Vintage Beaded Purse, ca. 1920

Value (2005) | $2,000 Retail
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GUEST:
This is a bead bag purse that I bought on a trip to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on a little antique outing. I didn't know much about it, but I just fell in love with it. And I paid $175 for it probably about ten years ago.

APPRAISER:
What attracted you to it?

GUEST:
I love anything done handwork and textiles and I have admired bead bag purses. I've never actually bought one, but I think the size and the weight of this purse, um, it's just a showstopper, I think. And that's what made me take it home, I guess.

APPRAISER:
Do you use it as a purse?

GUEST:
I actually bought it that I thought that I would use it, and only on one occasion have I actually used it because I'm a little afraid of it losing beads.

APPRAISER:
I think it's strong enough to use. Most beaded bags from this era, which is about 1915 through 1925, are about half the size of this purse, and what is amazing about it, beyond the size, is the condition. It's a floral pattern, and we've got several colors of glass beads, and there's approximately 150 beads to square inch. It's the same pattern on both sides. We have a bow over here. It's a bow that faces out this way, so you've got gold beads, you've got crystal beads coming down the tendril, you have black opaque beads, wonderful rose-colored beads that make rose flowers, and at the bottom of this purse, we change to a different type of bead, which is a metal bead. These are metal faceted beads, and it's a pattern that echoes more of a geometric design. You also have different cut beads here. These are smooth rolled beads in this area here, and they're rounded and smaller. And then these black beads, which extend up in this area and all around here, are cut and faceted. So it gives the purse a very interesting texture. I figure this weighs almost six pounds, maybe more. It also has handles embroidered with beads on both sides.

GUEST:
Yes, I noticed.

APPRAISER:
And they're very very, very good condition. Where do you think this purse was made?

GUEST:
Um, this is just a guess, but I thought possibly France because it's so beautifully done.

APPRAISER:
I think you're right.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
I think it's made from French... Not only because the design is so exquisite, but when women in America made purses-- and this was a cottage industry, they would make them in their home-- they would put, in a single quadrant of the purse, a white bead. And there is no white bead on this purse, so it's not a signature American piece. I want to show the lining here. It's in excellent condition. It's a cotton sateen lining. It's got a very nice Art Deco, '20s-'30s pattern. The hardware is not sterling. It's stamped steel. It's very, very strong hardware. It doesn't have a chain, but it does have a sliding locking mechanism right here. And it attaches here so it locks. It also has the original mirror. And I think this is the original lining. I looked at it. It seemed to be hand sewn. Now, looking at all of these elements-- the size, the weight, the design, the fact that it is from France-- I would say, on today's market, a purse of this exceptional quality would bring around $2,000.

GUEST:
Oh, that's wonderful. That's wonderful

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Rhinestone Rosie
Seattle, WA
Appraised value (2005)
$2,000 Retail
Event
Bismarck, ND (July 30, 2005)
Form
Purse
Material
Beads

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