Mottenkiste is a German compound word with very particular connotations. The direct translation would be "moth box." The usage of Mottenkiste in everyday language is however typically confined to an idiom, "etwas aus der Mottenkiste holen," which according to dict.cc translates as "to dig something out." Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where the translation removes most of the flavor from the phrase in the original language.

"Mottenkiste" conjures up the image of an old box that has been left in the basement (or the attic), untouched for many years, or even decades. You won't necessarily find moths in there, but at least a few bugs and spiders. Whatever you dig out of this box will be old, dusty, and almost certainly of little more than anecdotal value. "Digging something out of the Mottenkiste" simply says that much more about the respective object than just "digging it out." Let me know if you can think of a better way to express this connotation in English.

Edit: lizardinlaw suggested the phrase "to bring something out of mothballs" which has a much more similar flavor.

Example of use, from a conversation about music I had ages ago:

Me: And every few years Bob Dylan releases some stuff he recorded during the Cold War and the critics freak out about it.
She: Why, is he that highly regarded? How high?
Me: For music critics, Bob Dylan is like the combination of Jesus with the Beatle of their preference.
She: Uh, I see. It's like, Bob Dylan has dug through his Mottenkiste and for them it's "album of the year."

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