Looking through the listings for antique purses, I always see many handbags that are not antique.
That is the case with the so-called "antique Victorian" or "1920s pillow purses" and the jewel studded metal purses. I have created this guide to help the buyer and the seller alike, learn more about these intriguing handbags. These rigid metal purses are usually made up of hammered copper, engraved brass, buffalo horn or silverplated metal. They are distinctly in a pillow shape and usually have long shoulder chains. They are lined in crushed or panne velvet and have crude filigree clasps. The studded metal purses, have glass or semi-precious jewel cabochons bezel set into the metal. Sometimes you will even find the little Made in India labels on the purses.
I remember seeing these being sold at some of the boutiques in the shopping malls during the 1980s,1990s and even now, as well as seeing them at the flea markets and import shops being sold by Indian vendors. These items have been manufactured in India for at least the last 30 years or so, however, some people try to pass them off as "antique Victorian era" or "opera" purses. I don't know if it is the doing of some unscrupulous dealers or if the sellers truly have no idea how old these purses really are.
I have collected, studied and dealt with antique Victorian up until the 1950s era purses and I can honestly say that there are no purses that look like this from that time period.
I have politely explained to some sellers in the past that their item really isn't Victorian or antique but rather a newer item made in India, some of the sellers fixed their listings, and some sellers gave me a scathing reply that their item was "really antique" or "the owner told me this belongd to his 96 year old grandmother". This is why I created this guide to help educate those who might not know for sure.
Brass & copper purse.
Inside of purse showing velvet interior.
Another silvertone purse.
I was looking online and found a distributor who sells these type of purses. They mention that the pieces are "Sand cast brass decorative items from craft workers in the town of Moradabad,India, hand finished, polished."
Ebay won't allow me to add the link to the guide, so google the above quote and you are bound to find it.
Jewel studded purse.
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