Internet puzzled over rare item that once carried valuable possessions

After hunting for treasures at an antique store, an online user shared a photo of a unique find, hoping the online population could help identify the item, which for the most part has been replaced by a piece of plastic.

Attempting to solve the mystery, netizens – puzzled by the relic – offered various theories that includes handcuffs and a powder compact.

Keep reading to learn more about this case, which during the Victorian era was very valuable to its holder.

Today, a wallet typically holds more plastic than cash, as debit or credit is the preferred and convenient form of payment.

In fact, according to Forbes, less than 10% of Americans use cash to pay for purchases, and with 90% using either a debit or credit card, this mystery item has become a dinosaur.

As one online user says, it was popular “back when a dollar was a dollar and you could buy some bread with a nickel.”

That takes us way back to February 1915, when a story in the New York Times read: “5 cent loaf likely to go to 6 cents” – coinage this item had space enough to carry.

Not for monacles

This antique metal case, with two round slots, is rich in history and more valuable today than the content it held almost 100 years ago.

An image of this item, simple in design, created a lively exchange of comments from users, who were baffled over its identity.

Many netizens – likely ones who favor debit or credit cards over actual cash – were completely lost when an online user asked to identify the object.

“[Monacle] case,” offered one. “I think it’s for an ink well and powder container for drying the ink when the fountain pen or quill was used?” shares a second.

A third asks: “It looks like possibly a sewing machine bobbin case??”

One even suggested it was “part of [an] ashtray [and] lighter for smokers.”

Some guessed it could have been used by women for powder and rouge, and others were convinced it was used to hold ground tobacco leaves: “Tobacco Snuff carrier. With a place to spit. Very discreetly Tobacco Snuff carrier!”

Meanwhile, others quickly identified the relic, sharing their own memories of using it decades before. “Have one. It was used to hold coins. My mom always put this in my lunch box for milk or snack money in the 1950s. Yes mine was sterling silver also. Still have it,” shares one cybernaut.

Victorian coin holder

This small container was used to carry coins during the Victorian era and the early 1900s. These coin cases were often made of durable materials such as leather, metal, or fabric, and they varied in design and style depending on the preferences of the owner.

During the Victorian era, coins were a common form of currency for everyday transactions, so having a practical and stylish way to carry them was essential for many people. Coin cases were designed to be compact and portable, allowing individuals to easily access their coins while on the go.

Some Victorian coin cases were simple in design, featuring a basic pouch or compartment for holding coins, while others were more ornate and decorated with intricate patterns, embossing, or embellishments.

Often carried in pockets, purses, or bags, they were used by everyone, from the working class to the upper echelons of society.

While plastic is far lighter to carry, antique coin cases are prized by collectors for their historical significance and craftsmanship, and they serve as tangible reminders of the Victorian era and its cultural and social norms.

It also serves as a reminder to how much society has changed in only 100 years. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section and then share this story so we can hear what others have to say!


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