This is a great example of an early American silver tobacco or snuff box. Rectangular in shape, the edges and corners are plain while the rest of the sides are decorated with lovely engine-turning.
The hinged cover opens to reveal a beautiful interior with original gilding.
The front of the cover has an applied strip chased with foliage which assists in opening the cover. This same decoration is used to frame the top of the box. The center has an applied rectangular frame containing the following inscription:
Thomas M. Adriance.
Above this rectangle is an applied circle engraved 'N6G'. (National Guard 6)
According to his January 3, 1878 New York Times obituary, Thomas Adriance was born in 1801 and at the age of 18 joined the National Guard, Eleventh Regiment, First Brigade, Artillery. In 1822 he was elected Third Corporal and three months later promoted to Sergeant. In 1825 he accepted the office of Company Teasurer until 1833. Along with others in 1833, he '...assisted in the reorganization of the Sixth Company of the Twenty-seventh Regiment, (now the Seventh Regiment)... The Sixth Company, like the Fourth, found in Mr. Adriance a custodian of their finances who was particularly worthy of praise and gratitude, and on March 12, 1840, presented him with with an appropriate set of resolutions and a silver tobacco-box'.(1)
The engraving on the box is exceptional. The American flag bears the 13 stars for the number of colonies at the time.
The wonderful engraving of the cannon, shells, shield, marching drum etc symbolizes the National Guard.
The Sixth Regiment of the National Guard became the Seventh Regiment of the National Guard, famous for its exclusive membership and historic armory located on New York City's Upper East Side. It is now known as the Park Avenue Armory, a national landmark building with Tiffany interiors that hosts cultural events including major antique shows.
This stunning and rare box is unmarked. It measures just over 3 inches long by 2 inches wide by .75 inches high. It weighs 3.65 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition.
- "THE LATE THOMAS M. ADRIANCE. FIFTY YEARS' SERVICE IN THE SEVENTH REGIMENT - BRIEF SKETCH OF HIS MILITARY CAREER" in the New York Times, January 3, 1878, p. 3.