I keep my eyes peeled for early watercolor sets, but the prices on these tend to be way beyond me and the early American sets even more precious than English ones. I lucked out with this, which is a rare, very beautiful c. 1830s Osborne Superfine travel set--sometimes called a "toy set" I believe, due to the diminuative size of the paint cakes. Osborne was one of the few 19th century American makers of artists paint, earning renown for especially vivid colors believed by artists to be equal or better to any made in Europe. Early on--1820s-40s--Osborne paint boxes were carried by Smith & Hodgson druggists (which later became the Bullock & Crenshaw's Drug and chemical store) in Philadelphia, which dates this set to that period. Barely if at all used, with the paint cakes retaining their embossed images--a variety of seashells on their faces, and the Osborne name on the reverse. Also included in the box is a glass tube open at the ends, which I believe is a period water dropper. Really a wonderful set in exceptional condition.
Box measures 5" x 2 1/4" x 3/4" and is in excellent condition, as are the paints. I believe a few of the cakes are in the wrong spots relative to the color labels but I've left them as found.