Homes of the early 1900s in the United States had many matched sets of decorative pieces. There was a coffee and tea service with creamer, sugar bowl and tray. There was usually a desk set with a pen, blotter ends, inkwell, pen holder, letter opener, stamp box and more. And, of course, there was a smoking set that had a box for cigars, cigar cutter, sometimes a cigar holder, humidor, lighter, ashtray, a cigarette holder and a special cigarette case to carry.
When viewed alone, the parts are often hard to identify. A recent auction by Rago sold a pottery box with a lid and corners that featured hooded figures. The size suggests it was originally made to hold cigars. Cigars were sold in standard size wooden boxes starting in 1865. A decorative box often held them on a desk or table. This box is marked Atlantic Terra Cotta Company, an important maker of New Jersey clay tiles from 1907 to 1949. It sold for $875.