Sometimes things that you might think are scrap are worth more than you expect. A case in point is old, empty jewelry boxes. While you won’t be able to sell them and retire on the proceeds, you might be amazed at the value antique boxes have. Any box signed Tiffany – even the modern blue ones – will fetch $10-$25 apiece. The same is true for Cartier. Furthermore, the older and more elaborate the box is, the more value will be associated with it.
There is a simple reason for this. Old Cartier and Tiffany pieces were often separated from their boxes, and retailers like to “re-acquaint” old pieces with a box from a similar period. When in good condition, old Cartier and Tiffany boxes like the ones shown will easily fetch $200 each. Rolex boxes can be even more valuable. A complete pre-1980 Rolex box (with book and tags) is worth $100 or more, with some early men’s red boxes fetching as much as $1,000 each. Mikimoto Pearl boxes can get $25-$50 on the open market. Even boxes from lesser-known, ultra-fine jewelers that had a regular following are worth $10-$100 each if they are fine-hinged and pre- 1950. Some of these companies are Cowell & Hubbard and Ball Watch of Cleveland, C.D. Peacock in Chicago, Shreves in Boston/San Francisco, Hess & Culbertson of St. Louis, Greenleaf & Crosby of Jacksonville/Palm Beach, and even Bruce Watters Jewelers in St. Petersburg.
Please note that jewelry signed by these companies also brings a premium. With the current popularity of old-cut, Euro- and mine-cut diamonds among today’s millennials, there is a demand for oddly shaped, art deco boxes from any time period – and they could likely bring $5-$10 apiece. Boxes are a highly overlooked aspect of collectability.
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