Alms Box (Collection Box)

Alms Box (Collection Box)

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Usage conditions apply

Rectangular box with built-in coin slot at center of the flat lid; scrolled hasp lock on front and two hinges at back. Lid is made of one piece with wire-rolled rim. Box is made of five pieces with soft-soldered, folded edges; top edge of front and sides are folded down with a wire bead below. Traces of flaking black paint on exterior. Tinned interior. No marks. Box and padlock DL*245425.0078-.0079 were used together.

Collection boxes have been used for centuries to solicit money for religious institutions and charities. Even those with little to spare might contribute coins anonymously to a strategically placed box. Unfamiliar in some American communities in the 1700s, these boxes became more commonly used in the United States in the 1800s.

Object Name
box, alms
date made
place made
United States
Physical Description
iron (overall material)
tin (overall material)
paint (exterior material)
wire, iron (rims material)
overall: 2 3/4 in x 5 1/8 in x 3 5/8 in; 6.985 cm x 13.0175 cm x 9.2075 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Kenneth E. Jewett
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Giving in America
Giving in America
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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