Saturday, October 28, 2006

Dolly Varden Thimble in Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly

I just came home yesterday from a teaching trip to Denver. I ended up staying a day longer than I expected because of Denver's snowstorm. I was staying with Marnie Ritter and she was kind and let me snuggle up in her pretty warm house for an extra day. What a beautiful winter wonderland! I spent the entire day looking out on her beatuiful white yard, such a treat! Thank you, Marnie, and thank you, Denver EGA, for such a nice time.

Now I am home again in my land of eternal summer. I had not been home for 24 hours when the latest issue of Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly, one of my favorite magazines, arrived on my doorstep. Of course I had to thumb through and see all the beautiful things they present. I settled in with a big headline: "Rare "Dolly Varden" Thimble Fetches $2000 at Thimble Collectors' International Auction."

$2000! How extraordinary!

So what is a Dolly Varden thimble? I guess I can quote Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly because they quoted me:

The [Dolly Varden] thimble celebrates the 1901-1902 musical comedy, Dolly Varden. Dolly was the coquettish daughter of a locksmith in Charles Dickens' 1841 novel, Barnaby Rudge. The novel dealt with the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots of 1780 in London, but the musical comedy borrowed almost nothing from the novel except the heroine. It was a huge success, and Stern Brothers [the thimble maker] advertised the Dolly Varden thimble, along with other jewelry, in a full-page advertisement in October, 1901. The band of the thimble repeats six times the head of Dolly Varden in her 18th-century bonnet. (From my book, American Silver Thimbles, pages 133-134).

If you are interested in thimbles and wish to see an excellent photo of the Dolly Varden thimble, along with the latest auction information and prices at Thimble Collectors International, do treat yourself to the new issue of Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly, volume 45, $6.99 available in many needlework shops.

Gay Ann