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Painted Boxes with 'Spice'
Posted 29 Dec 2012, by Don
A painted label on a box, firkin, or other 19th century container that indicates a spice, or a type of food, are hard to find and highly sought after. Shown are several good examples, ranging from the 1820's to the 1870's, that I have placed with collectors. Although each of these painted spices or firkins would be desirable unlabeled, the period addition of a simple descriptor of the contents can intensify the demand for, and the value of, the piece many times over. The label not only makes the piece more interesting, it also helps us relate to the use of the object many years ago, and provides a wonderful and unique decorating statement. Yet it is essential that the label was painted onto the object during its period of use, not a later embellishment in an attempt to artificially increase value.