Huntley & Palmers Biscuit Book Tins

Reading, England: Huntley & Palmers, 1901 and 1930. Unbound. Two wonderful examples of Huntley & Palmers famous figural biscuit tins (i.e., cookie tins in Americanese). Multi-book tins are titled Literature in Huntley & Palmer references. This multi-book tin measures approximately 6.5” x 6.25” x 4.75” and is in the shape of eight bound books strapped together by a belt. All the books are by different authors. Company information “Huntley & Plamers Biscuits / Reading & London” is stamped on the base. Almost no wear. This is an example of the first Literature tin produced by the company. Its included 'books’ reflect some of the most popular authors and titles of the time: Thomas Macauley’s History of England (the full set is represented by one volume), John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, a collection of works by Robert Burns, Charles Dicken’s The Pickwick Papers, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Samuel Smiles’s Self Help, and a volume of Shakespeare’s works. Interestingly, only Smiles’s Self Help, with its emphasis upon hard work as the foundation of creativity and success, is almost unheard of in today’s world. Literature tins proved to be one of the company’s most popular tins and were produced, in ten different variations until 1924. The single-book tin measures approximately 10” x 7” x 1.5”. The tin is the shape of a book with a hand-tooled cover. Almost no wear. This tin is often misattributed as being based a book in the British Library, Het Boek Der Gebeden. Actually, it is a facsimile of a Grolier design of a book held in the Princeton library: Fragmenta aurea by Sir John Suckling, London: Printed for Humphrey Moseley, 1646. The Princeton catalog notes it was “bound at the Club Bindery, New York City, in the late 19th century. Red crushed morocco, gold-tooled with onlaid black hollow-lozenge. Very good. Item #009239

The creation of British biscuit tins is credited to Owen Jones, a consultant to the printing firm of Thomas de la Rue. Jones, who designed the first transfer-printed tin in 1868 for Huntley & Palmers. After offset lithography was invented in 1877, the firm began to print multicolored designs on complexly shaped containers. Huntley & Palmer figural tins have become popular collectibles, even in worn or shabby condition. They are especially scarce in condition as nice as these examples. See Corley’s Quaker Enterprise in Biscuits: Huntley & Palmers of Reading, 1822–1972 and The Huntley & Palmers Collection online.

Price: $650.00

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