What happened when the old relic box reached America
Synopsis: Stanley D. Saperstein explains in this quick article how to make a relic box, or stamp box. Very few survive from before the Revolution, he says. They vary as to size and can be square or rectangular; the most common sizes were 3 in. square, 4 in. square, and 4 in. by 5 in. He describes the best woods to use, suggests carving the sides before taking the center out, and advises honeycombing the block to scoop out the center. Templates are included in the article.
The 17th Century stamp box is a little known antique in America, but widely known in Europe as a “relic box” to house prized religious relics. It makes a beautiful desk ornament.
Because the relics were quite small, something was needed to house them, and small decorative boxes were carved out to serve the purpose.
When the first Catholics arrived in Lord Baltimore’s Maryland colony, the relic…