Vintage Beaded Purse, ca. 1920

Value (2005) | $2,000 Retail

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.

What attracted you to it?

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.

Do you use it as a purse?

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.

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.

Yes, I noticed.

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

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

I think you're right.


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.

Oh, that's wonderful. That's wonderful

Appraisal Details

Rhinestone Rosie
Seattle, WA
Appraised value (2005)
$2,000 Retail
Bismarck, ND (July 30, 2005)

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.