What Have We Here?

100_6029Every once in a while, I come across an item that strikes me as interesting and potentially valuable, but I have absolutely no idea what it is.

A few weeks ago, I bought a box of antique ashtrays and barware at a local auction and this piece was included with the lot.   It is very high quality, heavy, and in excellent condition — clean, no chips, etc.  The stamp on the bottom indicates it was made by National Enameling Co., “decorator of fine shaving mugs”.   The opening at the top is only slightly more than one inch, so I know this can’t be a shaving mug.  I also know that custom shaving mugs were very popular in the late 19th century, but once safety razors were developed the shaving mug industry pretty much went by the wayside.  So, this is old and it is not a shaving mug.  Not really helpful.

This is where eBay and a little bit of time and curiosity come in handy.  Multiple searches and over an hour later I learned that this is an antique match striker.   Liquor companies had these made as giveaways for pub owners to advertise their products.  The center would be filled with the old-style wooden matches and the grooved bottom portion would serve as a place to strike the match.  They come in many forms and are very collectible.  Who knew?

This is the first post in a new category called “What Have We Here?”.   In the future, I’ll see if visitors to this site can identify items for fun prizes and internet notoriety!  Stay tuned.

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Published in: on September 4, 2009 at 5:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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