Sunday, March 22, 2015

Crossover Collectible: Purse Ephemera

I surround myself in my office with my antique purses, one of my favorite personal collections that I've shared here on the blog in numerous posts. What you may not know is I also have a crossover collection related to my purses: purse ephemera. More specifically, I collect old photographs of women and children with purses from the past, mostly antique.
What is a crossover collectible? Well, first we need to define collectible and, according to what's written in the "Antiques Roadshow Collectibles: The Complete Guide to Collecting 20th Century Glassware, Costume Jewelry, Memorabilia, Toys and More From the Most-Watched Show on PBS", even the experts can't seem to agree on that.
To summarize the Antiques Roadshow's (AR) book's discussion in my own words, collectible is a catchall term for things between 25 and 100 years old that are not old enough to be called antique, but are compelling, available and [relatively] affordable. Experts agree that anything over 100 years old is an antique, and may or may not be a collectible. So, a crossover collectible is something that may be compelling to more than one type of collector. My purse ephemera collection may appeal to those who collect purses or old photos (and further by daguerreotypes, tintypes, real picture postcards or RPCC, etc., (using the general term photo for simplicity here).
The example in the AR book cites Willie Mays bobble head dolls - of interest to those who collect "dolls, baseball, or black memorabilia" - as a type of crossover collectible.
Purse ephemera could also include advertisements, which I do not actively collect (although I have a couple vintage magazines with a purse advertisement or two). My interest in collecting purse ephemera is blamed attributed to a fellow collector, Mary Nunn, who is also a member of the Antique Purse Collector's Society. She had one photograph, as seen above, that totally enamored me, and sparked my interest. The interesting thing about that one, however, is that it is not actually an original photograph. It is a digital reproduction, but I didn't care, I had to have it as part of my Native American collectibles! Wait, so I guess that's another crossover.....
So, as I would troll sites such as eBay, Etsy, and Ruby Lane looking for vintage and antique purses, I would come across an occasional photo of a woman or child with a purse. My purse ephemera collection was born. I have a fellow dealer friend who collects daguerreotypes that gifted me the three shown at the top portion of the collage below.
It got to be pretty exciting to find these photos of women, and especially children, with purses. Next time you're looking at old photos, pay attention - you'll see how rare it is to find those with purses! To find a photo of a purse I actually own an example of is even more exhilarating.
My friend, Mary, has such a wonderful collection of these old photos and advertisements, and mine pale in comparison. What's really fun, though, is when Mary posts one or more of her photos on Facebook, and we create captions for the women and children holding the purses.
If any history is available - whether written on the front or back of the photo, a noted studio pointing to location where the photo was taken, or finder's description of how a photo was sourced when selling - it only adds to the fascination of this quirky collection. To find these supporting details in the history of purses is part of the Antique Purse Collector's Society (APCS) ongoing mission - to gather and share information found.
Of course, as time marches on, more and more photos have become available, and it's much easier to continue documenting the history of purses. So, the next time you're posing in photos, you may want to include your purse as one means of dating the picture and capturing the history of the fashion style.
Finding these little collectible gems from the past is still a challenge. What makes this crossover collectible so appealing to me? Several reasons, including: 1) the rarity of finds increases the thrill of the hunt; 2) they're certainly less expensive than the actual vintage and antique purses; and 3) the excitement of the find satisfies, both the desire to have the item and the desire for the glimpse of history acquired.

If you are interested, here are a few other posts I've shared on my purse collection:
Chatelaines - Keys to the Castle (and a Collector's Heart!)

There's also a link on my sidebar of my online photo book I produced in Shutterfly. If you click on either that image or this title: "A Panoply of Purses", it will take you to the album on the Shutterfly website and allow viewing.  Once at the website, click on VIEW BOOK, then click FULL SCREEN for enlarged photos.

Do you have any of what's considered crossover collectibles? Is it a collection that stems from one of your mainstay collections?
Thanks for your visit!
Rita C. at Panoply

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