A good solid silver cigarette box with silver gilt interior and of wonderful design. Hallmarked Alexander Clark & Co Ltd London 1934. 16oz
The Alexander Clark Company Ltd. Manufacturing Goldsmiths & Silversmiths, Dressing Case Makers, 125 & 126 Fenchurch Street, London EC. Contractors to the Admiralty, War Office and Colonial Governments. Along with Royal Warrants 'By Royal Command to the Court of Japan' and 'To His Majesty the King of Siam'.
This box, presented to W J Haynes, by Gow Wilson and Stanton - an import tea broker during the late 19th and early 20th century. Below is a short account of one such tea auction.
Unusual excitement prevailed on Tuesday in Mincing Lane (the London Tea Auction Houses were/are located there), on the offering by Messrs. Gow Wilson and Stanton, tea-brokers, in public auction, of a small lot of Ceylon tea from the Gartmore estate in Maskeliya (Mr. T.C. Anderson). This tea possesses extraordinary quality in liquor, and is composed almost entirely of small “golden tips,” which are the extreme ends of the small succulent shoots of the plant, and the preparation of such tea is, of course, most costly. Competition was of a very keen description. “The bidding, which was pretty general to start with, commenced with an offer of 1 pound, 1 shilling per pound of tea as the price advanced to 8 pounds per pound of tea many buyers dropped out, and at this price about five wholesale dealers were willing to purchase. Offers where then made up to about 9 pounds, 9 shillings per pound of tea by three of the leading houses, the tea being ultimately knocked down to the “Mazawattee Ceylon Tea Company” at the most extraordinary and unprecedented price of 10 pounds 12 shillings 6 pence per pound of tea.” This was an extraordinary price in 1891 that Tea still fetches a very high on today's market. As such a superb Tea should.
That is roughly £900 for 1lb of tea in todays money! No wonder they could afford to reward employees with such an expensive silver box.
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