Matchbox; R. Bell & Co.; Post 1832.; CT4055



About this object

Matchbox; a rectangular, metal box of R Bell & Co matches. The hinged lid is embossed with the manufacturer's details and a striking surface is adhered to the base.


R. Bell & Co.

Maker Role


Date Made

Post 1832.

Place Made

Oceania, New Zealand

Medium and Materials

processed material, metal.

Inscription and Marks

Embossed on the lid: 'R. BELL & Co. / No. 4 / NEW ZEALAND'




h 20mm x l 70mm x w 36mm

Subject and Association Keywords

technology, manufactures, packaging

Subject and Association Keywords

building construction, illumination. lighting

Credit Line

From the collection of Owaka Museum Wahi Kahuika The Meeting Place "a rest on your journey"

Object Type


Object number



All rights reserved

Hudson 14 Apr 2015 07:50 AM,UTC

I'm trying to find an end date for production of matchboxes with lids stamped like this. 1895 to.... do you know when this particular type stopped being made? I'd appreciate any references you culd pass on. Thanks

lisa 02 Nov 2014 03:10 AM,UTC

I came across one of these tins at a clearance sale a bought it. I keep sewing pins in it. Can you please tell me how much it would be worth?
Thank you

Trish Reichardt 26 Sep 2014 23:50 PM,UTC

How much would one of these tins go for? I have one that is empty and also has some rust and the striker mat is still on the bottom of it.

Jeff, Oamaru 10 Dec 2012 07:40 AM,UTC

Thanks for the email. Found one in a skip today. Wondered what it was. Now i now.

Matt 20 Feb 2011 04:41 AM,UTC

I've just found one of these under my house, rusty but in good shape and still openable and clear to read. Thanks for having this information up on the Internet, it's been interesting to find a little more about it.

Janine Leighton 30 Apr 2010 00:35 AM,UTC

Hello Kathryn, Moisture in the air causes corrosion. The tin needs to be kept in a dry location. Depending on how much corrosion is present, you may use a bamboo skewer (used for kebabs and available from grocery shops) to carefully, mechanically remove some of the corrosion, being very careful not to scratch the surface of the tin. You could also try a little ethanol (or acetone if ethanol is not available) on a cotton swab, you can twist a little cottonwool onto the end of a skewer, (don't soak the swab) to very carefully assist in removing some of the corrosion. If using either of these methods, take great care and do not hurry as it is easy to damage the object. You will not be able to remove all the corrosion, and possibly you may chose not to remove any. Finally, use microcrystalline wax (museum polish) available from Conservation Supplies, to coat the tin to protect from moisture. Also refer to 'Artcare' online for further helpful information. Kind regards, Janine Leighton

K. Blain 21 Apr 2010 00:44 AM,UTC

Wow. I have one of those on my mantle. I didn't realise it was collectable. Unfortunately mine isn't in as good a shape as that one and only has 14 maatches left in it. If you have time to reply, I would be interested in knowing how to prevent it corroding. It has a little rust.
Thank you. Kathryn Blain