These containers make a strong case for beauty

Our expert has discovered antique boxes made for all occasions.

1 Child’s Play
The ultimate interactive toy: wooden nesting boxes. These circa-1940 painted examples are jointed so that they can be stacked and combined (9" square), or even arranged as abstract sculpture. $720, Linda & Howard Stein/Bridgehampton Antiques, 215-297-5221,

2 The Shoe Fits
Chinese women traditionally stored their footwear in painted wooden boxes. This example from 1910 features a floral motif and original brass handles (27" w. x 19½" h. x 21½" d.). $1,650, English Country Antiques, 26 Snake Hollow Rd., Bridgehampton, 631-537-0606,

3 Tole Tale
A heraldic symbol adorns this circa-1960 English tole box on an iron stand (14" w. x 20½" h. x 11½" d.). Bread and other sundries stored within will seem like royal treats. $650, Ann Madonia Antiques, 36 Jobs Ln., Southampton, 631-283-1878,

4 Steam Heat
It won’t fit in the overhead compartment on your next flight, but this circa-1950 Louis Vuitton steamer trunk with four inner trays (44" w. x 28" h. x 23½" d.) easily doubles as a cocktail table or decorative storage piece. The canvas and leather case is fitted with leather handles and comes with its original keys. $6,900, Eclectiques, 1524 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill, 631-537-9594,

5 Light Up Your Life  
This circa-1930 French shagreen cigarette box, part of the collection of the late designer Robert Metzger, is trimmed in ivory with a discreet drawer atop—and the lighter still works (4" x 4" x 5½" h.). $2,500, Donna Parker Habitat, 710 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill, 631-726-9311,