Thursday, September 17, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday--Frederick Sterling Silver Opera Purse

When my Grandmother Stark aka Teek, Martha Marie Frederick Stark, died a small treasure of antiques and memorabilia came my way. Some were found in an old Joseph Horne's from Pittsburgh box....the box now would be an antique. Among the jewelry were several metal mesh purses and this sterling silver purse. For lack of a better name, I am calling it an opera purse.

It has the initial "F' on the front and inside is a place for each type of coin, a little mirror that opens and inside is a tiny powder puff. On the opposite side is a place for paper money. When I opened it up, the money clasp (which has the sterling silver mark) held a calling card for my grandmother.

I have no idea if this antique belonged to my great grandmother (Lucinda Orr Frederick) or my grandmother....both would have the initial "F". The question that begs to be asked here is--where did they go that they needed such a fancy purse?

Dating it, I would estimate anywhere from the 1890 to 1910. My grandmother married in 1914, so the ititial would have then become an "S". Regardless, it is a beautiful piece of my genealogical history and one that I treasure.


  1. Linda

    I inherited a similar one in gold from my great-grandmother. Hers was a bit different in that it had a white "slate" which may have been ivory upon which you could write with the little pencil - ideal for keeping track of your dance partners - as in "dance card."

    Also, several years ago I purchased a German silver one (which is basically nickel or chrome) which was more of a slim cigarette case for myself. I'm a non-smoker but I used it when I needed a very thin wallet usually when I wore my tuxedo.

  2. Linda this is so fabulous. I am in awe. It must have been an expensive piece to begin with but now truly a treasure. You need to find a photo of one of these ladies holding it for the provenance.

  3. That is the coolest little purse I have ever seen! What a treasure!

  4. What a wonderful treasure to find! It would be interesting to find out which of your ancestors owned that lovely purse.

    I really enjoy your pictures and posts! Keep up the great work!

    Tina :-)

  5. It would look lovely as part of a bridal trousseau as well.
    Evelyn in Montreal

  6. This is a dance purse. Ladies would allow their beaux to write their names on the dance card and clip it inside the purse. Mine belonged to my children's great grandmother, one of the Brombergs of Alabama. She was a contemporary of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. I really treasure this little purse as it evokes the times of Southern belle flappers and even Downton Abbey!