Black Magic Casket 1950s-1960s
This is a 1¾lb Black Magic Casket box from the 1950s-1960s. The original design dated from c1937. Plain chocolates became more popular in the early 1960s as tastes became more sophisticated. In 1964 this box (with the chocolates!) cost 17 shillings.

Chocolate boxes from the 1960s

The chocolate market in the UK was worth over £200m in the 1960s. According to the advertising of the time, chocolate boxes were most often bought by men as presents for wives and girlfriends.

Chocolates were also the most likely thing to be bought on impulse in the 1960s. [1]

The most popular chocolate box assortments were Cadbury's Milk Tray and Rowntree's Dairy Box. [2]

However, there was a swing away from milk chocolates towards plain as Britain's palette became more sophisticated. Perhaps continental holidays for a few had an impact.

The brand leader in plain chocolate assortments was Rowntree's Black Magic which dated back 1933. It had a black Art Deco box which was unchanged from the 1930s.

To compete with Black Magic, Cadbury's launched their own plain assortment, Contrast, in 1962. In the 1970s Contrast became a mix of dark and milk chocolates.

Rowntree's new entry into this market was After Eight Mints in 1962. The advertising suggested that they were posh. They quickly became popular.

In 1969, Rowntree's launched Matchmakers. They were small sticks with crispy bits in different flavours, mint, orange and coffee. Rowntree's aimed at the nibblers with these. [3]

Milk chocolate was still popular taste in the 1960s. Mackintosh's 'Good News' was making in-roads into the market dominated by Milk Tray. Later in the decade the well-known secret agent advertisements for Cadbury's Milk Tray would help seal its position as market leader.

Chrismtas boxes

Cadbury's Contrast box c1962-3
Cadbury's Contrast was originally a range of plain chocolates. This is a Christmas box. It most likely dates from when Cadbury's launched Contrast in 1962.

In the 1950s and 1960s manufacturers brought out fancy boxes with new designs each Christmas. They sold at a premium to the standard chocolates available throughout the year.

According to the Daily Mirror a special box could add over a £1 to the cost of a box of chocolates. The Christmas boxes were often larger and more substantial than the standard boxes. Many were put to other uses afterwards and they have survived well. Perhaps they were better value than they appeared at the time!

Cadbury's brought out Christmas boxes for Milk Tray each year and occasionally for Contrast. They usually featured one-off floral designs.

Rowntree's had Christmas boxes for Black Magic and Dairy Box and Nestlé for Home Made Assortment.

This is a selection of some of the chocolate box assortments from the 1960s.


Milk Tray was a classic going back to 1915. It was the market leader in the 1930s.

Milk Tray got a new box design in 1961 and three new flavours: Lime Cordial, Cokernut Ice and Hazelnut in Caramel. A one pound box cost 5 shillings and 9 pence.

In 1968 Cadbury's started a long-running series of adverts featuring a secret agent who risked death to annoymously leave a box of Milk Tray for a certain lady.

Callard and Bowser


Lindt Mountain Rose c1960s
Lindt Mountain Rose was the ultimate in Swiss chocolate luxury in the 1960s


At the luxury end of the chocolate market in the 1960s were Lindt's Swiss chocolate assortments and liqueurs.


You could buy Quality Street by the quarter (lb). At Christmas, a big tin, ½lb or 1lb, was a popular choice for a family present.


Meltis produced the famous New Berry Fruits. They made Christmas boxes with a selection of their ranges.

Nestle's Home Made Assortment
Nestle's Home Made Assortment



The classic Black Magic choclates were unchanged since their launch in 1933 and still popular.

The Black magic box contained:

The Black Magic Casket box (1¾lb) was a favourite since 1937 and still available in the 1960s. In 1964 the Casket Box cost 17 shillings. Like the regular box, its Art Deco design was not changed from the 1930s. The Casket Box continued into the 1970s, but unfortunately its design did not.

Black Magic is still made today, but by Nestlé. The flavours have been updated to include:

Rowntree's introduced After Eight Mints in 1963 and Matchmakers in 1969.


Terry's All Gold, like Rowntree's Black Magic, was a firm favourite since the 1930s. New for the 1960s was 'New World' which Terry's of York launched around 1964.


[1] 'The Female Consumer' by Rosemary Scott, published in 1976 by Associated Business Programmes Ltd, page 71

[2] 'Sophistication in the Sweet Shop' published in the Financial Times, 19 September 1962.

[3] 'Sweetening the consumer' published in the Times 19 September 1969.

By Steven Braggs, October 2023

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Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles

Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

★ Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles ★