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Box Full of Stories: A Special Find at a Swedish Antique Shop

In her most recent blog post, Mary Tripoli writes about her travels through Sweden, including her surprising discovery at a craft-focused antique shop.

Posted on April 5, 2024
by Mary Tripoli

After parting ways with my North House friends, I spent a few days learning spindle turning with North House friends Stefan (and Maggan).

I then visited with fellow sloyd pals Raleigh and Oliver (@wildcraftedhome) near Mjölby, where we turned and carved for a few days.  

On each of these two stops, we shopped second hand stores (loppis) for craft treasures. I found a few little things, but still missing out on my goal of finding a turned locking box.

Up next was Mellerud, where my Seattle friend Anna lives with her little family. Had a relaxing time playing with the baby, catching up and trying banana curry pizza!  (I liked it!)

We targeted one antique store which specializes in Swedish and Norwegian folk craft. We showed up, and it was closed! Not deterred, we called the number and persuaded the shopkeepers to come and open up for us.

An overwhelming trove awaited us inside! In just a few minutes, I located many lidded boxes in various styles and conditions. I pulled out a few very nice examples to choose from for purchase, including a small painted double box.  

At one point, Anna reached a medium sized painted box from 1803. I was holding it and was like, “why is it heavy?” It was full of yellowed receipts and letters! 

I am very slowly trying to read this book with a translation app.

Historically, these boxes were used to hold important letters and receipts.  So, it is not lost on me how special a find this is.  The papers were mostly receipts, but there was one envelope with a Chicago, IL postmark.  The writing is difficult to read, but I hope to slowly piece together a story about the past owner of this box.  

I guess I got my box(es) and then some!