Thanks, Aaron: Those prices are impressive! My cartridges are not quite as old as you thought. The edge of the boxes says, “Process of Lubricating Patented Sept 12, 1882.” The lubrication consists of something that might originally been a waxy coating on the bullets, but in the open boxes, you can see that the lubricant has mostly flaked off, leaving a gray power in the boxes.
By the way, I have a rifle that fires these. It is a Winchester model 1885 level action signal shot. The serial number is 35442, which oldguns.net says puts its date of manufacture in 1889. About 50 years ago, my dad and I fired a few of these cartridges in that gun, and every shot worked properly. I wonder if somewhere out there is a collector who is dying to find both a gun and bullets from that era in .32 rimfire.