What I Didn’t Buy – Antique Hatbox

I really have a thing for old hatboxes, and I’ve been especially captivated after seeing some of the wonderful old ones in the Cooper Hewitt collection.  Antique bandboxes or hatboxes, especially those covered with wallpaper, are hard to come by around here, so I always look at them, even if I know I’ll not be able to afford them.

The one above caught my eye the other day.  While it is not one of the lovely scenic boxes, it is an older one, covered with a nice paper.  The inside had a beautiful border around the rim.

So what was so objectionable about this pretty box? Was it the price or the condition? No, although there were condition issues, and it wasn’t exactly cheap at $65.  The problem with this box was much worst.

The person selling this hatbox put an adhesive price sticker on the lid of the box.  I was hoping that it was one of those semi-sticky things that would just pull off, but a quick look at a loosened corner confirmed my fears.

Someone before me had already tried to lift off the sticker, and you can see where the paper of the box was pulled loose.  Whatever value the box had has been completely ruined by the person who stood to gain by its sale.

Over the years I’ve seen lots of thoughtless stickers slapped onto paper of all kinds.  Usually it is just a nuisance because it is a magazine or a catalog that is still useful despite the sticker.  Unfortunately this hatbox is ruined.

We need to make a rule that no stickers are allowed anywhere near antique and vintage paper.



Filed under I Didn't Buy...

16 responses to “What I Didn’t Buy – Antique Hatbox

  1. Lizzie…enjoyed your hatbox article… You are exactly right! That beautiful hat box was ruined….and it truly was a beauty.


  2. YES! Even on EVERYTHING ! I found a beautifully preserved ecru lace veil (circa 1870’s) while researching / searching for a client -slammed in the middle of the back was a large sticky label-with all of the provenance and price-the shop owner said to me -“oh, no problem-it’s the new kind that removes easily” …I started to remind her of the delicate condition she ripped it off and remaining was a hole about started to tear -7 inches by 5…and as the to be bride started to tear – the shop owner replied..” Oh well..!! I have never looked at a stick on label since without remembering !.


  3. Oh no! I hate price tags on paper items. Why don’t people think first?


  4. I was using that easy off painters blue tape on a printed cardboard box for a child’s toy typewriter, and horribly it it took off the top layer. Lesson learned, nothing sticky near paper!


  5. How careless of that merchant. Amen to your rule!


  6. Ugh. At the thrift shop where I volunteer we have special no stick labels for nice items. They are more costly than the usual but if you are in the business you SHOULD know enough to use them. Perhaps long ago someone put this sticker on. Maybe it could be harmlessly removed with some kind of clear drying solvent.


  7. Oh!!!! my pet peeve!!! thanks for highlighting this maybe the right people will see it.


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