Recently I acquired a Love Letter Puzzle Box crafted by Yoshiyuki Ninomiya. The Puzzle Box was distributed in a lottery format and was very limited in number. Because I was not a winner, I purchased the Love Letter Puzzle Box from another collector and frankly, I am a bit embarrassed to mention how much I paid.
The Love Letter was a remake of an original 2006 version which sold recently in an auction for an unbelievable price! This newer version is crafted with Northern White Cedar, Chanchin and Magnolia woods and frankly looks much plainer in appearance than the initial release. The grain of the Northern White Cedar alternates beautifully to make it look like an envelope and has a nice smaller Yosegi square inlay on the reverse. Ninomiya often brands his pieces with small square inlays on a number of his works, similar to the Card Case crafted for a special function a few years ago.
In size, it is quite large measuring approximately 6.7 x 4.9 x 1.9 inches. The solution to this piece is quite simple and can be opened in only four steps. I usually don’t show puzzles in the open position, however, Yoshiyuki is best known for his amazing craftsmanship and inlays and it really doesn’t do the Love Letter Box justice, showing it only in the closed position. As you can see, the drawer inlay is phenomenal with precise seams and smooth opening mechanism. Though not known for complex puzzles, Yoshiyuki Ninomiya is on my short list of TOP crafters.
The Love Letter Box is a nice addition to my private collection of Ninomiya Puzzles. Some others that I presently own are shown below. I did have quite a few of his other pieces, but my Puzzle collection got a bit too large, so I had to bite the bullet and trade off a number of his works. Because his works are in high demand and tough to find, I often have a bad case of seller’s remorse!