What is Snuff? A Brief History About Snuff.

Snuff came to be popular in England and the rest of Europe in the 17th century and although no single answer can be allocated to the popularity of snuff during this time, some say that the great plague of London (1665-1666) resulted in higher consumption of snuff due to the citizens believing that snuff had medicinal properties. Other examples such as the rise in popularity in Scotland is said to have been due to the strong winds outside in the wintertime, which made lighting a traditional cigar/cigarette difficult and thus an inhalable tobacco form became more popular. 

By the 18th century, snuff became the tobacco choice of the elite and upper class - this led to further production of complex blend snuffs and also home-made blend snuffs. Iconic figures who are known to have been using snuff range from Napoleon to Pope Benedict XIII - others such as Queen Charlotte (wife of King George III) even had an entire room at Windsor Castle dedicated to her stock of snuff hence earning the nickname of "Snuffy Charlotte". 


From the latter half of the 19th century onwards, there has been a rapid decline in the use of snuff, claimed to have been caused by the new use of white handkerchiefs which would often get stained unlike the coloured handkerchiefs previously used.

Silver Gilt Snuff Box HorseToday, snuff is not a commonly used or associated form of tobacco in mainstream society, however, there are collectors of antiques and ornate snuff boxes regardless of their usage (some will choose to display whilst others may use it as a pill case).

If you are interested or planning to add a first to your collection of antiques/snuff boxes we highly recommend to have a good look around first - as with all areas of interest, it is often best to simply browse around to learn the different ages, types and designs of snuff to start your journey on collecting these wonderful intricate objects.

Below: A few from the selected bespoke collection of silver snuff boxes we offer. (Click Here to View)

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