19th century crochet & steel cut beads “Miser’s Purse”


Exceptional mid-19th century hand-crocheted “miser’s purse” fringed with  faceted, cut steel beads. These were small homemade change purses that lady’s magazine had instructions for in nearly every issue; the opening in the center section allows you to access the pouch on each end. In this case, the pouches are different (many have identical pouches instead) so it’s easy to recall which one holds your higher value coins. Two silvery metal rings slide to secure the openings. Used by both men and women, theses purses were often worn draped over or wound around a belt.

It’s hand crocheted with fine silk thread in an unusual greige gray-brown tone. Steel cut beads are crocheted into the pattern; they are strung on the thread before crocheting, which requires careful planning and counting. The beads are shiny with a few scattered spots of light rust.

At 150+ years old, the condition is very good; the only flaws are one tiny knot in the crochet where a new thread was added, spots of wear to the finish of the rings from frequent use and small patches of lightly discolored beads. The wonderful fringes are all intact with only minor discoloration. 18″ long including fringe, the squared-off pouch measures about 3-3/4″ long by 2-1/2″ wide (not including the fringe).

1 in stock