1840. Box. Approximately 1.75” x 2.75” x .5”. Metal box made in the shape of a book. Hand-colored lithograph of George Washington on the front cover; shield emblazoned with “Forget Me Not” on the reverse. Both lithographs are under glass covers. Ornate gold-tone trim and spine. Bordered mirror inside the front cover. Similar boxes were produced with images of Andrew Jackson (d. 1845), John Quincy Adams (d. 1848), and Zachary Taylor (d. 1850). They are not campaign memorabilia as is occasionally suggested; they were actually sold as memorials in the early 1850s to honor these deceased presidents. It is unclear how they were intended to be used; perhaps for holding keepsakes, pins, or ladies’ cosmetic patches. The boxes are normally found in poor shape with detached covers, cracked class, missing trim, etc. This box is in exceptional shape. The front cover is attached to the box; a split is just beginning at the top edge. There is only minor rubbing to the gold-toned metal. The lithographs, glass coverings, mirror, and box base are in excellent shape. Only one tiny bit (.25”) of gold trim is missing from the rear cover. Very good. Item #008943
Some have claimed, without evidence, that boxes picturing one or another of the presidents are scarcer than the others. A 2017 review of auction results at LiveAuctioneers, WorthPoint, Rare Book Hub, and Google show two Jackson boxes, five Washington boxes, five Adams boxes, and six Taylor boxes have been sold during the last 30 years. Prices have ranged from $150 to $2,900, primarily based on condition.