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Boxes

From the smaller-scale snuffbox to the more elaborate lidded vessel, ceramic boxes are an elegant addition to any antique collection. These enthralling pieces reflect varying styles and subjects while also reminding us of one the most crucial inventions in history: the lid.

Following the development of the ceramic vessel, which undoubtedly revolutionized human daily life during the prehistoric era, the next big advancement was the creation of the lid to accompany vessels as a way to keep out exterior elements. Lids began as simple coverings, usually rendered in flat slabs of clay shaped roughly and fitted with a simple handle. Over time, though, these lids became more finessed, with the lid more closely contouring the ceramic base and eventually, the development of a lip to ensure the lid’s stability.

While the uses for such pieces became exponentially more varied over subsequent centuries, the basic construction remained the same. Perhaps this helps explain the popularity among collectors for these pieces: for as much as they are a piece of history, lidded ceramic boxes are still in use today, making antique versions a fitting addition for everyday elegance.


Quick Facts

  • Ceramics get their name from the ancient Greek "keramos," which means "pottery" or "potter's clay"
  • Some of the earliest surviving ceramic boxes come from the archaeological excavations at Beth Shaen in present-day Palestine. Reflecting Egyptian influence in the region during the Late Bronze Age, these vessels are constructed from slabs of clay and include a looped handle and a beveled lid
  • A recent record in ceramic box sales occurred at Christie’s Hong Kong with a bronze-glazed circular lidded box. The box, roughly 3 inches in diameter and featuring a faint scroll motif that encircles its circumference, sold for $129,520 in June 2015

Recommended Items at Auction

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Caixa com tampa em porcelana da Vista Alegre
Nov 01, 7:00 PM WET
Caixa com tampa em porcelana da Vista Alegre
by Palácio do Correio Velho
Est: €10- €20
€101 Bid
Small lid box, Dresden, around 1900, opulent polychrome
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CEST
Small lid box, Dresden, around 1900, opulent polychrome
by Henry's Auktionshaus AG
Est: €200- €400
€2000 Bids
Sevres porcelain covered box painted with romantic scenes Sizes: H=80mm L=135mm Weight (K)
Oct 31, 10:00 AM CET
Sevres porcelain covered box painted with romantic scenes Sizes: H=80mm L=135mm Weight (K)
by Goldfield Auction
Est: €150- €300
€1400 Bids
lid box, probably Berlin, around 1770, enamel,encircling
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CEST
lid box, probably Berlin, around 1770, enamel,encircling
by Henry's Auktionshaus AG
Est: €480- €960
€4500 Bids
Austrian Porcelain Dresser Box
Nov 05, 12:00 PM EDT
Austrian Porcelain Dresser Box
by Cottone Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
Lidded box, mid 19th century,
Nov 03, 10:00 AM CET
Lidded box, mid 19th century,
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€1000 Bids
A RUSSIAN GARDNER PORCELAIN & ENAMEL POWDER BOX
Oct 30, 10:00 AM EDT
A RUSSIAN GARDNER PORCELAIN & ENAMEL POWDER BOX
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$100 Bids
AN EGG-SHAPED PORCELAIN AND CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL BOX
Nov 04, 10:00 AM CET
AN EGG-SHAPED PORCELAIN AND CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL BOX
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €300- €600
€3000 Bids
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gr. Deckeldose "alka-Kunst", rote Rose
Oct 30, 11:00 AM CEST
gr. Deckeldose "alka-Kunst", rote Rose
by Auktionshalle Cuxhaven
Est: €0- €0
€100 Bids
Vincent Dubois Porcelain Hand Painted Box, circa 1800
Nov 14, 10:00 AM PST
Vincent Dubois Porcelain Hand Painted Box, circa 1800
by Taylor & Harris
Est: $300- $350
$2500 Bids
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French Jewel Box
Nov 03, 10:00 AM EDT
French Jewel Box
by Barry S. Slosberg Inc
Est: $60- $120
$250 Bids
VICTORIAN ERA BOULOGNE-SUR-MER COBALT DRESSER BOX
Oct 29, 10:00 AM CDT
VICTORIAN ERA BOULOGNE-SUR-MER COBALT DRESSER BOX
by Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $50- $150
$250 Bids
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gr. Deckeldose "Max Roesler" Rosenranken
Oct 30, 11:00 AM CEST
gr. Deckeldose "Max Roesler" Rosenranken
by Auktionshalle Cuxhaven
Est: €0- €0
€150 Bids
HEAVY BRONZE & PORCELAIN COVERED BOX
Oct 29, 7:00 PM EDT
HEAVY BRONZE & PORCELAIN COVERED BOX
by Chamberlain Auction Gallery
Est: $300- $400
$1200 Bids
Chicken box in Vista Alegre porcelain
Oct 28, 8:00 PM WEST
Chicken box in Vista Alegre porcelain
by Marques dos Santos
Est: €150- €200
€1000 Bids
Mary Kirk Kelly Porcelain Eggplant Form Box and Cover
Nov 04, 11:00 AM EDT
Mary Kirk Kelly Porcelain Eggplant Form Box and Cover
by Stair
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
Set of Six Fitz & Floyd Porcelain Shell Finial Boxes
Nov 04, 11:00 AM EDT
Set of Six Fitz & Floyd Porcelain Shell Finial Boxes
by Stair
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
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ovale Zierdose, nach antikem Vorbild, Bronzegriff
Oct 30, 11:00 AM CEST
ovale Zierdose, nach antikem Vorbild, Bronzegriff
by Auktionshalle Cuxhaven
Est: €0- €0
€150 Bids
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2 russische Lackdosen, kyrillisch sig., H. 3 cm
Oct 30, 11:00 AM CEST
2 russische Lackdosen, kyrillisch sig., H. 3 cm
by Auktionshalle Cuxhaven
Est: €0- €0
€50 Bids
Large Porcelain Oval Floral Gold Gilt Box
Oct 31, 1:00 PM EDT
Large Porcelain Oval Floral Gold Gilt Box
by Time Auction
Est: $300- $500
$1000 Bids
Kleiner Herz-Deckeldose,innenseitig bemalt,Krömer Porzellan,Länge ca.8cm
Nov 20, 11:00 AM CET
Kleiner Herz-Deckeldose,innenseitig bemalt,Krömer Porzellan,Länge ca.8cm
by Auction Partners
Est: €20- €0
€200 Bids
Bonboniere "Oldtimer",Waechtersbach,ca.10,5x9,5x4cm,leicht bestossen
Nov 20, 11:00 AM CET
Bonboniere "Oldtimer",Waechtersbach,ca.10,5x9,5x4cm,leicht bestossen
by Auction Partners
Est: €10- €0
€100 Bids
Bordallo Pinheiro Portugal Pottery Fig Box
Nov 27, 2:00 PM EST
Bordallo Pinheiro Portugal Pottery Fig Box
by Connoisseur Online
Est: $150- $300
$750 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Boxes


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Auktionshalle Cuxhaven

Auktionshalle Cuxhaven

Toomey & Co. Auctioneers

Toomey & Co. Auctioneers

Palácio do Correio Velho

Palácio do Correio Velho