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

Exceptional mid-19th century hand-crocheted “miser’s purse” with overdyed thread and faceted, cut steel beads! These are quirky little homemade change purses that every lady’s magazine had instructions for in nearly every issue; there’s an opening in the center section that 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 you’ve put your higher value coins into! Two silvery metal rings slide to secure the openings.

It’s hand crocheted with fine cotton thread in a light golden brown, with a rose-pink overdyed thread used in the paisley motifs. 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 very shiny and free of rust. The colors and pattern are unusual and sophisticated, plus it’s the only miser’s purse I’ve seen worked with overdyed or variegated thread.

At 150+ years old, the condition is amazing, the only flaw I can find is one broken crochet stitch. The wonderful fringes are all intact. 15″ long including fringe, the squared-off pouch measures about 4-1/4″ long by 3″ wide (not including the fringe).