The colorful tins piled high around Belgian collector Yvette Dardenne used to contain goods ranging from chocolates, toffees, coffee, and rice to tobacco, talc, and shoe polish and came from as far away as India.
Yvette Dardenne, 83, has accumulated almost 60,000 vintage tin boxes from all over the world since starting her collection some 30 years ago.
The collection, which now occupies four houses, all began with a Cote d’Or chocolate box illustrated with a painting of a blonde girl in a blue hat, Dardenne told Reuters, standing amid the carefully arranged tin boxes in the medieval watermill she owns next to her home.
Later, the tins just came to her, she said.
One of Dardenne’s greatest treasures is an intricately patterned box from 1868 showing an emblem with two horses on top, built to hold biscuits made by Huntley & Palmers of Reading, England.
It is considered to be the first box to have been lithographed, according to Dardenne, whose collection can be visited by appointment.