Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

January 9, 2010

Antique Beaded Purses

Back when we lived in Marin County, in the mid to late 90's, one of our Christmas traditions was to stroll along San Anselmo Ave. in quaint downtown San Anselmo, and take in the beautiful antique store Victorian-era inspired displays on Christmas Eve. One year I was transfixed by a gorgeous parlor scene with all antique, 19th century furniture and Christmas decorations. Laying on a table was an exquisite grey beaded purse with a colourful bloom of flowers. I was transfixed. I became obsessed. It's all I could think about all night and all the next day. I had to work on the 26th but Brian's company was closed that week, so he had instructions to wait by the store door and as soon as they open, to buy the purse. Unfortunately they were also closed that day. On the 27th, I had Brian pick me up at the bus stop in San Rafael and drive me over after work. The bag was still there, and thus became the beginning of an obsession that I can't seem to break, even though I can't display my most of my collection due to their fragile state, dust and pet dander that coats the entire house. I've noted the place purchased and approximate year they were acquired.


  1. jojo they are absolutely beautiful - i'd have been using them for functions - it would be a crime not to

  2. I've thought of it Ann, but many of them are just way too fragile. And w/ my luck, I'd probably forget to bring it home or leave it somewhere! Some of the purses even have their original snap-closure change purse and tiny mirror too.

    I wish I could display them somehow; I used to have them out on the speakers & stereo tables, but the pet dander & dust accelerated their fragile condition so I have most of them stored in an acid-free box now. :(

  3. Displaying fragile items is a problem. My fan collection is folded away in a drawer.

    I oftne see beaded bags, especially at the Art Deco fairs I go to, but I've never taken much notice of the prices. I'll look out at the next one, which is in May.

  4. Val, I nearly bought one at an antique show for $800. I wanted it sooooooo bad but all I had was $150 on me. The vendor offered to do a payment plan, set up via credit card w/ drawal over several months but I made myself walk away. lol It was a beautiful and extremely unique bag from Holland. The silver work on the top frame was amazing. The persian carpet looking bag was over $300. I usually spend up to $150.

  5. What a beautiful hobby. And a lovely collection--so far.

  6. Anonymous2:03 PM

    I envy the 'artistic' ones among us.

  7. Hi JoJo - Are you ok? It's just your blog disappeared for a few days and I was a bit concerned.

    Yours fussing,

    The Rabbit