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S/2994 Antique Treen 19th Century Coquilla Nut Match Holder

An egg shaped coquilla nut match holder and striker, having a top that unscrews revealing the interior for matches. The base is crisply reeded for striking, and the whole has a lovely rich colour and patination.

Coquillas are the nuts of the attalea funifera or the piassaba palm tree, which are found extensively on the Atlantic side of South America. The trees grow in swampy ground or partially flooded river banks. They are usually egg shaped and of a similar size too. They have a rich brown colour, are hard and brittle and are oily. They were first brought to Europe in the mid 16th century and were popular for small turned and carved objects until the end of the 19th century. It is the shell which was used discarding the kernel and thier oily nature makes them ideal for snuff boxes, as the snuff won't dry out. Coquilla nuts have also been used for: ornamental handles, pomanders, pin cushions, rosaries and rosary cases, scent flasks, muffineers, pocket spice boxes and flea traps to name just a few examples.

2 in. (7 cm.) High
1 in. (4 cm.) Diameter English Circa 1860