Antique Beaded & Knitted Miser's Purse. Circa 1st half of 19th century
  • This is a great 19th century beaded & knitted miser's purse.  It is one of the best examples of a miser's purse I've ever seen!  These long, skinny coin purses are currently called miser's purses because of the following: Each ends of the purse is wide enough to hold coins.  The ends are connected by a narrow waist with a slit into which the owner pushed a coin.  The coins were relegated to either side depending on their worth.  This way, the owner knew which end to go to without having to pull out all the coins.  The waist was held tight with a ring which slid from one side of the waist to the other.  The purse was worn over a belt.  The reason they are called miser's purses is because when the owner took a coin out, he had to squeeze his money up to the open mouth of the purse waist....so miserly that you had to squeeze money out of him!  I love the whole concept!  However, during the period, these purses were called as "long purses", "short purses" or "gentlemen's purses".  This wonderful purse is well made with baskets of flowers beaded on each side of the purse.  Each end is finished with a button-shaped ball of beading.  The body and waist is beautifully knitted in colors of red, green, white, brown and blue.  The beading colors include sand, red, green, blue, pink, and black.  It's just a lovely purse.  Stretched out, it measures 11 1/2" long x 2" at the widest.  It is in excellent condition!  I can't find one apology to tell you about.  Circa 1st half of the 19th century.  Probably from Turkey.

    (#4875)   $295

    Please see the Antiques and Vintage Purses page for more information.

    Also see, Camerlengo Laura L., The Ubiquitous Miser's Purse, MA Program in the History of the Decorative Arts and Design Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution; and Parsons The New School for Design 2010.