A wonderful and unusual little snuff box in the shape of a fish. This curious little fish’s fin opens to reveal a little void in which to store the snuff. It is made from horn, scales have been etched into the horn on the fin and lines have been carved into the edges to create the upper and lower fins and the tail.
Snuff is a smokeless tobacco made by grinding tobacco leaves. It is inhaled or "snuffed" into the nasal cavity giving a nicotine ‘hit’ much like smoking. It originated in America and was brought to Europe in the 17th century. Snuff was at its height in England in the early 18th century and in the Victorian period it was also advertised as having healing properties. Although snuff was a pleasure for the upper classes, the working classes also began to share the habit in the later 19th century. Instead of the ornate, and highly valuable snuff boxes of the higher orders, working class men kept their snuff in simpler boxes made from wood, brass and horn, such as this fish shaped one.
Surprisingly, it seems that snuff is making a comeback as the new laws prohibiting smoking in public areas restrict the use of tobacco. Snuff allows the user to have a nicotine fix without the smoke.
This highly collectable little fish has a white metal eye and a brass hinge on the opening fin. It is in good condition with a small chip on the back and measures approx. 5.5 x 3.5 x 1.5cm.
A fascinating little snuff box perfect for a collector or as an unusual gift.