This type of 'puzzle' snuff-box gained popularity with the late Georgians and early Victorians and came in both pocket and table-size. Prescot, South Lancashire became the centre for their production and they were commonly made in brass. The present example opens when the head of Mars and the finger of Venus point to the front of the box and the sun in splendour is aligned with the crescent moon. A Lancashire watch-shaped table snuff-box in brass with similar combination lock operated by a pair of pointers and a sun in splendour is illustrated, G. Bernard Hughes, English Snuff-Boxes, London, 1971, no. 16.
A handwritten note inside the box reads 'This snuff box was given me by my Uncle EdwD. who had it from his Mother to whom it was given I believe by the last Duchess of Bolton. I wish it to return to my family in case of my death as a sort of Heirloom I think it will be kept preserved in Henry's family [......] Augt. 1861 A IW: [.....]'.
It is possible that the Samuel Wadeson for whom the box was repaired is the Samuel Wadeson, a gentleman of Barbadoes [sic], who is referred to in a manuscript in the Sackville family papers (Centre for Kentish Studies: Sackville Manuscripts [U269/O1 - U269/Z93]. The manuscript records that Francis Whitworth (1674-1742), Clerk of H.M. Courts in Barbados, paid George Newport, a London merchant £350 to continue in the post of clerk for seven years with Samuel Wadeson as his deputy. The document is dated 1731.