A SMALL COLLECTION OF ANTIQUE SILVER
AND OBJECTS OF VERTU
THE WHAT IS? SILVER DICTIONARY

VESTA CASE
MATCHBOX HOLDER

These pocket-sized cases for carrying matches took their name from 'Vesta', the deity that presided over the domestic focus (hearth) in Ancient Rome.
She was the only goddess of the Roman pantheon who remained unformed and Her only contour emanated from Her residence at Rome which housed Vesta's symbolic flame.
A 'match' was the modern representation of Vesta's symbolic flame and was known as a 'vesta' up until the twentieth century when 'match' and 'matchbox holder' became the favoured term.

antique silver French matchbox holder - vesta case

Vesta cases were in great use between the 1860's and 1940', but the invention of the pocket petrol lighter initiated a decline in the use of these items.
Vesta cases - matchbox holders are of many shapes and styles but they usually are rectangular, with rounder corners.
The lid is hinged on one of the narrow sides and often surmonted by a small ring for suspension.
Some examples incorporate a rasp for striking matches.


antique silver French matchbox holder - vesta case antique silver French matchbox holder - vesta case

silver matchbox holder - vesta case 1868 silver matchbox holder - vesta case: Birmingham 1913


silver matchbox holder - vesta case: Birmingham 1909 silver matchbox holder - vesta case: Chester 1909

silver matchbox holder - vesta case: France 19th century 1868 silver matchbox holder - vesta case: Birmingham 1902 maker S&B sterling silver Victorian matchbox holder - vesta case

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