Q: What is this? It’s from a deceased relative’s belongings. It’s marked “Meriden B. Company” and the number 1906.
A: You have a butter dish made by Meriden Brittania Co. The company was founded in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1852 when several small pewter makers joined together. Brittania is a pewter alloy usually made of 92% tin, 6% antimony, and 2% copper. Meriden Brittania became a subsidiary of International in 1898. Butter dishes like this were popular in the Victorian era and were used as part of the table setting. Ice or ice water was put in the bottom part to keep the butter cold. The butter was put on the plate (also called a liner) over the ice, and then the lid was put on. The number is probably the pattern or catalog number. Silver plated butter dishes in good condition are worth about $150. Britannia butter dishes sell for only $25 to $45.