Monday, June 27, 2022

Purse Collections Excavated from Storage

Last week I shared my summer 2022 collected home and all the furnishings I've placed since winter. In that post, I mentioned I would show you how I styled various curio cabinets in my 'girly' room with my vintage and antique purse collections.
Full disclosure: what I'm about to share with you is still only a portion of my collection of vintage and antique purses. 

But today, I'm excited to at least have these displays to share and show you. The gateleg table in the left frame of the collage below was a new, old love since moving into this cottage house. The DuBarry Beauty Preparations display case sitting on it was something I've had for years. I've also owned the French curio (middle frame) and purse 'tree' (right frame) for several years.
Let's look at what's inside the DuBarry Case first. There are three shelves with layers of handbags.
My bezel-set French rhinestone handbags ...
French-made sequin, beaded & enameled purses, as well as two of Whiting & Davis' Star Series (Silent film stars Renee Adore and Charlie Chaplin)...
On the bottom shelf are my first purchases of beaded 'rug' and beaded figural (after Francois Boucher's 1737 "Charms of Country Life"). The beaded figural handbag also has a matching compact and hand-painted snuff box with the same figural depiction.
Atop the beaded 'rug' and figural are my chatelaines. I did an entire post on these fascinating accessories, here.
The leather chatelaine was a recent acquisition in the past couple years, and it is actually on the mannequin in this room's reading corner with other early 20thC period clothing and accessories.
On the table beside the DuBarry case is a small display stand of mostly 'finger' - or dance - purses, as they were called in the 1920s-1930s. These were worn by Flapper women while they danced, often by the ring attachment at the end of the design of many. 
Here's a sampling of some of my finger and dance purses. They ranged in functionality from being an entire makeup compact to carrying just a coin, some even with built in clocks!
The French curio has a plethora of purses, vanity items, and other related antiquities relating to the [mostly] Flapper Flapper era.
Here is just a sampling of the many snuff boxes, vanity compacts, and unique leather purse fit for a small pistol (with the imprint still clearly visible) from this case.
On the wall where my girls' photos are hung, I have another curio that is mostly vintage and antique children's purses and vanity items.
Children's purses and vanity items are not easily found, as children would wear their items, so finding them, and in good condition, is always a treat. The collage below is just a sampling of mine, with recurring themes such as Clara Bow faces, Scottie and Airedale dogs, and children's classic stories and rhymes. Materials may be oil cloth, felt, vinyl, leather, plastic, silk and/or metal mesh.
In the corner near this curio is my purse 'tree'. This displays most of my vintage and antique mesh purse collection.
Again, here's just a sampling of those on the purse tree:
A couple other displays of French beaded and mesh bags are atop the French curio and to the left of the children's curio. I also have a shelf in my bookcase dedicated to reference books on purses and chatelaines.
As I said, what I'm sharing today doesn't even begin to touch my collection of beaded purses, some of which are true collectors' rarities, and book referenced pieces. Here's a sampling collage I created some time ago, a few of which are repeats in today's post and are not beaded.
I have many beaded purses that I need to figure out how to display that are either in individual Riker boxes (no affiliation, only linked for illustrative purposes), or individually wrapped in a storage box since downsizing. I think perhaps a wall shelf for lean-to displays might be a good thing for those in the Riker boxes. 

I've even had a mess of a World War I beaded purse I bought and had restored (top left in collage above). I did an entire post on that restoration, and to see the before and the history behind the purse, see this post. Here's a photo of the after: 
She's a beauty now, but was a complete mess before. I was able to - years later - win a hankie serendipitously at an auction, which now accompanies this purse. It's made of silk, and the note inside the original gift box reads: 
"To Mrs. W.B. Rullings 
Wishing you a Mery Xmas 
& Happy New Year. how is the 
electric lights. Ha. Ha. From a 
Soldier Friend Raymond Whitcomb
2nd Rgt Engn bat AEF" 
(AEF is an acronym standing for American Expeditionary Forces)
I have been a member of the Antique Purse Collectors Society since 2008, and consider it a privilege to be friends with many of the collectors featured and even authoring some of my reference books. I've inventoried my entire collection via photo albums and an Excel spreadsheet, but there's always room for improving my cataloging system. If you are interested in the other links to various posts I've written on my purses, the list below will conveniently take you to each of them.
Thank you for allowing me the guilty pleasure of visiting some of my old friends that have been in storage for so long. If you've stuck with me all this time, you are gracious readers, indeed. Leave me a comment, let me know if you have an obsession a collection like this or any other, such as dishes. Believe me, there's more from where this came. 😜

Rita C. at Panoply


  1. Downsizing you say. =) Oh my goodness, I am transfixed by the exquisiteness of your sublime purse collection, Rita. As I said in your last post I could sit in your girly room forever and delight in each purse. I think my favourites are the figural ones......and the Renee Adore and Charlie Chaplin purses. But then I suppose I would have a new favourite with each new day. The World War 1 purse is a a treasure! Just a little aside, gorgeous photo of the ballerina. I am supposing this is you?? Just beautiful! I am off to follow your links and ooh and aah some more!

  2. What an impressive array of purses, chatelaines and other goodies! I hope you can find a way to display them all in that room. Keep us up to date with this display!

  3. All I kept thinking when I was reading through and scrolling is, Man! the devil is in the details. and what detail! Each purse and the chatelaines? hours and hours, plus the collection itself. The story behind the purchase or the memory made with it, is what I am loving. You can just feel it!

  4. Rita, you have a fascinating collection. The beauty of each individual work of art on the purses is amazing. I agree with Christine the history and story behind each purse is what I love. You have displayed them beautifully and have lovely photos showing their detailed workmanship. I may have missed this piece of info, when did you start collecting and how many purses are in your collection? Thank you for sharing, Rita. I remember the first post I read about your collection. I am totally smitten by this ongoing collection!

  5. What an amazing collection, Rita, and so beautiful. Each item must have a wonderful story to tell about the maker and the individuals who owned these fabulous finds. I can imagine you have spent many absorbing hours learning about them. Thanks for sharing them today.

  6. Good Morning Rita!
    It was such a pleasure to view your amazing collections! I'm in awe of the beautiful details in each item. You have such a good eye for seeking out such lovely items. The i purse tree tells so many stories. Every item is amazing and my curiosity takes over wondering what "story" there is behind each item. Thanks so much for sharing your passion with us!

  7. What a beautiful collection. I love the history to all of these purses too.

    1. Rita you have a great collection. They are all so beautiful. Love when you know the history to these too. xoxo Kris @ junkchiccottage.

  8. Rita, Your girly room is adorable! Your collection is not only extensive but they are each a work of art! Baby J is going to love to look at all the pretties this room has to offer. She'll claim that cute rocking chair and it's contents for sure! Hopefully, you will find a solution for displaying your other goodies as they are all so lovely. Happy Monday! Clara❤️

  9. Amazing Rita, you have quite the collection. Your girly room is a lovely room to display your beautiful collections. Each purse is a treasure and a work of art. Difficult to have a favorite. Each one has it's own history. I am so happy you shared your precious purse collection with us.. Have a great week.

  10. Holy Handbag Rita! And this is only part of your collection?? What an amazing glance into history, the purses, bags and accessories are so unique, I can see how once you got 2-3 you were eager to find more treasures...fascinating! What a great idea to display them in so many different ways so you can enjoy them. Thank you for sharing!

  11. WOW! An amazing and beautiful and unique collection! I have a few, but nothing like yours. My few are mostly beaded purses, one old german silver and a couple unique ones. Planning to sell on ebay.

  12. Oh my word, Rita! What a collection of fabulous purses. My favorite was the red one with the face and also the beaded WW1 purse with the treasured note! Amazing! I also love how you gave them displayed. That gate leg table is such a beauty! Thanks for sharing a small part of your collection with us.

  13. These are simply fabulous, Rita, each and every one. So many capture my heart and imagination -- the Chaplin, the WWI, the glorious colors on so many of them. I love how you chose to display them with some vintage treasures from similar periods. You now get to actually SEE them and enjoy them! I'm impressed and delighted!

  14. Oh Rita, Your purse collection is exquisite!!! I want to scroll again and again and take in the beauty of each one. I can't imagine the excitement of finding each one. You are a fountain of knowledge about them also.
    I still mourn the loss of my aunts purse from the 20's. I had it and my daughter took it and displayed it in her apartment in college. I had no idea she would get rid of it at some point. I have to chalk it up to youth and her not realizing the value of it.
    The way you display your purses is also lovely. I am glad you have them out so you can enjoy them and share with others.

  15. Rita, what an impressive collection you have here and you say its only part of it? Wow! And knowing the histories behind them makes them even more special. You must have had so much fun collecting them and how great it is that they are out of storage. I love the girly room and its the perfect place to showcase these beauties! Enjoy and thanks for sharing!

  16. Rita, your purse collection is amazing and you are also. I love the way they are displayed and I know you must be thrilled to now have a space to display them. They were calling to you the entire time they were in storage and I know you smile every time you pass them. Something most special to hand over to Jacqueline one day.

  17. Rita, I love seeing your new home come together! I've been wondering when your purse collection would make an appearance. You have an exquisite collection. I especially love discovering handwritten notes and getting a peek into the past.

  18. I had seen one previous post about your purses, but am fascinated anew with the details and beauty of them. Your new home is lovely!

  19. Rita, your collection is amazing. What a fascinating genre to collect. I never realized there were so many different categories. I know you are thrilled to have a place to display these collections. This was a treat!

  20. Rita, I remember being in awe of your purse collection when you first posted about it. It still is so amazing, interesting and beautiful to me! I want a girly room! Thank you so much for sharing this again.

  21. Wow - that is quite a collection! It looks like a lovely antique shop display! It's nice that you can enjoy seeing your collection every day!

  22. Oh WOW Rita!!! I've own a total of two beautiful antique glittery bags, now only one after giving one away. I had no idea there are so many genres of bags. You have them so organized and labeled for displaying to us and I find your collection amazing. I love how you display them and I would love a tour through your "girly room," could stay in that room all day! I will be going back for more, I don't want to miss anything. I love these posts from you, so interesting.........

  23. Oh my gosh Rita what a gorgeous collection! I've gone through the post twice zooming in on images. It is impossible for me to pick a favorite!!! If you ever decide to sell any pieces please know that I would be very interested! :) Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend.

  24. Gorgeous collection Rita! I have a few that belonged to my grandmother, but I never knew how to display them. What a treat to see yours!

  25. Amazing collections!! I especially like the purse tree and I think my favorite bag is on that tree.....a landscape with pointed bottom! It must be enjoyable to be able to see this collection displayed!

  26. Rita-your purse collection is amazing and I am in awe. I love the story and history you have shared about each piece and each one is so unique and exquisite in every way. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post!

  27. Your "girly room" is an inviting oasis for anyone who enjoys vintage and antique items. Your antique purse collection is amazing! I like how artfully you've displayed the purses.

  28. WOW Rita! Your collection is fabulous! I felt like I was being given a tour in a famous museum:) Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. xo Kathleen

  29. Oh, what an amazing collection! They are so beautiful, and I can't stop looking at them. I'll be featuring your collection tomorrow at Thursday Favorite Things. :)

  30. Oops, I forgot to sign in to Googe, so my comment posted as Anonymous. Anyway, I'm glad to be featuring you!

  31. WOW, how gorgeous and amazing! This is a museum display! So wonderful that you now have a dedicated space for display and enjoying them. You should be able to gaze at their beauty and "play" with them whenever you can. I love seeing them all together. I had no idea your collection was this extensive! Happy week, Rita!

  32. Oh my word, I am in awe of your collection and could spend an entire day browsing and learning about their history. I'm impressed by how extensive your collection is and to learn you have even more!

  33. Wow, I love all of your purses. I keep blowing up the images to see better. Congratulations, you are being featured on Thursday Favorite Things. I hope you stop by.

  34. Amazing collection of purses so beautiful.

  35. Hi Rita, I'm back now that I'm able to leave my comment. :) I'm fascinated by your collection of purses! I've been scrolling up and down this morning taking them all in. I think my favorite has to be your WWI purse and what a find the hankie with note was! I think you could write your own book on collecting. Somehow I'm not surprised that you have an Excel spreadsheet detailing them. :) I had to chuckle at 'there's always room to improve your cataloguing system'! Stay cool in this heat ♥