This charming box is being offered as lot 210 by East Bristol Auctions in their sale on 2&3 April. It is described as: “A 19th Century Victorian folding brass stamp box having engraved floral decoration with one side stamped with letter post rates. The four panels held together by the hinged lid atop. Marks to base for W. Avery & Son Redditch. Measures 5 cm tall.”
We can add to that description. The diamond registration mark which can be seen on the base in one of the photographs in the catalogue shows the design to have been registered on 18th March 1876. You may wonder why there is a padded cushion inside the box: yes, it is a pin cushion. The Avery company began as needle manufacturers but the son of the founder branched out into making needle cases. Even the most functional were highly decorated in the Victorian taste. Many, like this one, were novelties taking the form of real objects; in this case, a postal weight.
So, is it a stamp box? We say, “yes”. Victorian inventiveness did not stop with design and engineering; they also knew a thing or two about marketing. If an object could have dual, or multiple, purposes: all well and good for sales. One of their Patents (as opposed to Registered Designs) describes: “… a case to hold needles, pins or other small articles”; another: “Case to hold Postage Stamps, Needles, etc.” Also see our review of the book Victorian Brass Needlecases here.