So I picked up this old tea leaf box in the antique/secondhand market near Guting:
I have no idea about it, except that it's about 100 years old but not a "valuable" antique. The owner of the shop told me as much: these things are apparently pretty common.
Thing is, none of my students or friends has ever seen one. So how common could they have been if everyone looks at it like..."huh? What's it for?" "It used to hold tea leaves, at least that's what I was told"..."Oh, cool!"
Our plan for this thing is to polish the brass latch and rings, refinish it with a red paint or stain (?), fix the chips and black paint, repaint the line of gilt (almost certainly not real gold) and come out with an object that can be written on with gold, silver and copper paint pens. Then, use it as the card box at our wedding, as well as the guest book. People can put cards in it, and then sign it in gold, silver or copper ink (or leave well wishes or even small drawings). We'll then finish and seal it to keep as a memento. Like this:
I really do not know anything about this. So, can anyone in the big fat Internet tell me more about the box we've got, so I'll have a better idea of where to start?