October 19, 2021

Antiques & Collecting: Figural tin box

This is not a bookshelf full of books. It is an antique tin box that held cookies, called biscuits, in England about 1905. Grocery stores in the past were very different. The use of automobiles, starting about 1910, changed the way folks shopped.

Before 1900, grocery shopping was done at a street where farmers gathered to sell their produce. Then the markets moved into large buildings that rented space where farmers and customers bartered for food.

Some farmers moved to residential suburbs and opened small grocery stores. They sold staples, like flour, sugar and tea, as well as fresh food. Clerks took the order and packed it.

But in 1916, the first supermarket was built in Memphis, Tennessee, and customers were able to choose their items, put them in a cart and take it to a cashier. That led to branding with eye-catching packaging and the modern chains of grocery stores.

Huntley & Palmer, an English bakery, created tin boxes by the 1850s to ship and sell their boxed cookies, called biscuits, so they wouldn’t get broken.

They started making the figural — and now very collectible — tins in 1894 and made hundreds of different shapes. The bookcase tin was made in 1905, and this top-quality example sold recently for $270.

My mother bought an Autumn Leaf wall pocket for me. I think it was part of the reproduction’s resurgence and not the original 1930s to 1940s Autumn Leaf. Can you tell me what it might be worth?

Autumn Leaf pattern was made by several companies. It was made exclusively for the Jewel Tea Co. by Hall China from 1933 to 1978. Some kitchenware and teapots were reintroduced in 1985 and sold in retail stores.

The Autumn Leaf wall pocket was made by China Specialties, a company in Strongsville, Ohio, that began offering limited edition pieces of Autumn Leaf in new shapes in 1990. They were made in Asia and are marked “Genuine China Specialties.” They sell for under $30.

Current Prices

Cut glass powder jar & cover, clear, cut crosshatching, fans & diamonds, round, squat, stand-up rim, American Brilliant Period, 4 by 6 inches, $35.

Candy container, Village Church, tin lithograph, stained glass window graphics, cross on top, 2 by 3 by 4 inches, $125.

Lunchbox, Beatles, Yellow Submarine, scenes, Beatles caricatures, metal, 1968, Aladdin, $215.

Mechanical bank, image of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck, place a coin on Donald’s tongue, push button, and coin is deposited into bank building, 1940s-50s, 3 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches, $485.

Tip: Coffee or tea stains can be removed from a cup by scrubbing with salt on a sponge.

Terry and Kim Kovel

For more collecting news, tips and resources, visit www.Kovels.com. © 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.