Victorian era “Sailor’s Valentine” shell encrusted sewing box

This lavishly shell-encrusted sewing box dates to around 1860 and is still packed full of it’s original treasures! It’s a wooden box (similar to a cigar box) covered in patterned paper with shells applied on top. The lid features a padded red silk pincushion and polished shells in lovely shades of rusty-rose and violet. There is a small brass folding handle that would have allowed it to be carried like a suitcase.

Inside are two lidded full boxes of glass beads, a rolled piece of Penelope or double-mesh needlepoint canvas, 2 rolled sheets of Berlin Work-style alphabet charts, a bobbin of candy-striped thread and a sheet with two panels of crochet patterns (some clippings are tucked behind these patterns). The compartment at the back near the hinges has a sheet of heavy black paper rolled in it, and I’m not sure what it was for– perhaps a type of transfer paper?

Overall condition is very good. The silk pincushion is in excellent shape and appears unused.There are two missing small white spiral shells– one at the front right edge of the lid, and the other at the front edge of the left side of the lid. The ornate brass clasp does not close properly and the paper hinges that connect the lid to the base are a bit weak. The pattern charts are becoming slightly brittle but are in good condition otherwise.

The box measure 5-14″ wide and 8-1/2″ long by about 2″ high (excluding the pincushion).