Circa 1920 knitted red silk miser’s purse with knotted center features looped steel bead fringe on the flaps and bottom edge of each side.
The purse is opened by raising either flap and tugging gently at the front of the pocket-shaped bottom, so that the connecting strings begin to pull through and create horizontal gaps (photo #6).
The Victorian-era miser’s purse enjoyed a revival after WWI; as one 1919 newspaper article reports, they were both fashionable—and expensive—that year, making knitting one’s own a wise course, especially since by varying the color of yarn and glass or steel beads chosen, “one [could] work out a number of delightful color schemes with these bags”. Another 1919 article explained that the bags had “two purses”, which (unlike the belt-slung earlier examples) were “slung over the arm”. Photo #8 shows a 1920 illustration in which a “knitted ‘miser’s purse’” is worn over the arm, and knitting books into the mid-1920s contained miser’s purse patterns.
Each little purse measures 3.25” x 1.75”, with an additional 1.5” of fringe; laid flat, the purse measures 16” end to end.
Near-excellent condition, with no stains, holes or bead loss. Only issue is a few exposed thread ends--2 in the bottom fringe of one purse and 1 at the top corner of the other.
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild
Vintage c.1920 Steel-beaded Red Silk Knit Miser’s Purse