07 Mar 2021
December 30, 2019 - Filed under: Selling Antiques — David

In the late nineteenth century, voting involved ornate wooden ballot boxes that are now expensive collectable antiques.

People who voted in the recent general election put their ballot papers into plain metal boxes. In the 19th century, it was common for members of gentlemen’s clubs to vote on issues using small balls that were placed in ornate wooden ballot boxes. A basic ballot box had a round funnel where a black or white ball was inserted to indicate a yes or no vote. Others had two round slots to insert balls in, left for yes and right for no. A draw beneath the slots opened to reveal the balls ready for counting.

These kinds of ballot boxes can sometimes be found for sale in antique shops. They are made from solid wood and often have gold lettering on them. Those wishing to own one can expect to pay a lot for examples from the 19th century. A Victorian double funnel ballot box from 1890 was recently for sale at £3,200. It has two forward-facing funnels and twin turned voting ball holders on the top.

A plainer mahogany ballot box from the earlier period of 1825 was also offered for sale at £3,200. This has one funnel with a door that opens with a key to reveal the drawers that contain the balls.

If you are not able to find antique ballot boxes at Lancashire antique dealers, there are many small items of wooden furniture that add interest to a room such as antique chests and cabinets.

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