Other new match safesBy

New match safes

There are many new non-silver match safes in the market. Many of the more frequently seen are cast iron and brass stand alone safes like those shown in Figs. 3-4. A fly, turtle and frog are the most common. New pieces typically have crude casting seams and obvious grinding marks left by power tools. Originals virtually never shown grinding marks.

Also beware of embossed silverplated vesta boxes (Figs. 1-2). Hanging loops are appropriate for vesta boxes so that is not a clue to age. Check the tension bar. This new series has tension bars with dagger sharp points that fit down into the box. The bars are also thicker than most old ones.

Also be on the alert for genuinely old safes with replaced enamel paintings. The forger takes an old safe with a damaged painting and inserts a new modern painting. Many new paintings, like the one in Fig. 6, can be detected by artificial wear (see illustrations). In this example, there are several clusters of parallel lines that stop at the edge of a painting. Such parallel clusters are almost always made with fine steel wool or sandpaper to simulate wear. Old scratches, made over many years, are virtually always random in shape and direction, not parallel. Normal wear would occur to the painting and safe at the same time. Scratches to the original painting would logically continue into the silver, not stop at the painting's edge.

Many of the new paintings are on synthetic resins. Look for pitted surfaces caused by air bubbles. True enamel surfaces should be virtually glass smooth except for signs of normal wear.

image

Fig. 1 Silverplated vesta box, hanging loop, no mark. Embossed deer front and back. Smaller than American match safes, measuring 1 5/8″ X 2″ high.

image

Fig. 2 Silverplated vesta box, hanging loop, no mark. 1 5/8″ X 2″ high. Embossed hunting dog with pheasant, front and back.

image

Fig. 3

image

Fig. 4

Figs. 3-4 Two new figural stand alone, or table, matchsafes. Wasp and bee, wings are hinged to lift up. Pot metal with antique bronze finish. There are also new turtles, frogs and flies in cast iron.

image

Fig. 5 U.S.A. 1871 patent drawing of frog stand alone match holder. Most, but not all, original American stand alone animal match safes are cast iron.

image

Fig. 6 Genuinely old English sterling vesta box with modern painting. New resin surface under painting is highly pitted.

image

Fig. 6-A Top view cross section. Enameled safes have a special recessed area to hold painting so it is flush with surface.

image

Fig. 7

image

Fig. 8

Special thanks to George Sparacio for loaning Figs. 1, 2 & 6.