, wonderful examples in gold and silver, brass and copper, ebony, pewter, jade and agate, ivory, mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell, horn, leather, papier mache, and numerous rare and beautiful woods.

But beauty is not the last word in the creation of snuff boxes. They must be practical and efficient. It is fitting that snuff be enshrined in these precious materials but, however rare they may be and however beautiful the box, there is one essential factor that must come before all else - the box today must be made in such a way as to be "snuff-proof" and it must keep the snuff in good condition.

A special "Thanks" from Brother Al Lohman, a 30 year collector and 30+ year Masonic Lodge member from Wisconsin.  Al trades on eBay under the User ID  "lochlohman"




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