I bought a small collection of snuff box shoes the other day and it got me thinking about how snuff taking was introduced into Britain and why it became such a popular habit. Initially snuff taking was for the aristocractic circles with William and Mary and Queen Anne being confirmed snuff takers. But 1702 seemed to be a key year for popularising snuff with the ordinary man and woman. Several thousand barrels of choice Spanish Snuff, ready ground, (sneezing powder) were captured and sold at the English seaports at low prices and hence the habit of snuff taking began. Snuff shoe boxes are a fascinating field. They are just one of a huge variety of snuff boxes made, but there are a large number of different shoes to be collected.For example if you come across a double shoe snuff box, especially with hearts on it then it was likely to have been given as a love token.Some snuff shoes actually have brass nail words such as LOVE or MY ONLY LOVE on confirming the association of shoes with love and marriage. Look out for the trick snuff shoes where when you slide the lid off a snake pops out!!! There are puzzle shoes where there is a trick opening. Lids maybe on the top or less commonly on the sole of the shoe, hinged or sliding. Some have names on and or dates.
Times have changed, turning up for dinner with a snuff box in the 18th/19th century was not uncommon, whereas today its chocolates and wine........ Please share with us here any interesting snuff shoes or boots that you have come across. snuff_boxes