What is a Vesta Case?


Vesta cases, also known as match safes, are small boxes that are used to carry matches and keep them safe from the elements. Vesta cases are often intricately crafted and considered small works of art, which why these match cases are very popular with collectors of antiques.

In the early 1800's, it was common to carry matches, since some type of portable fire was needed to light lanterns and stoves. The matches of that day were crude compared to today's standards, and were known to light when making contact with each other, and sometimes even spontaneously. In order to alleviate this potentially hazardous situation, it made good sense to utilize a vesta case or match safe.

One of the more interesting features of the vesta case or match safes is that they almost always include some type of rough or ribbed surface, usually on the bottom of the case that is used for striking the matches.

Match safes, or vesta cases can been found in countless different styles, materials and shapes. Metals used for making vesta cases range from tin, brass and silver to the more expensive precious metals like gold. Vesta cases can also be found in natural materials including bone, wood and ivory. While the most common size of the vesta case is small enough to fit comfortably in a pocket, larger cases were also made for home use. These larger cases or safes were commonly placed in areas where fires were often lit, for example, near wood burning stoves or fireplaces.

Vesta cases can still be found and purchased today for either personal use or to include in a collection. For a visual example of vesta cases, here is a small sampling of some of the vesta cases and match safes that can be found eBay, an online auction website:

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SUPERB RARE ANTIQUE STERLING SILVER GOLFER MATCHSAFE VESTA CASE BIRM 1905 SUPERB RARE ANTIQUE STERLING SILVER GOLFER MATCHSAFE VESTA CASE BIRM 1905 $319.41
RARE ANTIQUE STERLING SILVER FOOTBALL SOCCER MATCHSAFE VESTA CASE 1892 RARE ANTIQUE STERLING SILVER FOOTBALL SOCCER MATCHSAFE VESTA CASE 1892 $364.13
RARE ANTIQUE HEAVY SILVERPLATE SWAN MATCH VESTA CASE NOT A REPRODUCTION RARE ANTIQUE HEAVY SILVERPLATE SWAN MATCH VESTA CASE NOT A REPRODUCTION $249.00
RARE ANTIQUE STERLING SILVER BULLDOG MATCHSAFE VESTA CASE BIRMINGHAM 1906 RARE ANTIQUE STERLING SILVER BULLDOG MATCHSAFE VESTA CASE BIRMINGHAM 1906 $376.91
RARE 14K YELLOW GOLD VESTA CASE w GOLD  DIAMOND HORSEHOE 24 grams NR RARE 14K YELLOW GOLD VESTA CASE w GOLD DIAMOND HORSEHOE 24 grams NR $599.99
VINTAGE STERLING SILVER VESTA CASE RARE DOG FACE MAKERDAB VINTAGE STERLING SILVER VESTA CASE RARE DOG FACE MAKERDAB $850.00
Rare Celluloid Black Cat yellow label Cigarettes Matchsafe Vesta Matchholder Rare Celluloid Black Cat yellow label Cigarettes Matchsafe Vesta Matchholder $220.00
Rare Beautiful Vintage Tiffany  Co Repousse Silver Plate Match Safe Box Holder Rare Beautiful Vintage Tiffany Co Repousse Silver Plate Match Safe Box Holder $150.00
Rare Robert E Lee Confederate Match Safe Civil War Comemorative Rare Robert E Lee Confederate Match Safe Civil War Comemorative $365.00
RARE sterling BRITISH SILVER VICTORIAN POCKET CIGAR CUTTER MATCH SAFE COMBO RARE sterling BRITISH SILVER VICTORIAN POCKET CIGAR CUTTER MATCH SAFE COMBO $195.00

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