Several years ago I found a photo of the key seen below on the internet somewhere. I described it on my website (www.lanecedarbox.com) as a “flat key – older.” I assumed it was older than the pressed keys because it appeared to be more refined and probably more expensive to manufacture.
Within the last few days I was contacted by a reader of this blog or website (not sure) and challenged on my statement about the key’s originality. A very strong argument was made that the key is NOT original to the Lane boxes and I tend to agree.
This key is identical to a key being sold on Amazon currently. The Amazon key is said to be “New Old Stock” and “Original Authentic Vintage Jewelry Key Lane Miniature Mini Cedar Chest Box “KEY ONLY” From a warehouse box marked “The Lane Company, Altavista, VA.” You can go see the posting for yourself…
The reason given for the key is not being original to the boxes is that it appears to have been cut-out by a laser given the discoloration that appears around both the key in the photo above and on the one on Amazon. According to people that know better than me…this is a sure sign of laser work. Although lasers were in use for industrial manufacturing/cutting in the late 1990’s when the Lane miniature program closed down, they would NOT have been in use PRIOR to the pressed keys that started in the 1950’s or even earlier.
Given the description of the “warehouse box” from the Amazon seller, it may be possible that Lane ordered replacement keys to provide to box owners as replacements in the later years but it is unlikely the key above and the one on Amazon were actually distributed with the Girl Graduate Boxes. Until proven otherwise, this is my working theory. Again, the keys may have been distributed by Lane but there is no evidence they were actually included with the boxes. Boxes from the late 1990’s clearly were sold with pressed keys – not the one found above.
I will be editing my website to reflect this new information.
Thank you Karen (and husband) for your help with this key issue!
Until next time…stay safe!