Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Novelty Figural Wicker Purses (1950's)

Good afternoon! 

One thing you might not know about me-- during the summer between sophomore and junior year of college, I got so. into. Sex and the City. Yes, I have seen every episode, multiple times. Yes, I own almost every season (except for season six part one...that season only picks up when Baryshnikov shows up, and still kind of let me down). This interest started by offhandedly checking out a couple volumes from the library, and ended with me going completely insane over Carrie's more envy-inducing outfits (this fur coat and aviators combo she wore to a Yankees game still kind of haunts my dreams) and bemoaning my non-standard sized feet not being able to fit into teeteringly tall high heels. Carrie being my spirit animal (except for her unshakable devotion to that badnik Mr. Big; how could you break Aidan's heart the way you did, you shameful woman!), the other girls' fashion sometimes interested me, sometimes didn't-- up until I saw Miranda carry this fish bag in the SATC movie (which wasn't amazing, but what do you want 10,000 years after the first episode). DIED. DIED IN RIGHT THERE IN THE THEATER. Look how cute!

* HOLLYWOULD * Natural/Pink Fish
When I got home and googled other instances of novelty wicker purses, I found this Kate Spade armadillo, oh my GOD...

Kate Spade armadillo hand bag
Have you ever. Seen anything. As CUTE. In your entire life. This post is making me use non-standard punctuation but BY GOLLY, it's nonstandardly appealing to me. It wasn't until the other day, though, when I was trying to track down some figural novelty purse or other on Ebay (it may or may not have been shaped like goose), that I found these animal shaped wicker purses have a fashion heritage that stretches back to the midcentury! An intriguing convergence of interests here-- little cute things, purses, and vintage-- made me want to share these animal purses I did find thither and yon on the internet with you. 

Check 'em out!
Wicker Monkey Handbag, Highly Collectible, Rare 1950s

Be forewarned before you go and get your heart broken, not even ONE of 'em I've seen online has been listed for less than $400. I know askin' ain't gettin', but I remember one of the deterrents to the Kate Spade purse when I initially saw it was its $300 price tag-- now you're telling me even the second hand originals are three figures or bust! One thing I like about online shopping, though, that you can, as they say, "train the eye" to look for these kinds of things out in the world. Not that a puppy dog or a monkey shaped wicker purse would easily 'scape my notice in the first place, but the consolation that spending forty bucks on one would be making out like a bandit is comforting.

Wicker Seated Dog Bag
Vintage Figural Monkey Animal Wicker Purse
The purses with the circular handles (the three shown above) would seem to have a shared manufacturer, but none of the listings mentioned a maker's tag or mark, so that part of the provenance remains a mystery to me. However, Midas of Miami, a well known maker of "flashy" midcentury purses, made this bejeweled donkey and another example of a wicker purse shaped like an elephant (I already had two elephants I liked in this post, so I excluded it, but you get the idea), so that may have been a place to get one back in the day. I want to know where I can get one (under a hundred dollars) now!

Midas of Miami Donkey Purse

Horse Bag Wicker Antique Vintage 1950s 3D Figural Equestrian Handbag Huge
These two poodles are on different websites, but only priced $5 apart. Those prices are $595 and $599, respectively, but still! At least they're consistent! At this point in the blog posting, I'm furiously/furtively trying to think of how you could DIY one of these. I have a wicker fish practically identical to the Miranda bag, but it's a potpourri type, back-of-commode, wicker knickknack accessory, and has no lid or handle. And yet! Surely I could fashion one somehow?
Rare Vintage Figural Black Wicker Poodle Animal Purse
Antique Vintage Wicker Dog Purse Bag 50s 3d Figural
I like this dog less than the poodles because of his dopey expression, but I might just be being mean because I am so angry I don't have a purse like this of any kind, even a goofy looking one. Based on his handle, maybe he's related to the first three!
RARE Vintage 50s Pink Poodle DOG Wicker Purse Handbag-Collector's Piece
Slightly sinister looking cat, for you cat lovers out there. This reminds me of the little cat mummies in Ancient Egypt.

Vintage Figural Animal Cat Wicker Purse

I thought this was a chicken at first, but, being four legged, the seller says it's an alligator. I can get behind that.

Vintage 1950s Wicker Animal Purse / Rare Figural Wicker Handbag Alligator / Crocodile Highly Collectable
Another fish, even more fabulous than the first (Miranda's)!

Plastic coated Wicker FISH Handbag Purse
Elephants on parade:
Rare 1950s Wicker Figural Elephant Purse, Collectible
Probably my favorite of all. Can you guess why? Ball fringe? Gold? Red? Please, please let me have this to live with in my life:

Vintage Figural White Wicker Decorated Elephant Animal Purse
NOOOO, WHY DOES THIS ONE LADY HAVE SUCH AN AMAZING NUMBER OF FIGURAL WICKER PURSES? She runs the Vintage Purse Gallery, so I guess she puts her money where her mouth is in terms of awesome interests! I am so sad I don't have that monkey shaped one.

Anyway! That's about it for today, but let's talk-- which of these is your favorite? Ever seen an animal shaped purse like this out in the wild? WHY are some collectibles so blamed expensive? What's the best three figure item you've ever gotten for two (or one)!

Gotta get back to the grind, but I'll see you back here tomorrow with bells on. Be good! Til then.


  1. THAT MONKEY PURSE! So adorably creepy. Probably because the strap is awkwardly around his neck like an odd monkey leash. Don't feel bad about SATC. I watched it pretty heavily in it's hey day, but couldn't get too invested because Mr. Big was disgusting and I never understood why Carrie (who was also kind my spirit animal...but who am I kidding...I am equally a miranda!) took his shit.

    1. THANK YOU, MR. BIG IS SO MEAN. And Aidan was pretty much amazing (though he looked better later with his hair cut). I think I like the monkey purse best of all, but you're right, it's weird to be carrying him around by his neck! One of the sellers mentioned his hands on knees pose like, "Well! Whadda ya wanna do next?" (a sentiment I can get behind)

  2. I found Mary a turtle and a fish (both totally random finds for CHEAP). This led me to believe that I could find more and then went into shock at the prices online....gadzooks!!!! You are such a good picker, I'm sure you'll find one. That elephant with pompoms is incredible!

    1. I'm going to look extra hard at the flea market this weekend-- that's so cool you found TWO! ((there's hope!!))

  3. I love novelty everything. I must confess that I came really close to buying that Kate Spade armadillo when it went on sale but I couldn't justify it, even with my magical can-justify-any-purchase skills.

    1. I know, right?! The armadillo is fantastic, but like you said, anything over fifty bucks might as well be a fifty thousand bucks, it sounds so expensive/unjustifiable for us thriftaholics. Maybe we'll find one some day on the cheap, though, you never know!

  4. Love those purses! I don't think I've ever seen them before - and I didn't notice it in the movie - now I must rewatch! I can see your SJP resemblance :-) wonder she is a fashion influence. Did you know she has a new shoe line? Those are just as drool-worthy. Very fun blog post!

    1. I really liked that Bitten line SJP did for...oh, it was a department store that went out of business. My first date with Matthew, I wore my very favorite little black dress at the time, which was a Bitten dress that was something like $12 retail. UNREAL. And totally flattering. I'll have to check out this shoe line! And yes, I hope I can find one of these purses out in the wild, they're so cute! Thanks for reading! :)

  5. oh my GOSH i love them! this is bringing me a flashback to my pediatricians office...they used a wicker elephant bad full of little prizes (like stickers and plastic rings) to get you to calm down after getting a shot! i loved opening the little flap on its back!
    i will be keeping my eyes peeled for one of these babies!
    and also, i love finding out you are SATC fan. Travis and I both are! And seriously, BIG??? Aidan was obviously the best guy she was ever going to find. that still makes me mad to think about it!

    1. See, that elephant could be like my fish potpourri thing...there's got to be a way to pursify it (as I tacitly encourage you steal a wicker elephant out of your childhood pediatrician's office). I know there have to be some out there, somewhere, at just the right estate sale or antique booth...

      AND THANK YOU, I'm glad you're with Kimmie and me on this one-- she broke my heart by breaking Aidan's heart. Remember how upset he got when she had Big out to the cabin in upstate New York (Aidan had some crazy monologue comparing the two of them to superheroes and eventually got in fisticuffs with Big over a tense round of basketball?). I don't understand why you would write someone into the show who's so great he makes you made AT THE MAIN CHARACTER for rebuffing him-- what were the SATC writers trying to do? (So crazy about that's funny how much I still care about the characters like YEARS later)

  6. Just found your blog! Love this post. I'm the curator of The Vintage Purse Gallery. You have to check out my post about a mystery involving a vintage wicker fish-shaped purse that was solved by some very helpful movie aficionados.

    1. Hi Wendy! I AM IN AWE OF YOUR COLLECTION. That's so neat about the Joanne Woodward connection with your fish purse; thanks for stopping by and saying hi! :D

  7. I actually OWN THIS purse/handbag. THE wicker fish bag Miranda carried in the movie.
    I won it in a charity auction years ago. It has been so much fun to have. There is actually a pen mark inside the lining that they said was from Cynthia Nixons pen and script. 😄

    1. That's so cool! It's a killer purse, for sure.



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