May 09, 2012

Needlework Tools in a Thrift Shop Auction

At The Care Closet thrift shop in Penticton, B.C., I saw the lid of an antique sewing box and three needlework tools, two needle holders and a pin cushion that clamps, on display for an auction this Friday. 

The tools are said to be made of ivory from the late 1800s which would mean the ivory predates trade restrictions.  The staff member who helped me said the man who brought the box into the shop told the staff that the woman he inherited it from travelled the world. 

I was told that what's on display is only a part; there are about a hundred pieces, including more needle holders, thread winders, and bobbins for bobbin lace. 

The needle holders are thin tubes.  You twist one end and it comes off, and the inside is hollow.  The connection is threaded like a screwtop lid on a bottle.  (You can buy modern ones of bone.) 

Anyway, I oohed and aahed when I saw them.  Sort of like running across a little treasure chest in an unexpected place or glimpsing a time when work was lavished on tools and needlework tools were a desirable ornament to life.

ETA: I subsequently heard that China is exporting new antiques, that is, items that appear to be antique but are in fact new.  As always, a disclaimer: this blog post is not in any way an authentication or endorsement of the items described.

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