Sunday, December 13, 2009

Russian Niello Thimbles

There seems to be a lot of Russian niello thimbles on eBay and elsewhere lately, generally coming out of Yerevan, Armenia. Some of them have an all-over niello design while some are predominantly bas-relief or filigree with niello accents. I haven't handled one yet but the online photos are all fairly detailed and they seem to be genuine. I have seen one advertisement for a "Russian" thimble, also out of Yerevan, that looked more Iranian to me, but in that particular instance there would not have been a difference in the thimble's value.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Piercy's Patent

This Piercy's Patent thimble was recently (Nov 27th through Dec 7th) put up for auction by one of my favorite eBay sellers, Elegant Arts Antiques. The thimble has a sterling silver top with a tortoiseshell body decorated with a yellow gold floral design and cartouche and rose gold rim. I don't really care for the Piercy's Patent thimble one usually sees, which has sort of a slanted shield on its face, but I do rather like this design. It is still too expensive for me, though. The starting bid on the auction was US$50.00, with the ending price at US$1,176.79, which still did not meet the reserve price. It will be interesting to see what it will eventually sell for.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Cartier gold thimble from Simons Bros.

14K gold thimble from Simons Bros., size 9, marked Cartier, with crocheted hat thimble cozy.
US$70.99; 2 bids, starting at US$69.00.
29 Nov 2009.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Recipe: White Chocolate Chunk Thimble Cookies

White Chocolate Chunk Thimble Cookies
2 c. sugar
1 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tbsp. grated lemon zest
3¼ c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
2 c. Nob Hill Trading Co. White Chocolate Chunks
1 c. raspberry jam

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Cream together sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat in eggs and lemon zest.
  • Add flour, salt and baking soda, stirring until just combined.
  • Stir in white chocolate chunks.
  • Place heaping tablespoon-size balls on ungreased baking sheets; bake 10 minutes or until slightly soft in the center.
  • Remove from oven and make a thumb-size indentation in the center of each cookie; fill with about 1 tsp. jam.
  • Bake 5 minutes more or until cookies are lightly browned around edges.
  • Let cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

Nutrition per cookie: 230 calories, 2 g protein, 10 g fat (6 g sat., 0 g trans), 34 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 30 mg cholesterol, 130 mg sodium, 4 points.
Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 15 minutes
Yield: about 36 cookies.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Silver Thimble

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge


She had lost her silver thimble, and her complaint being accidentally overheard by him, her friend, he immediately sent her four others to take her choice of.

As oft mine eye with careless glance
Has gallop'd through some old romance,
Of speaking birds and steeds with wings,
Giants and dwarfs, and fiends and kings ;
Beyond the rest with more attentive care
I've loved to read of elfin-favoured fair
How if she long'd for aught beneath the sky
And suffer'd to escape one votive sigh,
Wafted along on viewless pinions aery
It laid itself obsequious at her feet:
Such things, I thought, one might not hope to meet
Save in the dear delicious land of Faery !
But now (by proof I know it well)
There's still some peril in free wishing——
Politeness is a licensed spell,
And you, dear sir ! the arch-magician.

You much perplex'd me by the various set:
They were indeed an elegant quartette !
My mind went to and fro, and wavered long ;
At length I've chosen (Samuel thinks me wrong)
That, around whose azure rim
Silver figures seem to swim,
Like fleece-white clouds, that on the skyey blue,
Waked by no breeze, the selfsame shapes retain ;
Or ocean-nymphs with limbs of snowy hue
Slow-floating o'er the calm cerulean plain.

Just such a one, mon cher ami,
(The finger shield of industry)
Th' inventive gods, I deem, to Pallas gave
What time the vain Arachne, madly brave,
Challenged the blue-eyed virgin of the sky
A duel in embroidered work to try.
And hence the thimbled finger of grave Pallas
To th' erring needle's point was more than callous.
But ah the poor Arachne ! She unarmed
Blundering through hasty eagerness, alarmed
With all a rival's hopes, a mortal's fears,
Still miss'd the stitch, and stain'd the web with tears.
Unnumber'd punctures small yet sore
Full fretfully the maiden bore,
Till she her lily finger found
Crimson'd with many a tiny wound ;
And to her eyes, suffused with watery woe,
Her flowei-embroider'd web danced dim, I wist,
Like blossom'd shrubs in a quick-moving mist:
Till vanquish'd the despairing maid sunk low.

O bard! whom sure no common muse inspires,
1 heard your verse that glows with vestal firas !
And I from unwatch'd needle's erring point
Had surely suffer'd on each finger joint
Those wounds, which erst did poor Arachne meet;
While he, the much-loved object of my choice
(My bosom thrilling with enthusiast heat),
Pour'd on mine ear with deep impressive voice,
How the great Prophet of the desert stood
And preach'd of penitence by Jordan's flood;
On war; or else the legendary lays
In simplest measures hymned to Alla's praise ;
Or what the bard from his heart's inmost stores
O'er his friend's grave in loftier numbers pours:
Yes, bard polite ! you but obey'd the laws
Of justice, when the thimble you had sent;
What wounds your thought-bewildering muse might
cause Tis well your finger-shielding gifts prevent.

[From: The poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.]

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Recipe: Thimbleberry Jam

Thimbleberry Jam
2 c. thimbleberries
2 c. sugar
3 half-pint jars with lids, sterilized.
  • In a heavy saucepan, bring berries & sugar to a boil over medium heat.
  • Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Pour into jars and seal.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

At auction at Bonhams

Sale 16887
Bonhams, London, Knightbridge
2 Dec 2009

Lot 43: A 19th century gold thimble, unmarked, retailed by Shearo, Oxford, decorated with a strap and buckle motif, cased, length 2.4cm, diameter 1.6cm, weight 5.4gms.

Estimate: £200 - 250 (about US$334-418).
Update: Sold for £216 (about US$360) inclusive of Buyer's Premium.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Thimble Facts or Fiction?

The Atchison (KS) Daily Globe,
31 May 1889; Issue 4,583; col G.

One hears of this Queen of Siam thimble, but one never sees the darned thing. Hmm. . .
The other thimbles referenced I have not heard of before. Which means nothing.
That thimbles had been unknown in England two hundred years before the article was published (1889) is wrong. Shakespeare (1564-1616) mentioned them.
The Washington Elm legend has been debunked, though a thimble from the tree might have existed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Dentists' Enemy!

The Frankfort (KY) Roundabout,
11 March 1899, page 3.
Please click on image to enlarge.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mrs. Smith gets around...

New-York Daily Tribune, 2 January 1910, page 2.
(Click on picture to enlarge.)

Text of accompanying article:
Unique Examples Collected in Many Countries.
Even the women who do not like to sew and men who do not have to, would surely be Interested in examining the collection of thimbles owned by Mrs. J. H. Smith, of Ann Arbor, Mich. From all parts of the world they come, these thimbles, some from far countries like Egypt. Japan and Ceylon, some from shops right here in New York.
Perhaps the prize of the lot is an exquisite thimble of gunmetal with a heavy border of colored gold, bearing the motto, "There is none great but Allah." This was made In Toledo, Spain, though the owner picked it up in France. Some of the prettiest ones, showing by their smallness that they were designed for slender fingers, are the five or six made in France. From Orleans comes one showing the "lily of France" and other symbolic designs. Chartres furnishes a plain silver thimble with a gold border, and a quaint tortoise shell finger shield is a memento of Bourges. A heavy metal thimble with a deep scalloped border was purchased at Nimes. From Mentone, in Southern France, come two— one of them a tiny thing, used, no doubt, by some French child In making her doll's clothes. The French gilt thimble with turquoise setting is manifestly of Venetian workmanship. From Bellagio come two—a massive round-topped one of olive wood and a fragile bit of tortoise shell.
Probably the most ancient specimen in the collection is a bronze thumb ring, meant for use In sewing, which was taken from an old Etruscan tomb near Perugia, Italy. Very characteristic of Naples is a little gilt trifle set with corals, and equally eloquent of Athens Is one with a colored Grecian border. Not pretty, but very interesting, is a big, rough thimble such as Sicilian women use.
The grandmother of the collection is a handsome thimble with a carved flower design. It isn't as old as the thumb ring taken from the Etruscan tomb, but Mrs. Smith purchased it in a little shop in Granada long before she thought of collecting thimbles, and has kept it ever since.
A heavy affair of gold and silver was purchased in Cairo, Egypt. Florence is represented by an odd red agate thimble, and Rome by one bearing a view of St. Peter's in colored enamel. A plain little silver thimble is a souvenir of Mrs. Smith's stay In San Marino, the smallest republic in the world. Perhaps the queerest looking specimen of all is the one Mrs. Smith bought right off the finger of an old peasant woman in Ravenna, Italy.
Then there is a big silver thimble from Gibraltar: a much more artistic silver one from the island of Malta, set with a garland of flowers in gold and a jade ornament at the top. From Colombo, Ceylon, she brought a native thimble, a queer, square looking affair. Then there is a trophy from Singapore, an odd little white bone thimble from Manila, and one of ivory from Hong Kong.
The only thing Mrs. Smith could find in Japan that would fit into a thimble collection was a thumb ring with deep perforations. Heidelberg is represented by a tiny thimble nestling in a little stein; Holland by a beautiful specimen of silver showing a Dutch scene in Delft blue; Innsbruch and Munich by two thimbles bearing the coats-of-arms of those cities, and Interlaken by the most artistic one adorned with green stones.
There are American thimbles in the collection, too, among them being an old one from Salem, with three witches engraved on it.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Prince William's girlfriend Kate joins the thimble set.

From: The (London) Daily Telegraph
The face of Prince William's girlfriend, Kate Middleton, has been chosen to feature on a set of china thimbles.
Designers at Birchcroft China are so convinced that Miss Middleton will become a permanent addition to the royal household they are producing the ornaments.
Miss Middleton, 26, has been the subject of constant speculation that she will marry Prince William, with bookmakers continually offering low odds on a future marriage.
Woolworths offered a range of souvenirs in 2006 to mark the couple's expected engagement but when no date was forthcoming the company had to drop them. The thimbles cost pounds 4.40 a set and three show Miss Middleton wearing a hat.
In May, Peter Jones produced the first piece of royal memorabilia bearing Miss Middleton's image - a mug to celebrate the Prince's passing out from RAF Cranwell.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Another free thimble I missed. . .

Los Angeles Daily Times,
17 June 1885; Issue 160; col E.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

A thimble for humility, again.

Please click on image to enlarge.

I have, sadly, lost the reference to where I got this article. I had mentioned this Lord Weatherill in an earlier posting, his having just passed away at the time.

Friday, July 31, 2009

From: American notes and queries

From: Walsh, William Shepard, American notes and queries, vol. 5 (W.S. and H.C. Walsh, 1890), p. 14:
(vol. IV, p. 233.)
Some months ago there was a brief discussion in Notes and Queries (English) about the invention of the thimble, based upon an item similar to that printed in these columns. Mr. Skeat objected to the popular derivation from thumb-bell, because it is not consistent with the early spelling of the word. There was, he said, an Anglo-Saxon thymel, a Middle English thimbil, and the spelling thymbyl occurs in 1440. By other contributors the fact that thimbles were made at Islington by the Loftings, in 1695, was confirmed, and, on the whole, there seemed to be little dissent to the received opinion that this was the date of the introduction of thimbles into general use in England, though not of their invention.
It seems to me that this can be disproved. It chanced, not long ago, that I looked through some plays dated before the middle of the seventeenth century, with the special purpose of learning what light they threw upon the customs of that time, and among my notes, I find allusions to thimbles implying a common use of this implement in England long before 1695. Other readers may perhaps be able to adduce other and earlier instances in point.
Before giving these, it may be said that Prof. Skeat's reference to the year 1440 probably pertains to the "Promptorium Parvulorum," the English and Latin dictionary compiled at that date by a Dominican of Lynne, where the word is found with the synonym, theca; but it also occurs in a bit of ancient popular poetry of unknown authorship, thought by some to be of still earlier date, " The Debate of the Carpenter's Tools," to be found in Hazlitt's " Early Popular Poetry," Vol. i :

" Seyd the wymbylle [,'. e., gimlet]
I ame als round as a thymbvíl " (p. 80).

The comparison implies a familiar thing, but the "thymbyll " may not have been like those of our inquiry.
Shakespeare's references to thimbles are familiar. Although in "The Taming of the Shrew," when Petruchio calls the tailor, "Thou Thimble !" and Grumio would face him down " though [his] little finger be armed in a thimble," it is a man's implement that is in question, and apparently not worn like our own, yet in "King John," v, 2, it is ladies who, in the war-like time,

"Their thimbles into gaunt'lets change, Their needles to lances."
Sir William D'Avenant's "The Wits" was first played in 1634, and printed two years later. I quote from an edition with modernized spelling. Pert, a soldier employed in the Low Countries, but now in England, says (Act i, Sc. 1) in reply to the question of a companion, that it is

"Not a brass thimble to me, but honour!"
whether a Spanish Don or a Dutch " fritter-seller of Bombell " conquers in that contest.
Brass thimbles, then, were sufficiently common to be of small value in Pert's estimation, much like a "brass farthing," or a "Sou Marqué" (see Vol. iv, p. 247) nowadays. If any one argues that this is the speech of a soldier who had been much out of England and had caught up the saying elsewhere, there is not lacking better proof for our case.
In the same play, Mrs. Snore is a constable's wife, a coarse woman who distinctly belongs to "the million," and in railing against her neighbor, an equally unrefined woman eager after gain, she declares:

" She took my silver thimble To pawn when I w¡is a maid ; I paid her A penny a month use."
(Act iii, Sc. i.)
"Good News from Plymouth," by the same author, was licensed for acting in 1635, although not printed until 1673.
In this play, a spendthrift's silver seal, engraved with " the lover's scutcheon, a bleeding heart," is missing from his wrist, where the fashion of the day kept seals dangling, and a bantering companion avers that it has

" Gone long since to adorn
His mistress' court cupboard ; [and] on a cloth
Of network, edged with a ten-penny lace,
Stands now between her thimble and her bodkin,
Objects of state, believ't, and ornament."
(Act. i, Sc. I.)

These thimbles must have been to all intents like those of to-day; they were made of brass and of silver, were for women's use, and while they had a considerable money value, judging from the pawn-broker's rate, and were set forth for display as we should place a cherished piece of china, yet they were.owned by the common classes, and could certainly not have been very rare. This was sixty years before Lofting made thimbles at Islington.
Several silver bodkins, like the one with which the thimble shared the honors of the "court cupboard," are in existence; tome have even recently been found, and whether any early thimbles of known date are still preserved would be an interesting inquiry.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

From: The Friend

From: The Friend, published by The Friend, 1904. vol. 77. p. 182:

How Thimbles Are Made.—A silver thimble is a very small thing, but it takes more than twenty men, besides a good deal of costly machinery, to make one. In the first place, the silver, which comes to the factory in bars, is passed through great steel rollers, which rolls it into sheets so thin that it would take twenty of them to make an inch high. The sheets are cut into strips about two inches wide, that look like silver ribbons, and out of them another machine punches round pieces, about as large as a silver half dollar. These round pieces, or blanks, as they are called, are next fed one by one to a machine which turns up the edge all around to make the rim, and are then put into a press, where a steel die comes down with a smash, and gives the thimble its proper form all at once. It is now of the right shape, but it is smooth, and has no dents in its top. To make these, the thimble is put into a lathe, and while it is whirling round, a workman, who sits in front of the lathe with a tool shaped like a hammer, puts a dent in the middle of the top, then a ring of dents round it, then another ring, and so on until all the dents are in. The thimble is then polished, has a number marked on it, and has the border of leaves or figures, usually seen on thimbles, engraved or stamped round its base.

Gold thimbles are made of steel, and have only a thin coating of gold on them. They are made in much the same way, as are also brass and steel thimbles;but brass and steel thimbles are sometimes made without any tops. Thimbles are also made out of hard India rubber, and sometimes even out of ivory and china, Thimbles have been in use only about two hundred years. It is not known who first made them, though some think they came from Holland.— Selected.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thank Heaven for industrious dames. . .

Boston Investigator, 10 Dec 1873;
pg. 3; Issue 33; col E.

Monday, June 15, 2009

An Armour-Plated Thimble

Cassell's Family Magazine
Cassell & Company, Limited. 1886.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

They laughed when I bought thimbles instead of real estate.

Antique Sterling Filigree Tape Measure, Thimble, and Perfume Bottle.
English, ca. 1790-1800; excellent condition.
US$946.00; 18 bids, starting at US$56.88.
1 June 2009.
From Elegant Arts Antiques.

Antique French Sterling Silver Fable Thimble
"Three Birds on a Branch" design, ca. 1900, "thought to be the work of designer Firmin-Pierre Lasserre." Mint Condition.
US$363.89; 19 bids, starting at US$9.00.
1 June 2009.
Another item from Elegant Arts Antiques

Silver Souvenir Thimble of the Steamship President Lincoln.
Most likely German, ca. 1901-1917. Damaged enamelling, glass cap.
US$223.50; 12 bids, starting at US$25.00.
8 June 2009.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Silver Souvenirs on eBay

Sterling Silver Ketcham & McDougall Florida Souvenir Thimble
Size 8, in round, no holes.
US$367.79; 13 bids, starting at US$13.00.
19 May 2009

Sterling Silver Ketcham & McDougall Adirondack Mts. Souvenir Thimble
US$611.01; 12 bids, starting at $25.00.
7 May 2009

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Nameless Breakfast Food?

Advertisement for Liberty Pure Food Co.
Good Housekeeping Magazine
December 1901

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Employments of Women

From: Penny, Virginia, The Employments of Women: A Cyclopaedia of Woman's Work, (Boston : Walker, Wise and Co. 1863) p. 236:

238. Thimbles. P. was kind enough to make an entire silver thimble, that I might see the process. The whole of the work could bo done by women, but no women in any country are employed at it, so far as he knows. I was told by one or two other thimble makers, that no women are ever employed in that branch of business. It is usual for a boy to serve an apprenticeship of four years. While doing some parts of the labor the workers sit, and while doing other parts they stand. The polishing is done on a lathe, and there is not enough of it to furnish work for a separate person, except in very large establishments, and even then it is so connected with the other processes that it could not be well divided. There are not so many thimbles sold now as formerly, because of the sewing machines that are used. There are not more than from eight to twelve thimble makers in the United States. There are none South or West of Philadelphia.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thimble Tart

No. "Thimble Tart" is not my new nom de blog.
I found this recipe for Thimble Tarts on a newly-found, scrumptious blog called Cherry on a Cake. The photo on the site is even more mouth-watering. Yummy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Thimble for Mother Lindbergh

In an appendix to the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Spirit of St. Louis, by Charles A. Lindbergh, it mentions that one of the gifts bestowed upon Lindbergh after his famous flight was a "Gold thimble, set with diamonds, for Col. Lindbergh's mother, from the children of Patchogue (New York)."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Place for Chrome®

At last. has its own souvenir thimble. Pewter. $5.99, plus S/H.

What is Well, the website references itself as both "The World's Largest Truckstop," and "The Place for Chrome®." Also: "the premiere provider of trucking accessories for professional drivers." Sounds good to me. It has all kinds of stuff for trucks. My favorite, besides the thimble of course, is an angry rubber duck hood ornament, shown below. There are several other hood ornaments, including a flying rooster and an illuminated winged pig, but none of them can hold a candle to the angry rubber duck. It is available in silvertone, goldtone, and black (sleek!) chrome ($179.99, $225.99, and $199.99, respectively).

As seen in the movie Convoy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Stitch in Time Costs Nine.

Sterling silver and blue enamel Stitch in Time Saves Nine thimble from Ketcham & McDougall; size 7, in round, no holes.
US $917.79; 23 bids, starting at $10.49.
19 May 2009.

The seller in this case does not usually sell thimbles. I often wonder what eBay sellers who aren't familiar with crazed, voracious thimble collectors must think when they see their auction prices fly out of the park as this one's did. This seller's other auctions have all been for jewelry--Tiffany, David Yurman, et al.--and haven't approached half of what this one little thimble went for.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thimble Alphabet Soup on eBay

Sterling DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) thimble from Simons Bros.; size 13, slight wear, in round, no holes.
US$91.51; 11 bids, starting at US$25.00.
3 May 2009.

Sterling FHA (Future Homemakers of America) thimble from Simons Bros.; in round, no holes.
US$43.99; 7 bids, starting at US$12.65.
3 May 2009.

The auction listing has FHA listed as Future Homeowners of America. I don't know that the error affected the price in any way. This was offered by one of my favorite eBay thimble sellers, Smirk6.

Sterling EGA (Embroiderers Guild of America) thimble from Simons Bros.; size 11, in round, no holes.
US $100.01; 8 bids, starting at US$10.49.
30 April 2009.

The seller had initially listed this as from the 1890s but later appended a note that he'd been informed that is was more recent and from the EGA. He noted that if the (then) sole bidder no longer wanted it (as it wasn't the advertised 1890s vintage) for the bid of $9.99, that bidder could simply not pay for it at the end of the auction and he would completely understand. Of course, this particular thimble is desirable not because of its age (or lack thereof), but because it's pretty hard for collectors to find. The EGA no longer sells this thimble, and only allowed its members to purchase it when it was selling it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

At auction at Bonhams

Sale 16798
Bonhams, London, Knightbridge
3 June 2009

Lot 102: A Victorian gilt bronze, hardstone necessaire, by Schäfer of Piccadilly, the silver gilt fitments by H W Dee, London 1871, the rectangular agate cover with gilt bronze hinge mount engraved with stiff leaves opens to reveal a grey velvet lined tray fitted with gilt metal and silver gilt sewing instruments engraved with paterae and foliage including: a pen knife, two bodkins, a thread pick, a thread holder, thimble, scissors, a patented spring loaded tape measure, a stiletto and a needlecase, the gilt bronze base with bombé sides engraved with matching paterae decoration, on four bun feet, height 4.8cm, length 19.3cm.
Estimate: £500-800 (about US$765-1220).

Update: Sold for £1440 (about US$2371) inclusive of Buyer's Premium.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Vintage thimble from Uruguay

This is another of my favorite thimbles.
I have no idea what "vintage" means here. It was sold to me as such, but it depends on how one defines the word. I've seen sellers refer to new, unremarkable thimbles as vintage treasures (see rant). I don't really know enough about South American thimbles to even guess about its age. I do think it's quite beautiful--the picture doesn't do it justice--and love it regardless of its age. (Oh! to be a vintage thimble from Uruguay!)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Fierce bidding for wedding thimble!

Bridezillas on a rampage?
OK, maybe not fierce bidding, but a lot of last minute bidding for this delicious wedding thimble up for auction from one of my favorite eBay vendors, Trollacht. This thimble supposedly [update: see comment or The 'Wedding' thimble. Thank You! ]would have been given as a token of romantic affectionwith its decorative band still attached, with the intention that the band would eventually be detached to become the recipient's wedding band.
Anyway, the opening bid for this thimble was US$9.00 at 4:34 pm on April 23rd. From there the bids crept up to about US$30.00 by May 1st. There it lolled around until early May 3rd when it popped up to the mid-$40ish range. At this point the actual high bid was US$65.03, but since the "high" bid on eBay is really the second highest bid plus a fixed amount--here probably a dollar--the on-screen high bid was, again, mid-$40ish. The auction was due to end May 3, 2009 12:25:00 PDT. At 12:19:01, six minutes before the auction's end, a bidder bid US$61.76, which meant that the on-screen high bid was listed at US$62.76 until 12:24:45 PDT, 15 seconds before auction's end, the bids shot up:
  • 12:24:45 - US $95.58
  • 12:24:50 - US $181.00
  • 12:24:53 - US $183.50, winning bid (actual bid surely higher), posted 7 seconds before close of auction
I don't know if the winning bidder used some kind of auction sniper, which places one's bid at the last possible moment before an auction closes, but a review of this bidder's past auction wins shows that the winning bids were all the only bids the person placed on the items and the bids were all in the last hour of the auction. EBay admonishes bidders to bid high early on to ensure eventual victory, but bidders like to hold off to the end to get the best deal. Sometimes one hopes that no one else will find the little gem one has one's heart set on winning, and thus doesn't want to draw attention to it by bidding. This works an incredibly small amount of the time. Usually eagle-eyed collectors all spot the good stuff and hold off until the last moment when they pile in with high bids. Like in this case.
I don't use auction snipers on eBay. If I need to I can get the bid in really close to the auction's end time (I've gotten it as close as 3 seconds--it's part of the fun to try), but sometimes I'm just not going to be the highest bidder, period. I saw it would be that way with this item, so I didn't bid at all.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

At auction at Christie's

Sale 7731
Christies, London, King Street
2 June 2009

Lot 163: Two George II Pinchbeck-mounted enamel and hardstone châtelaines with nécessaires
English, circa 1750
Shaped triangular suspension hook faced with hinged cartouche of gilt-metal chased with pastoral vignettes, c-scrolls and rocaille against sablé ground bordered with polished c-scrolls and rocaille, with a clip back, suspending two thimble cases, cast and chased on matted ground, and nécessaire with central cartouche enamelled en champlevé with chinoiserie against opaque blue ground on base and transparent guilloché ground on hinged lid, the sides cast and chased in frosted gold, containing scissors, tweezers, pencil holder, ivory tablet, folding knife and toothpick; together with a châtelaine of similar form, the cagework clip chased with foliage and rocaille and inset with bloodstone plaques, suspending two cast and chased thimble cases and nécessaire with bloodstone-set central cartouches on hinged lid and base, containing scissors, toothpick, pencil holder, ivory tablet, spoon, folding-knife and tweezers
7½ in. (190 mm.) long (2)
Estimate: £2,000-3,000 (US$2,956-4,434)
Update: Sold for £7,500 (about US$12,293) plus Premium and tax.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Miniature Knitter

If not thimble-related, then certainly thimble-sized.

An interview with Althea Crome, who hand knit the itty bitty sweaters, etc., for the movie "Coraline."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Beautiful thimbles at Steppes Hill Farm Antiques

These lovely thimbles are available through Steppes Hill Farm Antiques, dealers in early English porcelain and collectible silver. Yummy!

A very fine Victorian gold Thimble, set with alternating turquoise and white enamel beads, c1860. In fine condition with no damage or repair. 24mm high. 6 grams. £575.

A very fine Victorian silver Thimble, with raised scene depicting the South Kensington International Exhibition 1862. With Diamond Registration mark. In good condition with no damage or repair. 23mm high. 4 grams. £585.

A 19th century gold Thimble, the top set with a Carnelian, the raised wavy edged base set with small garnets, pearl’s and one amethyst, between oak leaves, a vacant shaped cartouche. Unmarked, probably French c1880. In good condition although there are some minute stress cracks to the base. 25 mm high. 5 grams. £420.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Norwegian enamelled thimbles on eBay

Early 20th century David-Andersen silver enamelled thimble with hard stone top.
US $735.89; 11 bids, starting at US $55.00.
8 March 2009.

20th century Norwegian sterling silver thimble with guilloché enamelling.
US $192.50; 12 bids, starting at US $20.00.
14 April 2009.

Norwegian sterling silver thimble with applied wire cloisonné turquoise-colored enamelling (five small chips) and moonstone top (cracked).
US $107.08; 17 bids, starting at US $20.00.
24 March 2009.

This is a beautiful thimble. I'm sure it would have brought in much more except for the damaged enamel and top.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Tartanware thimble box auction at Bonhams

Sale 171856
Bonhams, Knowle
6 May 2009

Lot 164 : A Clark & Co. McLean Tartanware circular reel and thimble box
The domed lid with two printed oval portraits, inscribed edge and printed label to the underside, the base fitted with six reels each with corresponding aperture, 10.5cm diameter.
Estimate: £80-120

Update: Sold for £66 inclusive of Buyer's Premium.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Silver Thimble No 3

I believe this is one of the ambulances donated by the Silver Thimble Fund, an organization founded by Hope Elizabeth Hope-Clarke.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Giada making Thimble Pasta With Sauce

Thimbles with Mushrooms and Artichokes

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 pound mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned and finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 3/4 teaspoon
1 cup dry Marsala wine
1 pound thimble pasta
1/2 pound frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until all the moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms have cooked down, about 10 minutes. Add the Marsala and continue cooking until almost all the wine has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Stir in remaining salt. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and add it into the mushrooms, Marsala and onions Add the artichoke hearts, Parmesan and cream and cook until the artichokes are heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Recipe and video from : Everyday Italian (Episode: Entertaining the In-Laws Italian Style!), Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Imperial India thimble on eBay.

19th century sterling thimble, made in India "for export to British market." No holes, excellent condition.
US $130.00; 8 bids, starting at US $20.00.
2 March 2009.

Another beautiful thimble sold by one of my favorite eBay sellers, Elegant Arts Antiques.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Lovely but lethal?

"Poison" (lidded) ring and thimble
Silver with gold wash and turquoise.
Turkmenistan, 20th c.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Enamel on copper
Steinböck Email Studio, Austria

Saturday, January 24, 2009

How thimbles get out of round.

(Click on image to enlarge. )

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The fastest way to send money?

Used on tape printer positions to cut off tape when gumming it down. A round thimble-shaped piece of nickel silver set on a flat polished plate, the edge of which is used as the cutter. Furnished in sizes #5 to 12 inclusive, thimbles being of different diameters and lengths. Plate 3/4" x 1 1/2", Ht overall -- 1".
[Excerpt from: The Western Union Telegraph Company Inside Plant Catalog of Apparatus, Material and Tools, July 1, 1929]