The great reveal of Elmes' chocolate box.
The great reveal of Elmes’ chocolate box. Hansons

Two kinds of gift-openers exist in this world: Those who rip open packages with joyful abandon, and those who painstakingly avoid ripping the paper. And then there’s Eileen Margaret Elmes, whose childhood Christmas present has survived for a century.

Over 100 years ago, Elmes was gifted a box of Little Red Riding Hood-themed Pascall’s Chocolate Novelties. Elmes, then a little girl, loved the chocolates so much that she refused to eat them. Elmes passed away in 2007, but her beloved box of chocolates, which her niece gave to Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall, England, lives on.

Elmes, as a baby, pictured on the far right and perched on her mother's knee.
Elmes, as a baby, pictured on the far right and perched on her mother’s knee. Hansons

Hansons recently opened the box of chocolates, whose estimated date of manufacture falls from 1910 to 1914. The auction house documented the experience on video ahead of the box’s auction next week. While miraculously intact, the chocolate isn’t exactly inviting—and not just because the pieces bear the particular sheen of century-old candy. The four decaying chocolate pieces are also unnervingly dressed up in little costumes, and include sailor and baby outfits.

When asked, Elmes’s niece said that the chocolates were so special to her aunt that “she wanted other people to see them and asked me if I could do anything about it.” She added that Elmes “hoped a museum would buy them, perhaps a chocolate museum, so they could be on display.” Chocoholics with extra cash can make a bid on December 19th, when the box goes up for sale.

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