Friday, August 21, 2009
Collectors Corner: Victorian Beaded Baskets
From time to time I am going to post about a favorite collectible that myself, Debbie or Kim are quite passionate about.
I am starting off with one of mine: late 19th c early 20th c beaded baskets and other miniature items. There is not much information out there about these items but they are indicative of the kind of handwork that was popular at the time. I have found some limited history suggesting that they may have been made by Native Americans as well as at schools for the blind. They are constructed of tiny glass seed beads strung on wire.
Besides baskets I have found them in other forms such as: cups, pitchers, chairs, tables, watch pockets and mats. The sizes range from a tiny chair that is 1 inch high to a fancy basket with dangling flowers all around that is 8 inches in diameter. Ornately beaded items have been around since medieval times and the French are well known for their intricate beaded flowers and Immortels---beaded wire wreaths placed on the graves in cemeteries. Instruction and patterns for these beaded items could be found in the ladies magazines of the day such as Godey's. They are an early pre-curser to the safetypin bead baskets popular in the 50's and 60's but are much more delicate and intricate.
I have paid anywhere from 99 cents to $50 for them and on one occasion I was in an Ebay bidding war for a tiny beaded chair that soared to $90! Fortunately I came to my senses and bowed out before the end of the auction and less then a month later I found a similar tiny chair in even better condition for 99 cents. It just goes to show that sometimes it's wise to be prudent when the collecting fever starts to take over!