1769 Quaker Men’s Pocketbook

Value (2004) | $6,000 Retail$8,000 Retail

GUEST:
It's a piece of my family history. My mother had showed it to me when I was growing up, and it wasn't out on the table to look at. It was always put away because it was so old. And about, oh, I don't know, 20, 25 years ago she gave it to me and I've done the same thing. I wrap it up and put it away in the closet.

APPRAISER:
Well, the neat thing about this is, and the thing that really caught my eye when you brought it over was... the first thing is, of course, the colors.

GUEST:
Yeah, it's bright.

APPRAISER:
It's a very brightly done, beautifully stitched piece. Bright reds, greens, yellows-- just a fabulous piece.

But of course the thing that really cinched it for me, the thing that made my day was when we opened it up. And the fabulous thing about this is it says, "Isaac Smith." It's a man's purse, okay? And then when we get to the date: May the 9th, 1769. I mean, this is fabulous. Just... what a survival. And you know a lot about his history, don't you?

GUEST:
Well, we have this genealogy that my aunt did years ago.

APPRAISER:
Now, when was he born?

GUEST:
He was born in 1744.

APPRAISER:
In...?

GUEST:
In Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

APPRAISER:
And so when this was made, he was about 25.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
These letters were in this when you got this?

GUEST:
Yes, yes, it was.

APPRAISER:
And when I looked at the letters it was very obvious, something about the family history. And the easy marker was it said "thee" and "thou," and they were, of course...

GUEST:
Quakers.

APPRAISER:
Quakers. Now, if we think of Quakers today, we don't think of people carrying around pink pocketbooks, do we?

GUEST:
Well, I don't think that's a pocketbook. It's supposed to be a letter holder, I think.

APPRAISER:
Oh, no, it's a pocketbook.

GUEST:
Is it a pocketbook?

APPRAISER:
He would carry notes, he'd carry bills, he'd carry anything that was valuable to him, but we don't think of Quakers as having colorful things. Our sense of the Quakers being modest in their dress is true, but that didn't mean they didn't appreciate color, didn't think that something colorful was wonderful to have. These pocketbooks survive. This is not the first that I've ever seen. A number of years ago on the ROADSHOW we had a very nice one as well. It was slightly later. So they're not unknown, but to find one in this condition, and you can look inside. The color's just fabulous, it's very strong, hadn't been lost. With the great family history, all these things just make it a superb object. Well, I can tell you that if I had this in my shop or at a show, I would be asking, without question, at least $6,000 to $8,000.

GUEST:
Ooh.

APPRAISER:
You know, I think it's a fabulous piece of Americana.

GUEST:
That's nice.

APPRAISER:
And with any luck, it'll last another 200 years, right?

GUEST:
If the children take care of it.

APPRAISER:
If the children take care of it.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
J. M. Flanigan American Antiques
Baltimore, MD
Appraised value (2004)
$6,000 Retail$8,000 Retail
Event
Omaha, NE (July 10, 2004)
Period
18th Century
Material
Cloth

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