Learn more about A Miscellany of Thimbles  
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Build and share your knowledge about thimbles - new topics added regularly


THERE ARE 33 "LEARN MORE ABOUT..." TOPICS
Brass Advertising | British Placenames | British Royalty on Thimbles | British Silversmiths | Charles May | Christmas | Coalport
Dorcas Thimble Boxes | Easter | Gadgets | Francesca | Hallmarked Thimbles set | Miscellaneous Thimbles | 'Mother'
The World's Greatest Porcelain Houses | Royal Albert | Royal Crown Derby | Royal Doulton | Royal Worcester Handpainted Thimbles
Royal Worcester Decal Thimbles | S + H Foskett | Silver Advertising Thimbles | Spode | Stratnoid | SylvaC
Thimble Books | Thimble Collectors Club | Thimble Societies | Thimbles with Slogans
Thimblefuls | Victorian Silver Scenic Thimbles | Wedgwood Jasperware | Wedgwood Bone China

THERE ARE 20 PAGES OF THIMBLES & OTHER ITEMS TO BUY
aluminium 1 | books 1 | brass 1 | china 5 | display cases 1
needlework tools 2 | other collectables 1 | pewter 1 | plastic 1
silver 3 | steel & metal 1 | unusual materials 1 | wood 1


All of these smaller topics and themes or thimble manufacturers have always held a fascination for me - the high quality of Danish thimbles, the small Victorian thimble producers and unusual themes or well-crafted modern thimbles all appeal to me - I thought I'd share them with you. It is often difficult to find all the range produced, anywhere else, so they are gathered here for your enjoyment and I am sure there are many I have missed?

I plan to add small thimble maker topics to this page from time to time.

PHILIP ANTROBUS | BELLEEK | BING & GRONDAHL | CRUMMLES | DORMON-BRAILSFORD | HARRODS THIMBLES | CHARLES ILES' "THE" THIMBLES | GEORG JENSEN | MASON'S IRONSTONE | MINTON | GRAHAM PAYNE | POOLE POTTERY | PORSGRUND | QUEEN VICTORIA COMMEMORATIVES | SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE THIMBLES | ROYAL COPENHAGEN | KAY THETFORD-KENDALL | THIMBLE CRAFT BY SHIRLEY | GEORGE UNITE | VICTORIAN STERLINGS WITH GIRL'S NAMES | WHO MADE THESE NAMED THIMBLES?


PHILIP ANTROBUS STERLING SILVER THIMBLES
BIRMINGHAM ENGLAND
Have you ever looked closely at the patterning on any sterling silver thimble in your collection, marked with the maker's mark of PA? They have some of the most unusual patterning you will find. The mark belongs to Philip Antrobus who operated as a silversmith from 55 Upper Tower Street in Birmingham. He registered his maker's mark with the Birmingham Assay Office in November 1863 and it was last registered with the BAO in 1891.
Jewellers - Philip Antrobus Ltd of 11 New Bond Street London W1S 3SR - operate today.
On a biographical note, Philip Antrobus is interesting in that he married one of the daughters of the more famous thimble maker - Henry Griffith. The daughter was Ettie Jane - known as Hettie - who was born in 1865.
The earliest hallmarked thimble that has come to my attention is hallmarked for 1878 and the latest is dated 1896. Do you have any outside this date range? If so please share.
The decoration is what attracts me - they are highly chased with bold patterning - look at the gorgeous thistle pattern on the 1878 example and the others are more ornate than the run-of-the-mill "daisy" patterning. It will be worth your while to seek out this thimble maker - but he was not a prolific thimble maker. Even with so few examples, I feel he is well worth sharing.


Antrobus's maker's mark


1878
the rich patterning of thistles continues over the apex
photo Wynneth Mullins

1886
rich patterning of flowers and leaves
over a bubbly background
assayed in Chester

1891
he could also produce thimbles
with the same feathery designs/galleried rim of the late 19th
photo Celia & Kevin Barrington

1896
with ornate flowers and a fern patterning

1896
with detailed fern patterning

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BELLEEK
IRELAND
Anyone who has handled Belleek Pottery in any shape or form, will be intrigued by its translucency and its distinctive cream colour, with the coloured decoration in relief. This translucent china is known as parian ware. I was familiar with Belleek from Ireland as Mum always had a few lovely pieces displayed on her "what-not".
So it was a short step for me on the one and only time I visited Ireland back in 1986, to search out thimbles made by Belleek. I knew they existed thru seeing early thimble advertisements - and their bluebells design was my first Belleek thimble: the only Belleek one I found for sale in Eire!!
Most thimbles made of china are very difficult to date but I am confident the start of Belleek thimbles would date to the early 1980s and would not have been made any time after that decade.
Tho Belleek parian ware was in production from 1863 [having been founded in 1857 in Belleek in County Fermanagh, in Northern Ireland], no thimbles were produced until the collectables thimble era in the 1980s. Belleek thimbles were not featured in the 1980 Franklin Mint "Thimbles of the Worlds' Porcelain Houses" set of 25. Tho I have never seen one, I understand there is a Belleek thimble that forms part of the "The Hallmarked Thimbles of the World's Great Porcelain Houses" set of 50 produced by the Thimble Collectors Club in 1985 - but it only appeared in the USA-issued set. I would love to know what it looks like - so please share!! In late 1984 the Thimble Collectors Club [TCC] issued the Shamrocks thimble and it was the only Belleek thimble featured by the TCC for their members.
I am aware of only 8 thimble designs produced by Belleek - amongst which is their range of flowers with the flowers depicted in pale colours - which are handpainted and the Shamrocks pattern - often broadly described as clover. The names are mine not those from Belleek and are purely descriptive - if you know any different - please share!
Has anyone ever seen a Belleek thimble featuring the Irish Harp?
Donegal Parianware is not Belleek ware.

red Belleek maker's mark

green Belleek maker's mark

set of 6 flower thimbles

Belleek thimble box

Belleek thimble box
Inspired by Nature


pink rose

yellow flower
 
white flower

pink lily-of-the-valley or pink bluebells

blue flower

bluebells

shamrocks
from Thimble Collectors Club

with green maker's mark
fluted
this seems an earlier Belleek thimble?

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BING & GRONDAHL PORCELAIN THIMBLES
COPENHAGEN DENMARK
The most well-known thimbles from this Danish porcelain manufacturer, the second oldest in Denmark, are the blue Christmas thimbles series, issued from 1978-1988. These were inspired by their Christmas plates, which were produced in 1895 and are still in production today, and Christmas bells. The year lettered is in gold and portray fir branches or other seasonal trees and flowers which completes each thimble design. These were the first thimbles produced [see exception below] by Bing & Grondahl, tho B&G have been in production of porcelain items since 1853.
The company was formed in 1853 when brothers Meyer and Jacob Bing joined Frederik Grondahl. The company was in the hands of Bing's descendants but in 1987 Bing & Grondahl merged with the Royal Porcelain Factory under the name Royal Copenhagen..
The non-Christmas thimbles are not named inside the thimbles, but if you know the name B&G gave them, please share.
One of the notable differences from most other porcelain thimbles, is that some of the B&G thimbles are made to be worn as jewellery - ie they have a sturdy gilt chain affixed to the apex - the only other that has this feature that I am aware of, is Noritake's thimbles.
The Zodiac set is rarer and was probably made in small quantities?
The Thimble Collectors Club [TCC] issued 5 B&G thimbles for their members as well as one design in their The Hallmarked Thimbles of the World's Great Porcelain Houses set [1985].

B&G backstamp

B&G thimble box

B&G thimble display box

Christmas 1978
BUY THIS THIMBLE

Christmas 1979

Christmas 1980

Christmas 1981

Christmas 1982

Christmas 1983

Christmas 1984

Christmas 1985

Christmas 1986

Christmas 1987

Christmas 1988

example of Christmas thimble with chain

example of Christmas thimble with no date

Blue Traditional
some versions have no gold rim
some have a blue trim instead of gold
issued in 1977

Empire
some versions have no gold trim
some have a blue trim instead of gold
issued in 1977

Aquarius

Pisces

Aries

Taurus

Gemini

Cancer

Leo

Virgo

Libra

Scorpio

Sagittarius

Capricorn

the back of the thimble

TCC's Butterfly

TCC's Classic Selection

TCC's The Little Mermaid

TCC's Red Rose
R: version with chain

TCC's Seagull
this thimble pre-dates TCC
as it was available in 1977 with/without chain
this is B&G's signature design first used in 1892 on their porcelain ware
R: version with chain

TCC's Bing & Grondahl from set of 50 Hallmarked thimbles
1985
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CRUMMLES ENAMEL THIMBLES
POOLE ENGLAND
English enamel thimbles - mainly over copper or brass - seem to be the 20th C's antiques of the future. Crummles - who were based in Poole in Dorset - has been incorporated into Staffordshire Enamels, in Lye, tho they still use the Crummles backstamp. They are known mostly for their enamelled boxes and they also produced needlecases and pincushions in matching designs.
The owner, John Aris, founded Crummles & Co in 1974 and he chose the name of Crummles, after Vincent Crummles, a character in Charles Dickens' novel Nicholas Nickleby.
Strangely, Crummles don't often mark their thimbles with a backstamp and one has to rely on the accompanying cardboard thimble box for identification.
The Thimble Society of London and the Dorset Thimble Society commissioned enamel thimbles from Crummles - the latter's do not have the regular metal apex and all of their examples contain the tiny Crummles backstamp.
I have encountered very few Crummles thimbles - collectors, especially those who live in England, may be able to add to a more complete range of these little beauties?
Some are handpainted, some will be a decal or transfer - this will be reflected in the backstamp, if one is present.
Some incomplete examples have recently come up for sale on eBay - they are missing their brass or copper trims and therefore are incomplete - can I presume that they have a Crummles backstamp to identify them as such?


Crummles & Co backstamps

Crummles & Co thimble boxes


wedding
Prince Charles & Diana
1981

wedding
Prince Andrew & Sarah
1985

R: incomplete version missing brass trims

fishing scene
corresponds to drawing #88 as below

roses and harebells
corresponds to drawing #89 as below

pink and yellow roses
corresponds to drawing #90 as below
R: colourway

pink flower - called yellow pansy?
corresponds to drawing #91 as below
R: incomplete version missing copper trims

heraldic red and yellow
corresponds to drawing #92 as below
R: incomplete version missing copper trims
photo M Craft
windmill
corresponds to drawing #93 as below

butterfly
corresponds to drawing #94 as below

cornfield
corresponds to drawing #95 as below
R: incomplete version missing copper trims & no colour

blue bird Chinoiserie
corresponds to drawing #96 as below
photo M Craft
raising of The Mary Rose

honeysuckle
with verse from Tennyson

willow pattern

blue bird Chinoiserie
with matching pincushion

with matching needlecase and pincushion

cornfield
with matching needlecase, pincushion and tape measure

this ad appeared in the 1st issue 1981
of The Thimble Society of London
the accompanying 9 line drawings has been useful
in finding/identifying Crummles thimbles
I have used the same terminology and numbering, until something else comes to light

display of Crummles thimbles
from John Sinclair [shop] England 1980s

commissioned by
The Thimble Society of London
1985
handpainted
there is an accompanying tape measure & enamel box

Dorset Thimble Society
1997

Dorset Thimble Society
6th International Conference
1999

Dorset Thimble Society
7th International Conference
2001

handpainted

Sydney Opera House
how could I omit this important thimble
that features on p77 of Thimbles of Australia?
Find out more about my book

incomplete version
missing brass trims

owls
incomplete version
missing brass trims

incomplete version
missing brass trims

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M I DORMON-BRAILSFORD SILVER THIMBLES
ENGLAND
You may be familiar with the dome-shaped thimbles that appeared from this English silversmith, from Oxford? If so, you may not know that there are 4 with the same shape? They were all hallmarked by the London Assay Office, between 1981 and 1984.
Michael Ivor Dormon-Brailsford is an inventor who created a series entitled Architectural Heritage thimbles, tho only 3 are architecturally shaped!
The designs are formed in relief all round the thimbles, from the original hand-engraved casts.
When the St Paul's thimbles were created in 1981, a percentage of the sales price went to the St. Paul's Cathedral Fund for its preservation. There is a 9ct version of the 1981 and gold-plated for the 1984 thimbles.


Dormon-Brailsford maker's mark

perspex & velvet display holder


St Paul's Cathedral Dome London
sterling silver London 1981
Charles – July 1981 – Diana
there is a cross at the apex point
 
St Paul's Cathedral Dome London
9ct gold
Charles – July 1981 – Diana

St Paul's Cathedral Dome London
the 1981 thimble advertisement

St Peter's Cathedral Dome Rome
Britannia silver [958/1000] London 1982
St Peter’s Rome Pope John Paul II British visit 1982
there is a cross at the apex point

St Peter's Cathedral Dome Rome
Britannia silver [958/1000] London 1982
Britannos visitavit AD MCMLXXII Iohannes Pavlvs Pontifex
note the text is in Latin!!
there is a cross at the apex point

Capitol Dome Washington
Britannia silver [958/1000] London 1983
Sweet Land of the Free
these thimbles - tho identical in shape and design
are made by Stuart Johnson-Flint

Nativity in Bethlehem
Britannia silver [958/1000] London 1984
Unto us a child is born
small "diamond" in apex
to represent the Star of Bethlehem

Nativity in Bethlehem
gold-plated
Unto us a child is born

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"HARRODS" THIMBLES
ENGLAND
Over the years, Harrods of Kensington London, have commissioned thimbles - for marketing or advertising purposes.
They form a small, neat thematic collection. Most of these thimbles were produced for Harrods in the 1980s. Which other Department store anywhere in the word, has had as many commissioned?
Of the 32 thimbles illustrated below, it is interesting to note that eight include a teddy bear - a cross-thematic collection?
None in my collection came directly from Harrods - does anyone know from which Harrods Department they were available? Were they only ever made of china? Happiness is hearing of a silver thimble!!
Some of the thimbles have the word 'Knightsbridge' lettered under "Harrods". The brand name is always identical, tho the distinctive 'H' is used in conjunction with the brand name.
Since first listing these Harrods thimbles, imagine my delight to find that Harrods commissioned English silversmiths to create sterling thimbles for them?

Harrods thimble boxes
L photo: Elegant Arts

Caverswall - i

Caverswall - ii

Caverswall - iii

Caverswall - iv
with 'Knightsbridge' lettered

Tony Bouchet
photo: Marie-Ann Turnbull

Objet d'Art

Wedgwood

Sterling Classic
with 'Harrods' lettered inside as well

blue unbranded china
with 'Knightsbridge' lettered

blue unbranded china - different shape
with 'Knightsbridge' lettered
in Harrods' thimble box

white unbranded china
with 'Knightsbridge' lettered

white unbranded china - different shape
with 'Knightsbridge' lettered

unbranded china
with 'Knightsbridge' lettered
floral self-patterned apex

unbranded china

unbranded china
with 'Knightsbridge' as part of the backstamp

unbranded china

unbranded china

unbranded china

unbranded china

unbranded china

unbranded china

unbranded china

Harrods china

unbranded china

unbranded china

unbranded china

unbranded china

unbranded china
with Paddington Bear

unbranded china
commemorating QEII's diamond jubilee 2012

unbranded china

unbranded china

unbranded china
with QEII liner with Statue of Liberty on verso
Made for Harrods Knightsbridge Fine Bone China England inside
photo: Rosie Mladenovic

silver
with 'Knightsbridge' in tiny lettering
there are no makers' marks nor assay marks
photo: Marie-Ann Turnbull

sterling silver
Ari Norman
Birmingham 1985
photo: Elegant Arts
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CHARLES ILES "THE ..." THIMBLES
BIRMINGHAM ENGLAND
I have always been interested in Charles Edward Iles's [1852-1925] base metal thimbles and none more so, than the named ones that include the initial word "The".
I can't think of any other thimble maker who named a selection of his thimbles in this manner. All, except one or two of these thimbles, are lettered in "running writing" - ie. lower case italics.
The most famous of these thimbles, commanding a huge sum, is "The Dorothy". Originally included as one of the "Five D..." thimbles, which included Dorcas, Dreema, Dura and Doris, but those are all steel-lined sterling silver thimbles, "The Dorothy" is only silver-cased one of the five.
The other Iles "The" thimbles are silver-cased or made of nickel silver.
According to Norma Spicer in her book on Charles Iles, "The Dorothy" thimble was named after his daughter Dorothy Iles, who was born in 1882.
Most of the examples do not have the Charles Iles maker's mark, but a few do.
What did these other terms/names stand for?
Have I missed any others by Iles in this category?

Charles Iles maker's mark
3 thimbles with touching rims in a triangular shield, was registered in 1889
this mark is often confused with the Chester assay mark of three sheaves


The Boudoir Thimble box

The Boudoir

The Boudoir in The Boudoir Thimble box

The Boudoir with maker's mark

The "Dorcoid" size 7
photo: Norma Spicer

inside of The "Dorcoid"

The "Dorcoid" size 6

The "Dorcoid" size 7
by attributing these Dorcoid thimbles - because of the use of "The ..." - to Charles Iles, rather than Charles Horner - I am sure to be setting the cat amongst the pigeons??!!
in her chapter on CH, Spicer states "... which may be a Horner production
but could also be an example of a competitor ..."
why couldn't this competitor be Charles Iles?
there are no maker's marks on these thimbles
Di Pelham Burn listed this Dorcoid thimble in her booklet on steel-cored thimbles, but ascribes it more to Charles Horner

The Dorothy
there are no maker's marks

The Dorothy
brass, where the nickel has worn off
there are no maker's marks

The Dorothy
larger size which makes it seem squatter
there are no maker's marks

The Dorothy Thimble box

The Dorothy Thimble advertisement

The Dorothy Thimble box
photo: N Spicer

The Hercules
photo: W-D Scholz

The Nightingale
the thimble exists in the collection
of excavated thimbles
at the Museum of Sydney - Bridge Street Sydney

THE QUEEN'S RECORD THIMBLE THE BEST OF ALL
the lettering is different to all his other "The" thimbles
being in upper case italics
there are no maker's marks
according to Thimble Society of London
this thimble was made to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897
click to see the TSL article

The Studio

The Studio Thimble box

The Studio Thimble box with named thimble

The Treasure
there is more than one shape of this thimble

OTHER CHARLES ILES "THE ..." THIMBLE BOXES
There are no matching thimbles for these named "The" boxes - recorded here for completeness


The Coronet Thimble Outfit
these are the original Iles thimbles

The Cosy Corner Thimble Outfit
these are the original thimbles

The Latest Novelty

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GEORG JENSEN STERLING SILVER THIMBLES
COPENHAGEN DENMARK
This is the second Danish thimble maker to feature in this miscellany thimble topic - another highly collectable field.
Georg Jensen [1866-1935] began his world-famous creations as a silversmith in 1904. These thimbles come from Georg Jensen designers who continue as silversmiths today. Some were available for purchase in the 1990s in Australia from Georg Jensen stores.
Most Jensen thimbles have a backed stone apex in a variety of stones. These vary from green stones, to brown or red or amethyst. Most have a band of indentations directly below the stone at the apex rim.
There are various art nouveau borders - leaves or tulips - in relief.
As well as the maker's mark, the thimbles have "Sterling" or "925" plus "Denmark" and a numeral stamped into the thimbles - this number doesn't correspond to a size mark, rather it may be a design number?
There is no dating system for sterling silver thimbles in Denmark, but those with the numbers, date from the 1940s.

Georg Jensen oval maker's mark

leaf border
1930s

leaf border
# 48
amethyst stone
1940s

leaf border
# 48
deep green stone

tulip border

tulip border with green stone
# 47

tulip border with amethyst stone

tulip border with red stone
# 47

tulip border
modern example

plain
size 9
1970s

decorated apex
there is an additional mark on this thimble

charm
from a Jensen 1950s charm bracelet

thimble holder
with tulips
stamped Georg Jensen Inc-USA on lid
lid attached with an inner chain
silver post inside for thimble

thimble holder
stamped Piet-Hein on inner rim
with 1147B
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MASON'S IRONSTONE CHINA
ENGLAND
The very first thimble that I ever purchased was one made by Mason's. This was back in 1983 and there was a treasure trove of collectables china for sale at Wayne's, in Benoni South Africa. It was a sad day for me when this store closed not long after. I had been attracted by the rust and navy colouring of the floral design.
As far as I can find out, Johnson Bros were the only other manufacturers producing ironstone thimbles.
Mason's history of ironstone production goes back a long way, to 1813 when Charles James Mason took out his patent. For most of the nineteenth century Mason's dinnerware was highly prized in their monochrome designs. They were based in Staffordshire, England.
These sturdy thimbles featured in the 1980 the Franklin Mint's "Thimbles of the World's Greatest Porcelain Houses" of 25. Was this Mason's first thimble production as has been evidenced by other makers in the set? Strangely by the time of the "The Hallmarked Thimbles of the World's Great Porcelain Houses" set commissioned by the Thimble Collectors Club [TCC] in 1985, no Mason's thimble was included. TCC issued only one Mason's thimble for their members in 1987 - known as "Brocade". I can find no information on when Mason's finished making thimbles but it was probably in the 1980s.
I recently found a clipping from a 1980s magazine, which offered a set of 18 Mason's ironstone thimbles - I have marked them with an * and the designs were not named in that advert.
Mason's produced a few thematic thimbles - for Christmas, Easter, where some are dated but mostly are not - and a monochrome pair in brown on the occasion of the marriage of Charles and Diana in 1981.
The Oasis and Mandalay designs seem like colourways in my eyes? Is this so?

The Mason's thimbles featured below are not listed in any particular order.


Mason's thimble box

Mason's thimble mark - 2 sizes

Brocade
on 2 sides
Thimble Collectors Club

Nabob
Thimbles of the World's Greatest Porcelain Houses
with gilded rim
also found without gilding [R]

Rosette*
creamy brown flowers
on 2 sides

Christmas
undated

Christmas
handpainted
undated

Christmas 1983

Happy Easter
undated

Easter
undated

Easter 1981

*

on 2 sides*

lily of the valley*
on 2 sides

*

violets*
on 2 sides

on 2 sides*
one gold band - R

Monaco*
design all round

Oasis
on 2 sides

on 2 sides

yellow poppies / Welsh poppy*
on 2 sides

Marriage of Charles and Diana
undated
BUY CHARLES THIMBLE

yellow rose*
on 2 sides

Fruit Basket

Mandalay

Christmas

forget-me-nots*

*

*

*

*

Red Mandalay
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MINTON
ENGLAND
When I created the Learn More About...Royal Doulton thimbles topic, I excluded the Minton thimbles as tho they have a Royal Doulton backstamp as well as the Minton one, I felt Minton thimbles needed their own separate topic!!
Thomas Minton founded the porcelain house of Minton in 1793 in Stoke-on-Trent, the heart of the British potteries.
The first known Minton thimble was issued as part of The Hallmarked Thimbles of the World's Great Porcelain Houses set of 50 thimbles in 1985 [older shape].
Then in 1993, Lawleys by Post issued the first set of 12 thimbles for Minton's bicentenary. The set is named The Thomas Minton Archive Collection.
Those who have Royal Doulton thimbles made after 1994, will notice that these Minton thimbles are of the same shape. They are different from the RD thimbles tho, as there are gold dots in a hexagon shape, on the apexes of the Minton thimbles, which is reminiscent of the thimbles issued by Royal Crown Derby. All three of these china manufacturers were under the Royal Doulton banner in the 1990s.
The other two sets are known as The Minton Heritage Collection and The Pugin Collection.
These are the only sets that have been issued with the Minton backstamp and all three have identical apexes.
I hope this topic will prove very useful to collectors of these sets - especially having the names - thank you to the two main contributors - you know who you are!!

The Thomas Minton Archive Collection
Also known as the Bicentenary Collection
1993

this set was named for the firm's founder Thomas Minton
in the advertising material promoting the issue of this set, Lawleys by Post advised that this was the first collection of Minton thimbles ever made
click to see the original advertisement
commissioned by Lawleys to commemorate the bicentenary of Minton 1793-1993 and inspired by designs from the Minton Archives, dating back 200 years
the accompanying paperwork named the thimbles, but they are not named in the thimbles
there was a small accompanying wooden plinth
set of 12 - fine bone china


Minton backstamp as portrayed in the advertising material
1993 Minton backstamp with Royal Doulton ©


Minton set - missing cat thimble


Minton hexagonal dot apex
used identically on all three Minton sets


Art Nouveau Cornflower

Blue Delft

Carmine Roses

Cats

Celtic Rose

Dresser Border

Edwardian Garland

French Style Sprigs

Gold Classical Ornaments

Haddon Hall

Pugin's Border

Regency Style Border


The Pugin Collection
1994
2nd set by Minton
decorated with designs created in the 1800s by Augustus Pugin, for Herbert Minton, the son of Minton’s founder
set of 12 - fine bone china
exclusive to Lawleys by Post
tho each thimble is named, this is not included within the thimbles
erroneously some of the Pugin designs were issued with the 1993 Bicentenary backstamp!! As if the sets aren't difficult enough to identify!!


Pugin backstamp


original advert for Minton Pugin set


the promotional Pugin set material


Absinthium Album

Auricula Ursi
 
Brassica Anglica

Calamintha Amensis

Fleur de Lis
some of this design have the bicentenary backstamp

Herba Benedicta
some of this design have the bicentenary backstamp

Hypericum Alexandrinum

Panaces Costinum

Quinquefolium

St Augustine's

St Giles

Trifolium


The Minton Heritage Collection
1994
inspired by designs from the Minton Archives with the Minton backstamp
issued by Royal Doulton
thimbles are not named in the thimbles
set of 12 - fine bone china
hand-gilded in 22-carat gold
each set was supplied with its own numbered certificate& crushed-velvet presentation case
limited to 950 sets
the dates included are from the original design


Acanthus Border
from border on Snake Vase Italian
by Alfred George Stevens
(1817-1875)

Broseley
1770s
from first blue underglaze
printed earthenware by Thomas Minton

Cameo and Bouquet
c1799
from first pattern book
of Minton teabowls and saucers

Cloisonne
1876
from Dr Christopher Dresser design
Minton's teawares

Diamonds and Wheat
c1799
from #57 in first pattern book
of Minton teabowls and saucers

Elephant and Howdah
1889
inspired by life-size elephants
at Paris Exhibition

Laurel Leaves
1810
from #298 in second pattern book
Minton's tea and dessert ware

Oriental Scroll
c1830
from copper engravings
in the Minton Copper Room

Persian Fountain
c1870
from a box of artwork

Pompeian Border
c1870
from neck of vase
Minton Archives

Ribbons and Roses
c1810
from second pattern book
tea and dessert wares

Sunflowers
c1865
from border of tiles for
South Kensington Museum


Mysteries
this Minton thimble doesn't match any of the other Minton designs
it has the Bicentenary backstamp but probably meant for the Pugin set? It is most in keeping with that set, by its design, from those of the other two Minton sets?
why wasn't it discarded, if it was a prototype and then not included in the set?
if this was poor quality control in the 1990s, no wonder there are so many thimble anomalies amongst the Victorian and Edwardian thimble makers!!
now that more examples of this mystery thimble are appearing, does anyone know its design name?


Thimbles of the World's Greatest Porcelain Houses
1985
this the first thimble produced by Minton
it was designed as one in the set of 50 for Thimble Collectors Club
entitled The Hallmarked Thimbles of the World's Great Porcelain Houses
the shape of these thimbles is the older shape first used by Royal Doulton and it's the only time it was used for Minton thimbles


The Hallmarked Thimbles of the World's Great Porcelain Houses

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GRAHAM PAYNE
WORCESTER ENGLAND
Graham Payne was a handpainter in miniature on thimbles - so talented which is borne out by the fact that he painted both china and enamel thimbles. The earliest thimbles I can find are dated 1981. Payne who was based in Grimley, Worcester, used several different Payne backstamps - naming the studio Graham Payne Studio Worcester or having signed examples just with the signature of Graham Payne, GP or Payne. Most are dated inside the thimble as well.
The first mention that I can trace in the thimble literature is in 1981, in the first issue of The Thimble Society of London (winter 1981) - there are black and white photos and line drawings of the thimbles for the sportsmen, advertising and the Victorian designs thimbles. I am sure that Payne began painting thimbles before these sets were advertised in 1981, but I have yet to find this information. My opinion is that Payne only produced thimbles from the 1980s to the mid-nineties, so it is important to record them now - for posterity.
It would be wonderful to establish whether Graham Payne, who was based in the same town as the Royal Worcester works, was Royal Worcester-trained? There is an example of signed RW thimbles, signed "Payne" - only time, and help from other collectors, will tell.
Payne also accepted commissions to create and paint personalised thimbles. This only entailed sending a photo of the subject - your home, a pet.
Graham Payne also handpainted china bells, pillboxes and enamel napkin rings. Anything else?
The Thimble Society of London reported his death in 1996.
I find these thimbles so appealing that I will try and feature up to three examples of each, so that you too can enjoy his talent!


Payne's signatures on china [left] and that of his enamelled range [centre] with boxed example [right]

CHINA RANGE
the range of thimbles used for these handpainted miniatures have a distinctive shape with a slightly bulbous rim with fine fluting

Advertisements
handpainted, signed and dated, numbered & limited edition of 250
taken from 1920s advertisements


BOVRIL Don't forget the Bovril

BOVRIL I think I like you better as Bovril

BOVRIL - Alas my poor brother

Turnwright's as Toffee De-Light

Animals
handpainted, signed and dated


Dormouse

Fox

Hare

Hedgwood

Ladybird

Squirrel

Commemoratives
handpainted, signed and dated


Christmas 1981
"Graham Payne 81"
numbered & limited edition of 100

Christmas 1981

Falklands Liberation June 14th 1982
"Payne 82 Worcs"
numbered & limited edition of 250

Easter 1986
"Payne86"

Edinburgh 1986
Commonwealth Games Scotland
"Payne 86"

King George V 1865-1936
numbered & limited edition of 50
"Payne '86"

Mother's Day '86

Christmas 1992
"Payne 92"
numbered & limited edition of 200
different china blanks used
self-patterned floral apex

Golly 1995
sold thru The Thimble Guild
to commemorate the centenary of Frances Upton's golliwog
limited edition of 100

Garden birds
handpainted, signed and dated


Blue tit

Bullfinch
"Payne 82 Worcs"

Capercaillie
1981

Linnet
1982

Jay

Magpie

Robin
"Payne 82 Worcs"
[some of the robin thimbles have "Christmas 1981"
with a gold painted apex - numbered edition of 200]

Wren
"Payne 82 Worcs"

Yellow hammer

Other birds
handpainted, signed and dated


Duck
"Payne 92"
limited edition of 300

Pheasant
"Payne 95"

Sportsman
handpainted, signed and dated, numbered & limited edition of 50


Boxer c.1802
"Payne 82 Grimley Worc's"
apex is painted green
"Acanthus Cheltenham" lettering refers
to a gift shop Acanthus at 12 Montpelier Arcade, Cheltenham
where some of these thimbles were sold
3 alongside the backstamp
may refer to this boxer being the 3rd of 4 designs?

Cricketer

Footballer

Jockey

Trees
handpainted, signed and dated


Beech

English Elm

Fir

Holly

Silver birch

Sycamore

Victorian designs
handpainted, signed and dated
the bulbous rim particularly enhances these handpainted designs
the descriptions come from the 1982 The Thimble Society of London catalogue


raised turquoise dots, yellow rose

inset country scene

turquoise dots beading, black cameo, gilding

beaded rim, gilded swags, roses

beaded rim, inset painting of pheasant & foliage

Imari type pattern, red, blue & gold

Others
handpainted, signed and dated


Fruit
"Payne 96"

Peaches
1982

Santa Klaus 1982

Soldier teddy
1993
limited edition of 100

Teddy in snow

Teddy bear
"Payne 86"

ENAMEL over BRASS RANGE
the range of Payne's handpainted enamelled thimbles is much smaller than his china range
I am aware of other painters painting enamel thimbles for the Graham Payne Studio - a JS signed thimble is dated 1983. Is this J Smith? Were there other painters employed by Payne?


Barn owl
"Payne 83 Worcs"

Blue tit
1983

Chaffinch
"Graham Payne Studios Worcester 83"
there is the additional signature of J Smith

Christmas 1981
1981
numbered & limited edition of 50

Christmas 1983
1983

English setter

Irish setter
Kingfishers
1983
R is undated but signed JS

Ladybird
1983
there is the additional signature of JS

Pheasants

Robin

Woodpecker - i
"Payne 83 Worcs"

Woodpecker - ii
"Payne 83 Worcs"

Mrs Oaktree
this is an example of the commissioned thimbles painted by Graham Payne
1982
numbered issue of 100
Mrs Oaktree was a Dutch thimble dealer
whose name was Inez Eikeboom
BUY THIS THIMBLE

Worcester Cathedral 900th anniversary
1984
numbered issue of 150

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POOLE POTTERY
POOLE DORSET ENGLAND
Have you ever had the opportunity to visit the Poole Pottery in Poole, on the south coast of England? It was such a happy experience back in 1973 to visit and to watch the artists at this pottery with the gorgeous handpainted pottery, set right on the quay at Poole.
The internet suggests there are now 2 potteries operating - the original in Poole and another in Staffordshire - those in these areas may know?
Once I became a thimble collector a decade later, I was determined to find a Poole thimble for my collection. The thimble output is very small so it should be relatively easy for you to find their whole output?
Two thimble designs featured in the monthly TCC club thimbles for their members - Country Berries and Seagulls: the latter dates from 1986. According to the accompanying leaflet Poole Pottery began in 1873, where they manufactured ceramic tiles, with their clays coming from the Dorset Hills. Using regional artists, they contributed their talents to Poole Pottery.
Their thimble range would date to the 1980s.
"The Hallmarked Thimbles of the World's Great Porcelain Houses" set of 50 issued by the Thimble Collectors Club in 1985, features the Poole Pottery dolphin logo for the Poole thimbles.
One of my favourite issues is the monochrome blue one featuring Poole Quay.
The thimbles are sturdy - a bit reminiscent of Coalport thimbles - and well made with no gilding and one could go far to find this quality in thimbles today. Some of the thimbles have a ridged self-pattern around the rim.


Poole Pottery backstamp
in gold

Poole Pottery box - i

Poole Pottery box - ii


The Hallmarked Thimbles of the World's Great Porcelain Houses
featuring their dolphin logo

Country Berries
based on their Cranbourne dinnerware pattern
Thimble Collectors Club [L]
different shape [R] - none-TCC

kingfishers

Seabirds
Thimble Collectors Club

Poole Quay

dolphins logo

Cymbeline
ridged rim

their traditional painting
ridged rim

their traditional painting

Scorpio - zodiac sign
ridged rim

Virgo - zodiac sign
ridged rim

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PORSGRUND
NORWAY
It was only in the last month or so that I received an enquiry about these Norwegian porcelain thimbles. I knew the porcelain house only by name as I do have one of their thimbles in my collection. The enquirer asked how many dated thimbles were issued - their collection were for annual thimbles from 1978 to 1985. That amounts to eight thimbles.
At that stage I hadn't even realised my own example was dated - yes it's the 1984 thimble.
That is the hunt I enjoy - are there more than eight annual thimbles issued by this Norwegian house? eBay yielded very few results and there is precious little other information anywhere.
In 1885 Johan Jeremiassen founded this porcelain house on the Porsgrund River in Norway.
Like many of their Danish counterparts, Porsgrund issued annual porcelain Christmas plates. Their first dates back to 1909 but the next only featured from 1968 and continues to today.
When the late 1970s collectables thimbles market took off, Porsgrund joined the fray and produced high quality annual thimbles - with the main colours being gold and blue. Again like many other porcelain houses, their run was short. I can find no other Porsgrund thimbles - they weren't featured in either of the Porcelain Houses set of 25 nor the Hallmarked set of 50 Porcelain Houses of the World. There are no Thimble Collectors Club (TCC) issues either. So another Scandinavian niche quality set to source! And my initial enquirer will be so chuffed to have the answer to her enquiry, I know!
Any other relevant information would be warmly received.


Porsgrund maker's mark together with their limited edition mark


1978

1979

1980

1981

1982

1983

1984
limited to 5000 pieces

1985

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QUEEN VICTORIA COMMEMORATIVES

I recently won a sterling silver thimble on eBay that commemorated the visit of Victoria & Albert to Scotland in Sept 1842. This thimble was an exciting find for me, as we had just returned from the most wonderful cruise in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. This has prompted me to update the chapter of Dorothy Friend's British commemorative and souvenir thimbles of 1987. Her chapter 2 is entitled 'The years 1837-1901' which covers the entire reign of Queen Victoria.
In this year of Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee, it is interesting to look back over the thimbles produced for her reign 1952- . Sadly there is only one silver thimble design produced in England for QEII's diamond jubilee, where there is a plethora of china "cheap and cheerfuls" - something unheard of during Queen Victoria's reign. By contrast there were 12 different sterling silver thimbles produced for the ascension of Queen Victoria in 1838.
Many of the thimbles produced about Victoria attempted to record the many events of her life especially in the early and later parts of her reign and these are in the form of raised lettering around the thimbles recording the event. To feature in this section there should be a date, which is different from the Victorian (ie era) Scenic thimbles.
Most of these thimbles are not hallmarked, nor do we know at this stage who made them.
They are rare too, being the age they are!
A word of caution here - replicas and reproductions! During the 1980s both Stephen Frost and Westair Reproductions made pewter thimbles that feature Victoria - Westair's is not even a replica - it is just lettered 'Victoria & Albert 1840'. Frost's is a reproduction of the 1897 jubilee thimble. Both are heavy and should NOT be confused with sterling silver - the weight should be a dead giveaway!!
I have tried to keep the order consecutive using the last date mentioned on the thimbles - some of the later thimbles bear no date but the event is well recorded!
This new topic complements two of Thimbleselect's earlier topics - British Royalty on thimbles and Victorian Silver Scenic thimbles.
I have not repeated commemorative thimbles of Victoria from these topics.


1838
young Queen Victoria's profile
with royal flowers:- roses shamrocks & a crown in relief
commemorates Victoria's coronation
no lettering on this thimble
sterling silver



1838
Hail Victoria
commemorates Victoria's coronation
nickel



1838
Queen Victoria born May 24 1819
Ascended to the throne June 20 1837
Crowned June 28 1838

the outline of a crown completes the design
commemorates Victoria's coronation
sterling silver
this thimble was not recorded by Friend



1838
Queen Victoria born May 24 1819
Ascended to the throne June 20 1837
Crowned June 28 1838

with outline of a crowned figure
commemorates Victoria's coronation
sterling silver
in original box with similar lettering
this thimble was not recorded by Friend



1838
Queen Victoria born May 24 1819
Ascended to the throne June 20 1837
Crowned June 28 1838
Heaven protect our sovereign lady

that last line is lettered around the rim
the outline of a crown completes the design
commemorates Victoria's coronation
sterling silver



1838
Victoria
lettered amongst royals flowers
her profile with a wreath
commemorates Victoria's coronation
sterling silver



1838
Victoria 1st
crowned June 28th 1838

with royal flowers & crown
narrow band with patterned rim
commemorates Victoria's coronation
sterling silver

1838
Victoria 1st
crowned June 28th 1838

with royal flowers & crown
patterned rim
commemorates Victoria's coronation
sterling silver

1838
Victoria 1st
crowned June 28th 1838

with royal flowers & crown
medium band with smooth rim
commemorates Victoria's coronation
sterling silver

1838
Victoria 1st
crowned June 28th 1838

with royal flowers & a crown
patterned rim
commemorates Victoria's coronation
nickel plate or brass



1838
Victoria crown'd 28 June 1838
commemorates Victoria's coronation
sterling silver



1838
Victoria our hope
commemorates Victoria's coronation
sterling silver



1838
V R
with a crown
commemorates Victoria's coronation
royal flowers:- shamrock thistle rose
sterling silver
this thimble was recorded by Friend in 1988

1838
V R
with a crown
commemorates Victoria's coronation
royal flowers:- shamrock thistle rose
sterling silver
patterned rim
this thimble was recorded by Friend in 1988



1840
there is no lettering on this thimble
facing profiles in cameos of Queen Victoria and Albert
with royal flowers on the verso & small royal flowers & crowns flanking the cameos
on very wide band
commemorates Victoria's marriage
sterling silver
with faceted rim


1840
no lettering on the thimbles
facing profiles in cameos of Queen Victoria and Albert
with royal flowers:- rose thistle daffodil shamrocks& a crown
commemorates Victoria's marriage
sterling silver boxed sewing sets
consisting of matching thimble - emery - tape measure



1840
Royal wedding Victoria Albert July 10 1840 Born ...
with crown
commemorates Victoria's marriage
sterling silver
unusual patterning at rim



1840
Victoria and Albert
joint profiles in cameo of Queen Victoria and Albert
on very wide band
commemorates Victoria's marriage
sterling silver
with thistles, roses, shamrock & foliage supporting the cameos

1840
Victoria and Albert
joint profiles in cameo of Queen Victoria and Albert
commemorates Victoria's marriage
with slightly different profiles
sterling silver
with royal flowers around band
faceted rim



1840
Victoria and Albert Feb'y 10, 1840
commemorates Victoria's marriage
sterling silver
wriggle work or stylised leaf patterning
faceted rim



1840
Victoria born May 24 1819
Albert born Augst 26 1819
Married at St Jamess Palace Feb'y 10 1840

that last lettering is around the rim
flanked by their profiles facing each other
commemorates Victoria's marriage
sterling silver
this thimble was recorded by Friend in 1988

1840
Victoria born May 24 1819
Albert born Augst 26 1819
Married at St Jamess Palace Feb'y 10 1840

that last lettering is around the rim
flanked by their profiles facing each other
commemorates Victoria's marriage
sterling silver
original cardboard thimble box
lettered 'Nuptial thimble'



1840
Victoria R Th ...
with small crown & royal flowers
commemorates Victoria's marriage
sterling silver
faceted rim



1840
Heaven protect our Sovereign Lady
around the rim
commemorates the birth of Princess Victoria's eldest daughter Victoria
with Victoria receiving a baby from a female figure
with castle & trees on verso
sterling silver
this thimble was recorded by Friend in 1991



1840
Long may she live and the country be prosperous
The Princess Royal born at Buckingham Palace Nov 21st 1840
Heaven protect our Sovereign Lady

that last lettering is around the rim
commemorates the birth of Princess Victoria's eldest daughter Victoria
seated Britannia with a cherub-like child
sterling silver
this thimble was recorded by Friend in 1991



1841
Queen Victoria born May 24 1819
Ascended to the throne June 20 1837
Crowned June 28 1838
Married PE Albert Feb 10 1840
The Princess Royal born Novr 21 1840
Christened at Buckingham Palace Feby 10 1841

commemorates the christening of Princess Victoria's eldest daughter Victoria
on very wide band
the lettering is continuous to record the whole event
sterling silver
this thimble was recorded by Friend in 1993



1841
Princess Royal 1841
commemorates Princess Victoria's new title
brass
this thimble was recorded by Friend in 1988



1841
commemorates the birth of Prince Albert
Prince of Wales feathers
on very wide band
two cornucopias on verso with Ich Dien
no other lettering on this thimble
sterling silver

1841
commemorates the birth of Prince Albert
Prince of Wales feathers
on medium band
two cornucopias on verso with Ich Dien
no other lettering on this thimble
sterling silver

1841
commemorates the birth of Prince Albert
Prince of Wales feathers
on wide band
two cornucopias on verso with Ich Dien
no other lettering on this thimble
sterling silver
faceted rim



1841
Prince of Wales our future hope
Heir to the British throne born Nov. 9 1841
May Britains hopes be realised

that last lettered is around the rim
commemorates the birth of Prince Albert
Prince of Wales feathers on verso
sterling silver
this thimble was recorded by Friend in 1993



1842
Heir to the British throne
Born Nov 9th 1841
Prince of Wales our future hope
Christened at Windsor Castle Jan 25 1842

that last line is lettered around rim
commemorates the christening of Prince Albert
Britannia handing a baby to a female figure
sterling silver
this thimble was not recorded by Friend



1842
Victoria & Albert
Visited Scotland
Sept 1842

the raised lettering is read across - separated by a crown in relief
two bunches of thistles on verso
sterling silver
this thimble was recorded by Friend in 1991



1887
Jubilee V.R. 1887
lettered at rim
sterling silver
maker's mark KT
Birmingham 1886
this thimble was not recorded by Friend



1887
Victoria Jubilee
lettered at rim
with an outline of a crown
brass
& some are nickel silver
probably made by Charles Iles



1887
Victoria Jubilee
raised lettering on band
over striations
brass
probably made by Charles Iles
this thimble was not recorded by Friend



1897
37 VR 97
in relief in three shields
over striations
sterling silver with gold band
this thimble was not recorded by Friend

1897
37 VR 97
in relief in three shields
over striations
made by James Fenton
Birmingham 1897
sterling silver
this thimble was not recorded by Friend



1897
Coronation commemoration VICTORIA 1837-1897
metal
probably made by Charles Iles
this thimble was not recorded by Friend



1897
In commemoration of the Diam| 1837-1897 |ond Jubilee of Queen Victoria
the lettering is in relief in a band; the lower band has three roundels - a crown - Victoria's profile in old age - VR cypher; these are complemented by a rose, thistles & a shamrock; sterling silver/9ct gold; there are also sterling silver & gilt versions; where the roundels are gilded; made by Deakin & Francis [D&F] & their maker's mark is lettered on the rim; the thimbles are not assayed (no hallmarks) but they are sized; the Registered design number 295282 is lettered on the rim; the design was registered by the goldsmiths Hamilton & Inches of Edinburgh on 6 March 1897; the example has rare blackberry indentations

I understand that fraudulent sterling silver copies made their way onto the market in the 1990s - so buyer beware!!
On reading a 2001 article on these fakes in At your Fingertips I understand that the fakes weigh 6.9grams where as the originals weigh 6.3grams!!


1897
there are various versions with different indentations
sterling silver
these examples are assayed for Birmingham 1897


1897
silver & gilt version

1897
the box for the gold version
red leather bell-shaped box
lettered By Appointment on the inner lid
with the Royal coat-of-arms

1897
the box for the silver version
lettered By Appointment on the inner lid
with the Royal coat-of-arms

1897
original presentation Hamilton and Inches box


THE QUEEN'S RECORD THIMBLE THE BEST OF ALL
Charles Iles
metal
according to Thimble Society of London
this thimble was made to commemorate Queen Victoria's Jubilee
tho this was a Registered design No 291339
this number was not placed on the thimble
as the RD was for the Queen's Record counter case, registered by Charles Iles in 1897
click to see the TSL article



occasion unknown
Long live Queen Victoria
central rose & foliage on verso of band
brass
this thimble was not recorded by Friend

occasion unknown
Long live Queen Victoria
brass with patterned rim
this thimble was not recorded by Friend



occasion unknown
Long live Victoria
brass
this thimble was not recorded by Friend



occasion unknown
Victoria lettered in relief
with foliage & a crown
faceted rim
sterling silver
this thimble was not recorded by Friend



occasion unknown
Victoria
with garlands over striations on verso
nickel plate?
this thimble was not recorded by Friend



occasion unknown
V R
with a crown in between
brass with its thimble holder
this thimble was not recorded by Friend

QV modern commemoratives or replicas


1980s
pewter replica
Stephen Frost - blackberry indentations
there is a hole in the rim of these replicas to signify the reproduction
BUY THIS THIMBLE

1980s
Victoria 1840 Albert
pewter replica
Westair Reproductions
the accompanying box gives the details of the reproduction
but once separated this seems to be an 1840 thimble - NO!!
BUY THIS THIMBLE

1986
Birth of Prince of Wales 1841
sterling silver London
Charterhouse Mint
from a set of 12 replica thimbles, Thimbles through the Ages reproductions
they are correctly hallmarked with their date of manufacture

1986
Christening of Prince of Wales 1842
sterling silver London
Charterhouse Mint
from a set of 12 replica thimbles, Thimbles through the Ages reproductions
they are correctly hallmarked with their date of manufacture

1987
Philip D A Campbell
Tobermory Scotland
Throned 1937 VR
150th anniversary of the ascension of Queen Victoria 1837-1987
Edinburgh 1987

date unknown
Christening of Prince of Wales 1842
sterling silver
thicker in all aspects from the original

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ROYAL COPENHAGEN PORCELAIN THIMBLES
COPENHAGEN DENMARK
This is my third and final favourite Danish thimble maker and their blue and white thimbles are amongst some of the finest and smallest collection of the Danish thimble producers.
Royal Copenhagen thimbles do not carry the backstamp inside, as most other porcelain thimbles - they are featured on the verso of the thimble.
The RC backstamp is made up of three wavy lines - these symbolise Denmark's main waterways to the Baltic - the Sound - The Great Belts - The Little Belts - and these lines are surmounted by a crown.
The scenes are named in Danish in italic lettering.
Franklin Mint's Thimbles of the Worlds' Porcelain Houses [1980] and TCC's The Hallmarked Thimbles of the World's Great Porcelain Houses [1985] both commissioned Royal Copenhagen thimbles for their series.
Sadly their thimbles were only made in the early 1980s.


Royal Copenhagen backstamp

Royal Copenhagen thimble box

Royal Copenhagen building in 1900


Amagertorv
this is the Royal Copenhagen building which incorporates their store - their address is Amagertorv 6!!

H C Andersen

Den Lille Havfrue

Flora Danica
from their dinner service pattern
for Franklin Mint's Thimbles of the Worlds' Porcelain Houses set of 25
with a gold crown

TCC's The Hallmarked Thimbles of the World's Great Porcelain Houses set of 50
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SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE THIMBLES
When you think of Sydney in terms of its landmarks, does the Sydney Opera House spring to mind? With its iconic shape, designed by the Danish architect Jorn Utzen, it has become the most recognised Australian "building".
From 24th March 2014 the Sydney Opera House shape will be a registered trademark. This has been taken out by the Opera House Trust and its shape will be trademarked - its logo and image are already trademarks. It will be the first building fully trademarked in Australia. It will no longer be appropriate to use the image for commercial purposes or part of a brand. According to an article in The Australian on 25 January 2014, it's "souvenir shops beware". The only outlet for souvenirs featuring the Sydney Opera House will be merchandise made for the Opera House Trust.
How does this affect thimble collectors? There were thimbles with the image of the Sydney Opera House produced during the 1980s, which was the decade when the most collectables thimbles appeared in Australia. It may be the sort of thematic thimble collection that would appeal and there would now be a finite number to look for. Who would now produce thimbles with a using a trademarked image?
Having produced the book Thimbles of Australia in 1998 I am familiar with these SOH image thimbles and I thought it worthwhile reproducing them here. There may be dozens more but these would only be of the type on Taiwanese blanks (none seen to date) or firehydrants of which I have only included a few, more as an example of the type.
Of the under thirty examples of SOH thimbles, only two were commissioned for the Sydney Opera House shop. You may notice that these thimbles also feature the other Sydney icon: the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Some were produced after the publication of Thimbles of Australia.
I have grouped the thimbles in the order that they appear in my book (ie by what they are made of)
As I don't own all of these thimbles, if you have better or clearer photos, please share.


Zygmunt Libucha
Brisbane
sterling silver
1980s

Connoisseur
china
late 1990s

Birchcroft
fine bone china
Pan Arts of Sydney commissioned these thimbles for Sydney's sesquicentenary (1847-1992)
part of Pan Arts Collectables Australia Series No. 28
1992

Birchcroft
fine bone china

Caverswall
England
china
from Capital cities of Australia set
features NSW's waratah on the verso
1980s

Ken Parry
bone china
part of Pan Arts Collectables Australia Series No. 5
mid 1980s

Pan Arts Collectables
bone china
Australia Series No. 20
1980s

Pan Arts Collectables
bone china
Australia Series No. 35
produced when Sydney won Olympics, using the Olympic colours
1990s

Pan Arts Collectables
bone china
Australia Series No. 40-41 (not lettered on thimbles)
pair of similar thimbles
Left: Australia celebrates the Millennium
Right: Sydney celebrates 2000
2000

Pan Arts Collectables
bone china
Special Series No. 1 (not lettered on thimbles)
commissioned by the Opera House shop
mid 1980s

Sutherland China
England
china
To commemorate the Australian bicentenary and the Visit of the Prince & Princess of Wales
commissioned by Scotland Direct/The Thimble Guild
1988

Wedgwood
England
jasperware
2000s

unmarked china

Crummles Enamels
England
enamel and brass
commissioned by the Opera House shop
1980s?

Cloisonne (enamel and brass)
Chinese
2000s

Exquisite Creations
England
pewter
1980s

Stephen Frost of Warwick Models
England
pewter
1980s

Pan Arts Pewter
Sydney
pewter
1989-1990s

Riccardo's Pewter
Sydney
pewter
1980s

WAPH Pewter
England
handpainted pewter

Robert Herron
Tasmania
handpainted blackwood
2000

Robert Herron
Tasmania
handpainted
sold thru Gimbels in Maine USA
2001

Keith Adams & Peter Grossman
Port Macquarie and Sydney
commissioned by Pan Arts, Sydney
handpainted wooden top hats
three-dimensional silver with opal atop
1980s?

Indonesian
handpainted in dot-painting
2000s

Malcolm Walter
South Australia
German crystal with sterling silver
1990s

various firehydrants

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KAY THETFORD-KENDALL STERLING SILVER THIMBLES
ENGLAND
This English silversmith designed and made her silver thimbles during the early 1980s, with a few new designs in the 1990s. The Thimble Society of London regularly stocked her thimbles - with moulded small animals around the thimbles with rounded apexes - from 1983 onwards. In 1998, they obtained for sale the last examples of Kay's collectable thimbles, as Kay had by then moved on to sculpting lifesize figures.
Kay's maker's mark is DWK and it is registered at the London Assay Office. It seems that her husband Donald W Kendall registered the mark, hence the confusion, as they don't feature Kay's name. The first hallmarks were for 1982 and the last ones were for 1997.
There seem to be some "ring-ins" - poor, cast copies of Kay's popular designs - the apexes are always flat and the maker's marks are very indistinct or missing.
These thimbles were being reproduced in Turkey in the 2000s - so look for very clear hallmarks to know you have a genuine DWK thimble!!
Designs have changed over the decade but her themes recurred - I have tried to indicate the first year these were made. Some designs have indentations, others have elongated striped indentations.
There were 2 commemoratives made by Kendall - in 1986.
The names ascribed are mine alone and are purely descriptive.


Kay Thetford-Kendall's maker's mark


teddy bear
1983

butterfly
1988

cat
1984

dog
1984

fox
1984
thimble on L is a Turkish reproduction in 2000s

fish
1984
thimble on R is a Turkish reproduction in 2000s

frog
1984 / 1986 / 1988

hedgehog
1984 / 1997
photo C Meacham
mouse
1983 / 1993

owl
1983 / 1997

Halley's Comet 1986
commissioned by The Thimble Society of London

Statue of Liberty 1888-1986
commissioned by The Thimble Society of London
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THIMBLE CRAFT BY SHIRLEY PORCELAIN THIMBLES
ENGLAND
My mail-order thimble business, Thimbleselect was born in May 1987 and shortly afterwards I was contacted by Shirley Hewett to ask if I would be her South African thimble agent. As I knew we would be migrating to Australia later that year, I had to decline. By sheer serendipity I was visiting England shortly afterwards and was able to talk to Shirley and Martin - sadly there was no time for a visit to Ilford in Essex to meet them in person. Martin had joined Shirley in the business and he registered the business name of Thimble Craft.
By the time I had settled in Australia, there was another thimble agent for Shirley's thimbles in Australia.
By that time I was very familiar with the porcelain thimbles from Thimble Craft by Shirley. Her thimbles were featured on a regular basis in The Thimble Collectors Guild - later known as The Thimble Guild - catalogues from The Thistle Mill in Scotland.
My copies of the Guild's catalogues only date back to 1986, but a recent check of their catalogues to late 1985, they were not being promoted by the Guild, so 1986 has to be her starting date? By 1993 thimbles from Shirley ceased - was that the end of her thimble production? Shirley and Martin Hewett were familiar faces to thimble collectors, as Shirley's thimbles were also sold by them at fairs in England.
I have tried to feature thimbles from Thimble Craft in the order they were issued and any errors are mine alone. Shirley's output was original and she never stopped experimenting and I know that I have only touched the tip of the iceberg!! Her thimbles appeared in the Guild catalogues for sale monthly during 1989, so that year would have been the zenith of production from this talented maker of thimbles for the collectables market.
I have used the names used in the Guild catalogues - whether these were Shirley's or from the Guild, who knows? For most of the time that the Guild promoted Thimble Craft thimbles, they spelled her surname "Hewitt". It was only from June 1990 that her correctly spelled name of Hewett was used! This has led to many errors over the years.
Shirley also produced thimble holders and the most commonly found shape is a shoe - this combined a pincushion into the heel of the shoe.
Shirley's thimbles have sometimes been described as handpainted, but as far as I can ascertain, most of her designs were commercially available decals.
As her expertise grew, Shirley created many novelty - fun - thimbles.
A Google search reveals that Shirley and Martin Hewett now produce cufflinks and spoons using coins and operate under the name Coin Jewellers. They have been doing this for the past 15 years.
If you have photos in colour to replace the black and white ones, I'd love to hear from you - or if you know the dates they were made - or any other info - please share!
I had no idea that Shirley produced so many commemoratives - did you? Most have surfaced since I created this topic!!
If you are a member of Thimble Collectors International please be sure to re-read Mave Wiskin's excellent article in the Spring 2009 issue of the TCI Bulletin.

photo Mave Wiskin
general backstamp

1988 perfumed thimble backstamp

photo Mave Wiskin
Jewelled bouquet
blue porcelain
7 stones set into the apex
July 1986
photo Mave Wiskin
Black bouquet
black and silver-grey porcelain
7 stones set into the apex
September 1986
photo Mave Wiskin
Christmas 1986
mistletoe & holly
7 red stones set into the apex
December 1986

Shades of blue
blue porcelain
7 sapphire blue stones set into the apex
February 1987
black and white photo
photo Mave Wiskin
Pretty in pink
pink, gold and silver porcelain
7 pink crystals set into the apex
May 1987

Thimble clog
blue flowers and leaves on white porcelain
thimble holder
includes pincushion in heel
gold rims
June 1987

Thimble whistle
whistle incorporated into apex
small size
July 1987
black and white photo

Perfumed thimble
fine bone china
some designs named Oriental Rose
the porous top within the apex
making the thimble very shallow
scented rose oil
22ct gold band
January 1988

Amber rose
orange roses
7 amber stones set into the apex
22ct gold band
August 1987
photo Mave Wiskin
Last rose of summer
hexagonal-shaped porcelain
7 pink crystals set into the apex
October 1987

Finger guard
porcelain with lilac flowers
cutaway for longer nails
22ct gold bands
February 1988

Green crystal rose
porcelain
7 green crystals set into the apex
22ct gold band
March 1988

Floral magnetic thimble
pale pink porcelain
concealed magnet in apex
22ct gold bands
April 1988

Green and white porcelain frog
two colour porcelain - matt apex
22ct gold bands
April 1988

Little Dutch thimble girl
porcelain with two thimble pails
one with a pincushion
22ct gold bands
3 inches high
June 1988

Butterfly on rose
pink porcelain and bone china
gold bands
July 1988

Musical
plays No place like home
when opening on apex
is exposed to light
large size = 42mm
certificate
August 1988

Digitabulist at night
porcelain
22ct gold band
1450 made
available in 2 sizes
October 1988

Thimble shoe
porcelain thimble holder
includes pincushion in heel
22ct gold decoration
the thimble is smaller than usual
495 made
December 1988

Thimble fairy
porcelain
3 22ct gold bands
1/2 inch high
also available with 'Elfen Vingerhut'
January 1989

'Cat' thimble holder
porcelain
22ct gold decoration
950 made
February 1989

For a good girl
porcelain
3 22ct gold bands
January 1989

Just a thimbleful
grey porcelain
22ct gold bands
a Dutch thimble 'Een Vingerhoed Vol'
33mm high
March 1989

Thimble ring
porcelain tailor's thimble
indented on the reverse
22ct gold bands
1000 made
also available with maroon flowers
April 1989

Festival of Food and Farming 1989
commemorative
porcelain
22ct gold decoration
Shirley attended this festival, held in Hyde Park
taller shape
May 1989

Yellowhammer
2 forms of porcelain - matt apex
22ct gold bands
June 1989

Hedgehog
2 forms of porcelain - black matt apex
22ct gold bands
July 1989
photo Mave Wiskin
Silver, ruby or gold anniversary
hexagonal cream porcelain for silver
7 crystals set into the apex
the ground and crystal colour to match lettering
silver (25th) - ruby (40th) - gold (50th)
October 1989

Home sweet home
porcelain
3 22ct gold bands
October 1989

Merry Xmas 1989

Thimble clock
pewter
cogs, sprigs, cogs and sprockets
in relief with names of famous horologists
open lid to reveal working digital clock
When Shirley sent my thimble clock, she had set it to Australian time!!
March 1990

Imagination
bowed and fluted hexagonal porcelain
22ct gold band
small size
May 1990
photo Mave Wiskin
Meissen
porcelain
hand indented
22ct gold bands
950 made
June 1990
photo Mave Wiskin
Thimble Exchange Circle
cobalt blue porcelain
commemorative
Founded by Ruth Baum and Kay Gardiner
London/Essex
1984-1990
3 22ct gold bands
1990

Queen Mother's 90th birthday
commemorative 1900-1900
cobalt blue porcelain + shoe thimble holder
the thimble that fits inside the shoe is smaller
July - August 1990

Rose Festival 1990
commemorative
porcelain
photo Mave Wiskin
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 1991
commemorative
porcelain
3 22ct gold bands

Merry Christmas 1991 - 1
porcelain
3 22ct gold bands
November 1991

Merry Christmas 1991 - 2

Vrolijk Kerstfees 1991
3 22 ct gold bands
photo Mave Wiskin
Crystal rose
orange rose
porcelain
7 orange crystals set into apex
22ct gold band
September 1992
photo Mave Wiskin
The ADSA Festival of Food & Farming 1992 I
commemorative
porcelain
22ct gold decoration
taller shape
photo Mave Wiskin
The ADSA Festival of Food & Farming 1992 II
commemorative
porcelain
22ct gold decoration
taller shape

Royal blue
cobalt blue porcelain
commemorative of Queen Elizabeth's
40 years since coronation
3 gold bands
May 1993
photo Mave Wiskin
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
commemorative
cobalt blue porcelain
3 22ct gold bands
August 1993

date of manufacture unknown
photo Mave Wiskin
clog thimble holder
also available with turquoise ground
date of manufacture unknown

date of manufacture unknown

flower
turquoise porcelain
hexagonal
date of manufacture unknown

large size
date of manufacture unknown

Musical
plays tune
when opening on apex
is exposed to light
large size = 42mm
date of manufacture unknown
photo Mave Wiskin
roses
yellow porcelain
date of manufacture unknown
photo Mave Wiskin photo Mave Wiskin
fingernail-shaped
green porcelain
also available in pink, blue, yellow, white
with different flowers
date of manufacture unknown
photo Mave Wiskin
floral
pink porcelain
date of manufacture unknown

siamese cat
2 forms of porcelain - black matt apex
date of manufacture unknown
photo Mave Wiskin
orange rose
green porcelain
7 green crystals set into apex
date of manufacture unknown
photo Mave Wiskin
ridged
pink hexagonal porcelain
date of manufacture unknown
photo Mave Wiskin
single crystal set in apex
porcelain
date of manufacture unknown
photo Mave Wiskin
yellow porcelain
date of manufacture unknown
photo Mave Wiskin
green hexagonal porcelain
date of manufacture unknown
photo Mave Wiskin
months
date of manufacture unknown
photo Mave Wiskin
For my sister
porcelain
3 22ct gold bands
date of manufacture unknown

For my sister
date of manufacture unknown

salt and pepper cruet set
porcelain
click to see the other side
date of manufacture unknown

Stitch in time
date of manufacture unknown

red flowers all round
hexagonal porcelain
date of manufacture unknown

flower
porcelain
date of manufacture unknown

ram
is this part of a series of zodiac signs?
could this be for Aries?
porcelain
date of manufacture unknown

glass
with Fragonard scene
funny that Shirley still kept her porcelain backstamp!!
date of manufacture unknown

For my friend
porcelain
date of manufacture unknown

porcelain
large size
date of manufacture unknown

green rings over gold
date of manufacture unknown

Sweetheart
orange rose
yellow porcelain
with 7 orange crystals set into apex
date of manufacture unknown
slight variations

hexagonal porcelain
date of manufacture unknown

clog thimble holder with bird
date of manufacture unknown

shamrocks
date of manufacture unknown

flower
black porcelain
date of manufacture unknown

music
date of manufacture unknown

Mum
date of manufacture unknown
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GEORGE UNITE STERLING SILVER THIMBLES
& SEWING TOOLS

BIRMINGHAM ENGLAND
When I completed my topics on Samuel Foskett and Charles May, I thought I'd covered the last of the minor Victorian English thimble silversmiths. I don't have a George Unite thimble in my own collection, so I guess he wasn't really on my radar?
George Unite [pronounced without a strong "e" at the end] is one of the earliest "modern" Victorian thimble makers. His marks were registered in 1832 at the Birmingham Assay Office and they ceased all silver production, in 1928 when the firm's name was George Unite and Sons.
The first recorded hallmark date for one of this thimble maker's thimbles is 1872. There may be many more unhallmarked Unite thimbles around - they just didn't have to be hallmarked by law in England before 1884.
Thimbles formed a very small part of this prolific silversmith's output but he did make a range of needlework tools - including chatelaines. He produced gold thimbles and silver thimblefuls as well.
I haven't come across a thimble by Unite yet with a size marking. Have you?


George Unite's maker's mark


1872

1876
Just a Thimbleful

1894
with angels
photo William Isbister

1896
blackberry

1897
with Lizzie engraved on the band

1897

1899
with angels
photo William Isbister

1900
blackberry
photo William Isbister

1900

1901

1904

1913

1925
9 carat gold

scenic thimble in silver-gilt
showing a train on a bridge

Just a Thimbleful
with blue enamel

1876
spoolholder
probably made as an attachment for a chatelaine

1898 / 1899
thimble holder bucket
attachment for a chatelaine
L showing velvet lining

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VICTORIAN GOLD & STERLING SILVER THIMBLES WITH GIRLS' NAMES
ENGLAND
What a delightful find this small thematic topic is!
At first glance they may seem to have been engraved by a Victorian jeweller - from the oldie-worldie girls' and women's names?
No, no - these are the way the thimbles were made by the Victorian silversmiths; with the names in high relief. Thanks to Norma Spicer and Di Pelham Burn's excellent reference book on Registered designs on thimbles, we even know who made some of these thimbles.
All the names are in upper case but you may notice that there is more than one thimble maker involved, with the variety of lettering = at least three or even four?
In 1887, D & Lionel Spiers of Birmingham registered [RD 75400] their design of girls' names on thimbles with large Gothic letters. Spier names encountered to date are for Alice, Anne, Clara, Edith. Jane, Kate, Lucy, Maude and Sarah - were there more by Spiers?
The thimbles with the daisy patterning are obviously made by the same maker. These names are for Maggie and Nellie. The former has the maker's marks for B&P for Bent & Parker; Nellie has a different maker's mark HP. The girls' names are slightly smaller but still in Gothic upper case. Then there is Pollie ( i ) and Ida, again in a plainer Gothic script - the former is made by B&P.
There is even a gold thimble produced in the 1840s - probably made in VERY small numbers?

Check this new thimble research link for really interesting data & superb photos


RD number 75400 registered by D & Lionel Spiers in 1887
there is a leafy pattern on the verso of the band

PP number 14988 registered by Bent & Parker [B&P]
on a Polly ( i ) Birmingham 1883 thimble


ALICE
D & Lionel Spiers

ANNE
D & Lionel Spiers

BEATRICE
Gothic lettering
gold with a moonstone apex
1840s

CLARA
D & Lionel Spiers
Birmingham 1887

EDITH
D & L Spiers
name or photo as a mirror image!!
photo: Norma Spicer

EVA

HARRIETT
Gothic lettering
gold

IDA
Birmingham 1893
with feathery leaf band

JANE
D & Lionel Spiers

KATE
Lionel Spiers

LUCY
Lionel Spiers
Birmingham 1887
RD75400

MAGGIE
Bent & Parker
1893
PP 14988

MAUDE
D & Lionel Spiers

NELLIE
HP
Birmingham 1899

POLLY - ( i )
Bent & Parker
Birmingham 1883
PP 14988

POLLY - ( ii )
James Fenton
Birmingham 1905

SARAH
Lionel Spiers
RD75400

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WHO MADE THESE NAMED THIMBLES?
None of the following named thimbles - "AUSSIE" - Coroza Silver - Elfin - Invicta - fall into any of the above themes nor makers nor in previous topics, but they are worth recording - in the hope that someone one day will know who made them.

If and when the makers' names come to light, I will leave them in this section, as they were all made in the first half of the 20th century and the information can be shared with all questioning thimble collectors!!

"AUSSIE"

For those of you who collect Australian silver thimbles, this thimble has always been a puzzle as to the maker. Featured in my Thimbles of Australia, published in 1998, on pages 19-20, the maker still remains unknown 14 years after publication.
Whilst researching Aussie thimbles, I was able to access every issue of the Australian jewellery trade magazine Commonwealth Jeweller and Watchmaker from 1916 to 1970 and I never found mention of either the maker or a mention of the Aussie thimble! So even if it was imported, it was not being marketed here either.

"AUSSIE" is lettered in capitals between inverted commas, on the narrow band. On the verso, the following lettering appears in four separate lozenges - STS + maker's mark in between, which could be an anvil on its side or a flag + S L in a separate lozenge each. Interpret these marks as Sterling Silver Steel Lined as the AUSSIE thimbles attract a magnet. There are no size marks but all examples seem to be the same size. These are rare thimbles and were never made in any quantity.
There is a scrolled-acanthus pattern above the name with a blank cartouche in a rectangular shape. The rest of the thimble is plainly indented.

There are 3 possible makers in Australia - but it could be none of these.
Aronson & Co of Melbourne registered their maker's mark of a flag, but thimbles known to have been made by Aronson, did not include this maker's mark.
W.F.Cole a manufacturing jeweller of Brisbane, had a maker's mark of an anvil, which was used between 1916 and 1945. No thimbles are ascribed to them.
A. Hiddlestone and Co of Melbourne used the anvil mark between 1914 and 1927. They were bangle specialists!

There is a possibility the thimbles were not even made in Australia - but commissioned for the Australian market. Its construction makes this a distinct possibility!

If you can shed any light on this mystery thimble maker, please share!


"AUSSIE" attracts a magnet

maker's mark

front of thimble

Coroza Silver

This little mystery thimble has had everyone perplexed! Tho the thimble is marked in italics with Coroza Silver, this is not a sterling silver thimble - rather nickel silver.
Just when I thought the above lettering statement was true, a Coroza thimble has turned up with small upper case lettering!!
It is the mystery maker's symbol between the words Coroza and Silver that confuses collectors. It would be easy to mix up this mark with that of Charles Iles' - but the Iles registered maker's mark is an inverted triangle or shield with 3 touching thimbles inside. The Coroza has a triangle with four dots or pellets inside.
The thimbles are sized on the rim.

The lettering - being in italics - is also very similar to the lettering of Charles Iles The... thimbles. Why not then name this The Coroza?

Lastly, look at the little cardboard thimble box - it is very reminiscent of the Charles Iles named thimble boxes.

I believe that Iles is the only English manufacturer, who made millions of base metal thimbles, with a penchant for naming his thimble designs - so on balance he has to be the maker??!!

What do you know or think - was the Coroza Silver thimble made by Charles Iles?

Check this new thimble research link for really interesting data & superb photos


Coroza Silver Thimbles box

Coroza with different lettering!
on a narrower band
photo: W-D Scholz
ELFIN

For those of you who collect Australian silver thimbles, this Australian thimble is also an enigma as to the maker. Featured in my Thimbles of Australia, published in 1998, on pages 21-23, the maker still remains unknown 14 years after publication.
Whilst researching Elfin thimbles, I was able to access every issue of the Australian jewellery trade magazine Commonwealth Jeweller and Watchmaker from 1916 to 1970, the only reference I found was the advertisement for Roy A. Humphery of Sydney for July 1947. He was featured as a "Wholesale Jeweller and Importer" and there is a photo of the Elfin thimble with its distinctive emu footprint type of patterning. The thimble is not named in the advertisement. This identical ad appeared monthly until July 1948. His different ads continued to 1950 but these thimbles were never named Elfin in the ads. The adverts do mention that they were "sterling silver thimbles with steel reinforced ends". Examples of the Elfin do not have any steel in them! Was he referring to the Elfin, when making this claim or was he referring to another thimble?

In John von Hoelle (1986) the Elfin is incorrectly ascribed to Price & Jardine of Sydney. They only made the Australian Nifty thimbles.
Edwin Holmes (1985) erroneously mentions the Elfin thimbles as Elgin. It's time to put those errors to bed!

click to see the July 10 1947 Humphery advert

There are five to six rows of half daisies - or emu footprints - which form the main pattern. The centre of each daisy is off-centre to the one above. This is the only patterning ever found on Elfin thimbles. The apex is plainly indented.
ELFIN is lettered on the narrow band with STG.SIL in a lozenge. The five sizes range from 2 to 6, with 6 being the smallest.
There are no maker's marks.
Two examples of Elfin thimbles have been noted with inscriptions and dates - for 1948 and 1949. This establishes the decade in which they were made but sadly the definitive maker's name has proved elusive. Maybe these thimbles were wholesaled by Humphery from overseas?

If you can shed any light on this mystery, please share!


Elfin thimbles showing different markings

name is poorly struck to appear as Elein

Elfin half daisy pattern
equated to an emu footprint

INVICTA

This last mystery thimble is marked on one side with INVICTA and on the other SILVER. The interesting aspect of this unknown maker's thimble is that there is a lining of steel at the inner rim, which attracts a magnet. I understand that not all Invicta thimbles attract a magnet - mine does! There is more than one pattern to these Invicta thimbles - do you have photos of others?

Compare the Invicta with that which is marked A.CE. That thimble was patented by Alfred Constantine and it is his Rheumatism or Arthritis thimble of 1909. Both the Invicta and A.Ce have the distinctive steel-copper-lined rim on the inner surface of the thimble. Were they both to be used for rheumatic fingers?
There is a definite different shape to these two thimbles - the Invicta thimble has more of a "waist".
In my opinion, Constantine only registered his design but I am sure he is not the maker - did Charles Iles make them? He was the premium English thimble manufacturer of base metal thimbles and is known for his innovative designs.

The first time the Invicta thimble came to my attention was in Diane Pelham Burn’s additions to her Identifying steel-cored thimbles in an update published in January 1994 by the Dorset Thimble Society. It is listed as … “Plain (fine indentations). Marked ‘SILVER’ on band. Inner band of copper & steel”.
The A.Ce arthritis thimbles also featured in the Pelham Burn book, on p27. Di illustrates three different patterns.

In one of the 1950 issues of Commonwealth Jeweller and Watchmaker there is an advertisement for the Australian jewellery trade by Magnus Goldring of Sydney. They were manufacturers of "Britannic" and "Invicta" jewellery, gold & silver goods. The name "Invicta" has to be a coincidence - or not? Maybe they were importing the Invicta thimbles from England as they had incorporated Edwin Harrop, jewellers from London, from 1915.

Can anyone unravel the maker's name of the Invicta thimbles?

click to see the 1950 Goldring advert


Holmes Notes and Queries no 5 -winter 1989
showing the shape & cross-section of Invicta thimbles


Invicta thimbles
C & R photos: W-D Scholz

Silver on verso of Invicta

Invicta inner rims
note copper showing at rim on right
R photo: W-D Scholz

this Invicta attracts a magnet

A.Ce rheumatism thimble
Pat 6253 in 1909
Alfred Constantine - patentee
L photo: W-D Scholz
R photo: I Schwall

A.Ce inner rim
photo: W-D Scholz

return to top

DO YOU KNOW ANY MORE DETAILS ABOUT
ANY OF THESE GREAT THIMBLES and MANUFACTURERS
THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER COLLECTORS?

YOU MAY KNOW OF MISSING THIMBLES or HAVE BETTER PHOTOS

EMAIL thimbleselect@bigpond.com TO SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE.


References

Denis Barber Report on Janet Harper's talk 'History and manufacture of enamel thimbles' At Your Fingertips May 1997. p14-15
Celia & Kevin Barrington Notes on Philip Antrobus thimble maker The Thimble Society of London summer 1999. p16
Roz Belford The Crummles & Co story Collector Circle Gazette Summer 1981. p8-10
Christina Bertrand Queen Victoria jubilee thimble 1837-1897. TCI Bulletin Winter 1995. p13
Dorothy Friend British commemorative and souvenir thimbles. 1987
Dorothy Friend British commemorative and souvenir thimbles update. TCI Bulletin April 1993. p5
Dorothy Friend News of British commemorative thimbles. TCI Bulletin January 1988. p20-1
Dorothy Friend Update for British commemorative and souvenir thimbles. TCI Bulletin January 1990. p20-1
Sue Gowan Invicta thimbles TCI Bulletin Spring 2008. p8-9
Susan Jean Gowan Thimbles of Australia. 1998
Edwin Holmes History of thimbles 1985. p50
Bridget McConnel The Queen's Record thimble The Thimble Society of London autumn 1988. p3
Bridget McConnel The story of the thimble 1997
Di Pelham Burn Identifying steel-cored thimbles 1993. p18
Di Pelham Burn Identifying steel-cored thimbles update. The Dorset Thimble Society's At Your Fingertips January 1994
Norma Spicer & Diane Pelham Burn British registered design thimbles. 2003
Norma Spicer Charles Horner thimbles Charles Horner of Halifax. Tom Lawson. 2002. p116
Norma Spicer Iles: a family of thimble makers. 2001
Norma Spicer The story of a fake thimble. TCI Bulletin Fall 2001. p7
The Thimble Guild
The Thimble Society of London catalogues
John von Hoelle Thimble Collectors Encyclopedia 1986
Mave Wiskin A Passion for Shirley Thimbles! TCI Bulletin Spring 2009. p10-11
Joan Woodward Things are not always what they seem! At Your Fingertips September 2001
Belleek
Poole Pottery
Isbisters' Thimble research on Queen Victorian thimbles


Contributors

Robert Bamforth | Celia & Kevin Barrington | Christina Bertrand | Jenny Scharff Bockel | Sue Burt | Mary Craft | Ros Forster | Micky Garvey | Betty Gerrits | Linda Heggs | Margaret Hickling | William Isbister | Anne Jones | Ann Laibe | Andy Long | Rosie Mladenovic | Pat Morris | Wynneth Mullins | Terry Neilson | Ray Nimmo | Wanda Ralston | Kathleen Rastall | Linda Samaripa | Wolf-Dieter Scholz | Kellie Schultz | Norma Shattock | Sheila | Ian Spriggs | Jean Taylor | Marie-Ann Turnbull | Audrey Turner | Miep van Eijk | Joanna Waciorski | Sue Wilson | Janis Wilton | David Woodhouse | Jan Worthen


This listing of some of my favourite thimbles from various makers and from a range of countries does not purport to be complete or accurate in all aspects
Rather it invites comment and contribution to add to our knowledge of these thimbles
My thanks to the other contributors

Enjoy!


© Sue Gowan
February 2010


THERE ARE 33 "LEARN MORE ABOUT..." TOPICS
Brass Advertising | British Placenames | British Royalty on Thimbles | British Silversmiths | Charles May | Christmas | Coalport
Dorcas Thimble Boxes | Easter | Gadgets | Francesca | Hallmarked Thimbles set | Miscellaneous Thimbles | 'Mother'
The World's Greatest Porcelain Houses | Royal Albert | Royal Crown Derby | Royal Doulton | Royal Worcester Handpainted Thimbles
Royal Worcester Decal Thimbles | S + H Foskett | Silver Advertising Thimbles | Spode | Stratnoid | SylvaC
Thimble Books | Thimble Collectors Club | Thimble Societies | Thimbles with Slogans
Thimblefuls | Victorian Silver Scenic Thimbles | Wedgwood Jasperware | Wedgwood Bone China

THERE ARE 20 PAGES OF THIMBLES & OTHER ITEMS TO BUY
aluminium 1 | books 1 | brass 1 | china 5 | display cases 1
needlework tools 2 | other collectables 1 | pewter 1 | plastic 1
silver 3 | steel & metal 1 | unusual materials 1 | wood 1

Any questions or comments?
thimbleselect@bigpond.com
I do not offer any type of valuation or advice on prices.

  Last updated 2 March 2014  
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