I was having a woebegone sort of day at Southern Thrift in Donelson-- not a blamed vintage dress in sight, no old cookbooks with recipes stuck in 'em, and I was listlessly carrying around an unframed 50's Derby winner photo thinking I might overpay for that just to say I'd found SOMETHING-- when what did I spy with my little eye but this, hanging alone and forlorn from the end of a clothing rack?
An original Enid Collins bag? GOOD GOD.
Mine is missing the two gemstones from the peacocks' bodies, but for...drumroll...TWO DOLLARS AND NINETY NINE CENTS...I think I can deal. If I live a hundred years I'll never understand how Southern Thrift in general can place such arbitrary prices on things. And what arbitrary luck I have at finding the ones that slip past their radar.
I'd seen these bags before at estate sales, but just oh-so-rarely, and always shockingly tagged (2.99 would not have been admitted to the same ballpark as these rough-on-my-existing-pocketbook prices). I've seen dozens upon dozens of decoupaged wooden boxes at thrift stores, and have a couple that are kind of Holly Hobbit sweet, with flowers and gingham, but I'll admit, I was not ready for the whizz-bang of Enid Collin's singular pursemaking vision.
Here's the lady herself in her Texas studio, and one of the many "Money Tree" designs, in color, to the right. The one I found is from the same series, but I can't place the year without buying an exclusive guide to dating Enid Collins purses (self published, of course). I've been running into this problem more and more often trying to tack down a specific date on my finds. Ho hum.
Note how the 60's purses are almost all wooden and in pastels. EC favors designs like fish, birds, animals in general-- of the two or three I've seen in real life, I'm pretty sure they were all just splotchy flower patterns-- I far prefer the fauna to the flora.
I want this one in the worst way. The black and cream and amber, the weird, weird choice of a carriage design....heaven. The bug in the lower left hand corner sells the purse on the right for me.
(L) SOMEONE HAS TOO MANY ENID COLLINS PURSES. You are just showing off past a certain point. Also, give one to me. (R) There were a couple of transportation themed bags but you can't beat a trolley for charm.
Two more birds. I prefer the wilier "Roadrunner" to the exploding peacock. Just my taste.
(L) "Sophistikits." Yes. (R) More transportation. Hello, cable car.
What 60s design showcase would be complete without a deranged owl? These are too glitz to look at. Love.
WARNING: Do not go to ebay or etsy after reading this post. It's just going to break your tiny heart into tinier pieces, unless you've got a couple hundred dollars just laying around to blow on handbags (in that case, again, you can take me out to dinner, and I'll be sure to bring mine to show you). However! Keep hope and keep watching those tag sales...you never know when an Enid Collin gem will be poking out from under a creepy fox stole juuuuust itchin' to come home with you.
Great blogpost on EC
Info from a vintage seller on EC
More pictures of purses, more info