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Whartenby, Philadelphia, Coin Silver Snuff Box, Mid 19th Century

Whartenby, Philadelphia, Coin Silver Snuff Box, Mid 19th Century
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The "T.W. & Co." mark stamped on the rim of this snuff box is attributed to Thomas Whartenby & Co., Philadelphia.

Catherine Hollan offers extensive biographical material about Whartenby in her comprehensive work "Philadelphia Silversmiths," recording that he was born in Delaware in 1788, apprenticed in Philadelphia in 1802-09, established in his own shop in 1811, and ended his working years as "T.Whartenby & Co.," 1847-52.

She notes that examples of his work are held by the Philadelphia Art Gallery, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Winterthur.

While mirroring the form and size of English counterparts, American snuff boxes are far less common.

This coin silver example measures 2 1/2" by 1 1/2" by 1/2" and weighs 1.2 T. oz. It has rounded corners with engine turned and bright cut and engraved surfaces. There is a reserve area on the top; it has never been engraved.

There is a floral and scroll lip applied to the front edge of the lid. This serves as grip for opening. The interior is finished in a gold wash. There are multiple, joined, hinges that run the entire width of the back.

It is in very fine condition. There are no dents or splits, and the hinge is secure. The top and bottom remain well aligned, fitting together securely. The interior bottom especially shows considerable mottling on the surface, with accompanying loss of the gold finish. This is true of the inside top also, but less so.

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