and Antiques Display

Sue Clynick has an amazing collection of antique beaded and metal mesh purses. She had over 75 different purses on display at the James Valley Threshing Show, along with a fascinating collection of vintage women’s clothing, accessories and antiques.

“There were a few things that really sparked my interest in antiques,” Sue said. “I believe there is a little bit of a magpie in many of us who have an attraction to the pretty, shiny things in life. My mom and my grandpa introduced me to antiques at an early age, and colored glass has always been my favorite.”

Sue believes her childhood friend Laura’s mother started her interest in collecting purses. “For my high school graduation, she gave me a black beaded bag with two love birds sitting on a rose, and a cabochon sapphire in the clasp. This special gift has always been my all time favorite,” she said.

“The value of each purse depends on its history and rarity, but the condition is important too,” Sue explained. “If beads are missing, or if enamel from a pattern painted on metal mesh has been worn off, the value decreases.”

Even though she had received her first purse at the age of 18, Sue reports, “I really did not seriously start collecting until I was 30. After my mother passed away, I bought my second purse, one that I had admired for a long time at Lauinger’s Country Store.

It was made of metal mesh and had Neptune’s face and flowing beard on its clasp. After that I would pick one up here and there from auctions or at antique shops until the 90’s and the birth of eBay,” she laughs. “That was when I searched the Internet and found most of the purses I now have.”

Another purse that Sue is very fond of is an Art Deco copper-colored beaded purse with a beaded handle. “I am especially fond of the long matching gloves which also have beads on them. I can just imagine Marilyn Monroe wearing those gloves and carrying that purse when she was alive,” Sue eagerly explained.

“Peacocks were a popular subject on decorated purses and are among my favorites.” Sue explained. “In the display is a gold purse I purchased on eBay even though the picture was very bad. When it arrived, I was surprised to see that it coincidentally has my initials on it.”

“One of my favorite purses was one I bought at an auction in the 1990s,” Sue said. “This unique beaded purse was made of beautiful blue carnival glass beads with a jewel and enameled push button clasp,”

Some of the purses have hand-painted enameling on the clasp. This, too, adds to the value, especially if the painting is in good shape and not chipped.

Sue has more purses than just the ones on display. When she is not displaying them or giving talks about them, she keeps them individually wrapped and safely placed in storage. “The purses, both beaded and metal mesh, cannot be hung for long periods of time,” Sue explains. “The weight of the beads and the metal can cause much damage to the purse itself. Its weight actually causes its own undoing.”

“When I really began to collect purses, I had the help of my two daughters,” Sue said. “Not only was it something we enjoyed doing together, but they have developed a keen eye for purses,” she explained. “A very important part of my collection is the memories I have of the people who gave them to me and the wonderful closeness I shared with my daughters when we found something unique.” Sue shrugs. “Hopefully my daughters and grandchildren will enjoy them for many years after I’m gone.”
(exerpt from story by Dorene Nelson)