In the 1850's era, you didn't go out and buy a box of matches. You'd have your personal matchbox, perhaps ivory, perhaps silver, or carved from wood, and you'd buy your matches (Vestas) and put them in your own box. Having a "silver" matchbox on the candlestick made a handy place to keep hide the 9V battery that powered the "candle".
The box is of thin card, cut and folded, covered with aluminum foil, matt side out.. The foil easily can be embossed with a blunt pencil to make a design of lines and dots. There's a tiny on/off switch protruding from the box, near where the bearer's finger is put through the brass loop.