Wednesday, December 18, 2013

SPECIAL POST! Cherry Pick Magazine Interviews Wendy Dager!

Wendy Dager of The Vintage Purse Gallery and Vintage Purse a Day was interviewed by Cherry Pick Magazine for its sixth issue! To get a copy, email editor Carina Salwender, tell her you want issue #6 and give her your postal address. (Note: The magazine is in German.)

A HUGE thank you to Carina for the interview and for sharing The Vintage Purse Gallery with Cherry Pick's readers!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Woven Metal Box Bag with Lucite Top

Woven Metal Box Bag with Lucite Top. 1950s. No maker tag or imprint. Woven silvertone metal box purse with black-painted metal straps in between the silver straps. Black Lucite top. Black-painted early plastic handle. Silvertone hardware and four silvertone feet. Very interesting clasp with S-lock chain closure for extra security. Lined in grosgrain. Patent number on the bottom.

Well worn, but still a lovely bag. I’m pretty sure it’s a Dorset-Rex, but I can’t find a mark. Any suggestions or comments, please email info(at)vintagepursegallery(dot)com.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Seed Bead Box Bag with Gold Roses

Seed Bead Box Bag with Gold Roses. 1950s/1960s. Midas of Miami. Beautiful white-painted wicker box bag with white seed beads on top and at front. Also embellished with gold floral (rose and leaf) appliques and clear and amber rhinestones. Has the gold braided double handle that is typical of Midas of Miami. Twist lock. Lined in gold satin fabric with two inner pockets. Three gold feet.

I am truly a sucker for Midas of Miami bags. The prices, however, started to go up, up and away in the last few years—something my friend and partner in vintage (also named Wendy; we’ve known each other since junior high, a mere three or four decades ago), blames on my magazine article about whimsical mid-century bags. (Antiques & Collecting Magazine, August 2009.)

But I don’t think so. I think their desirability is strictly because of the wonderful artwork on each bag, although I once saw a plain wicker Midas. I have no idea how that one slipped through! Anyway, even the bags I have that are a similar design aren’t exactly the same, as there are delightfully unique twists on each one.

Following our sister site, The Vintage Purse Gallery, on Facebook? Here's the link.

Bonus pic! Cover of aforementioned Antiques & Collecting issue, featuring a photo I took of my Midas of Miami elephant purse.

Friday, November 29, 2013

SPECIAL POST! Interview with Jerry Terrence, Inventor of The Original Carpet Bag

SPECIAL POST! Interview with Jerry Terrence, Inventor of The Original Carpet Bag
By Wendy Dager

            When Jerry Terrence visited Grauman’s Chinese Theater in 1964, the marquee caught his eye, setting him on a path to an enduring legacy of fashion entrepreneurship.
The film was The Carpetbaggers, starring George Peppard, Alan Ladd and Carroll Baker, but it wasn’t its star-studded cast or engaging plotline that changed Terrence’s life. It was the title that gave Terrence the idea of taking it literally by creating bags made of actual carpeting.
            “I was working in the floor covering business that my father, who’d been a policeman, established in 1945,” said Terrence, a California native. “I went to college, then started in his business, and then got the idea to create the carpet bags because there was nothing quite like it in the marketplace.”

            Terrence, who had no knowledge of the fashion industry, contracted the sturdy hardware portion of the purses to a friend who was in the tool-and-die industry. The purses’ fabric—carpeting—was a material with which he was very familiar. Using his expertise, he had mills custom-create popular 1960s colors to match the preference of the mature women that were the main demographic for these bags at that time.
            Thus began the line of bold, unique, well-constructed purses bearing The Original Jerry Terrence Carpet Bag label, which women enthusiastically bought for a retail price of about $8.99 each.

            “We did a lot of innovative things in New York and across the country to get the attention of store buyers,” said Terrence.
            Enlisting a staff of true “Mad Men”-type advertising geniuses, one clever marketing technique was to send fortune cookies to fashion buyers for department stores such as The Broadway and Joske’s. The cookies had fortunes that read, “The Carpet Bag is Coming!”
            In 1965, Terrence’s company threw a press party for The Original Jerry Terrence Carpet Bag. He hired a woman to act as a hostess for the party, paying her $100. That hostess was an up-and-coming Joan Rivers.

            “There was also a promotion at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas,” said Terrence. “The owner of the Dunes bought bags for every one of his guests in 1964.”
            The carpet bags were so enormously popular that the factory in Southgate, California was operating 24 hours a day, with three crews of 12-15 employees working three shifts. Nearly one million Jerry Terrence bags were sold in the US alone during the four years the company was in operation.
            “My parents, wife at the time, friends and everybody else were saying ‘you are nuts!’” said Terrence. “I was very persistent because I felt there was a lot to this. I made some mistakes, but realized what they were, regrouped, and bam! It really hit. It was an important era in my life.”

           Today, these 1960s purses are a desirable collectible among fashionistas and vintage purse aficionados, with the demographic now a youthful 18-30 years of age.
            But those who love these unique bags no longer have to scour online auctions and vintage websites to find one, because The Original Jerry Terrence Carpet Bag was relaunched and it’s better and bolder than ever.

            “It’s very much an exciting business after all these years,” said Terrence. “It’s changed so dramatically. Now there are no more handbag reps—we put together a team that uses social media.”
            While the product is still made of carpeting, its construction has changed somewhat. Terrence is now offering crossbodies, clutches, A-frames, iPad cases and briefcases, all with carpets dyed in modern hues such as animal prints, camouflage and plaid. In addition, the company has received licensing from the Bettie Page estate to use the quintessential pinup’s name in a special line of handbags.

             Terrence is as enthusiastic about his products as he was nearly five decades ago, and is excited about the company’s new direction and staff of industry professionals.
            “It’s a different world out there,” said Terrence. “The whole world has changed and unless you change with it, you’re going to fall back.”

         For more about The Original Jerry Terrence Carpet Bag newest products, or if you have a store and are interested in having the Terrence team schedule a special showing of vintage bags and memorabilia, visit the website: (Photos courtesy of Jerry Terrence.)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Special Post! The Vintage Purse Gallery is Hosting a Giveaway!

Enter now to win this vintage 1970s gold-beaded evening bag, just in time for the holidays!

Copy and paste this link into your browser:

Or visit The Vintage Purse Gallery's Facebook page:

Must be 18 years of age or over to enter. USA residents only. Must provide mailing address within one week of winning, or winning name will be redrawn.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Kitschy Plastic Mesh and Yarn Tote with Owls and Cardinals

Kitschy Handmade Plastic Mesh and Yarn Tote. Looks 1970s, but may be modern. No maker tag. Large, fun handmade tote purse or knitting bag made of plastic squares sewn together with yarn. The squares alternate owls and cardinals. Wrapped wood and goldtone handles. Four dangly goldtone chains are attached to the bottom ends of each handle, presumably for decorative purposes. Lined in green cotton fabric.

I picked this up recently at a thrift store. I was very excited to see it and willing to pay what I thought was a pretty steep $7.99, even though you can see these types of purses for (inexplicably) a lot more online. Perhaps it’s the kitsch factor that makes them so pricey.

And, yes, I got razzed a little by my companions about its grandmotherly appearance. But, hey, I’m a grandma. Maybe a little different than the other grandmas, but I still loved this purse and can’t wait to use it. But not to carry knitting. I can't knit. Or sew. But I do make a mean apple pie.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Orange Beaded Evening Purse

Orange Beaded Evening Purse. 1960s. No maker tag. Very pretty and very heavy (for its size) square evening bag with woven together dark and light orange beads. There are also dangles consisting of five beads hanging from it on both sides. No maker name but there is a label that says “Hand Made in Hong Kong.” Twisted beaded handle. Metal zipper. Lined in rayon.

Out of my entire collection, this was the most holiday-appropriate, pumpkin-like purse I could find for Halloween. My clothes, however, are a different story.

Like my shirt says, “Honey, anything in my closet could be a Halloween costume!”

Happy All Hallows' Eve!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Large Briefcase Style Gold Purse with Cameo

Large Briefcase Style Gold Purse with Cameo. 1960s. No maker tag. Gold lamè purse shaped like a briefcase, encased in a goldtone cage-like frame. On the front is a porcelain cameo of a romantic couple, surrounded by rhinestones. Gold lamè handle. Button-topped closure. Peach moiré interior.

No maker tag, but looks a lot like a Tyrolean, a very desirable and expensive purse manufacturer. My friends and I used to joke that we’ll know we've become old ladies once we love everything in gold—decorations (like the acrylic grapes on my dining room table), fixtures (the cherubs on my old lamp), and now, purses. I have a ton of them in gold. I’ve never used this one because it weighs too much even without stuff in it!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Brown Gimp Purse with Plastic Handles and Decorated Pull

Handmade “Gimp” Purse with Plastic Handles and Pull. 1940s. No maker tag. Beautifully constructed purse made of (crocheted?) heavy brown rayon (?) cording. Metal zipper, Lined in shiny brown fabric. Padded inside with cardboard to keep its shape. Twisted early plastic handles. Round early plastic pull with hand-painted flowers and leaves.

I’ve seen these referred to as “gimp” purses, but never knew why, so I did a bit of research. Unfortunately, my research isn’t all that thorough. Seems “gimp”—as happens over time with certain words (in my “other” life, I’m a professional freelance writer)— may have become something different than its original meaning. From what I can gather, this has to with the type or texture of material used. For instance, I’ve seen “Corde” bags referred to as “gimp,” but Cordes are a different weave than this bag. If you have any info about the origins of “gimp,” (in terms of purses and not Pulp Fiction) drop me a note at info(at)vintagepursegallery(dot)com.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quilted Plastic-Covered Soure Bag with Boats and People Scene

Plastic Covered Purse with Boats. 1960s. Maker: Soure Bag New York. Very well-constructed quilted purse featuring a sail boat—or perhaps (somewhat disproportionate) tall ships—scene. The people in it appear to be circa 16th century, but it’s hard to tell. The bag has three sections: two outer pockets that expand in something of an accordion style, and an inner section that clasps shut. There is decorative gold stitching on some of the design, and the whole thing is covered in plastic. Soft, faux leather handles. Gold lame trim. Lined in grosgrain or similar fabric. Inner stretchy pocket. Four goldtone feet.

Bonus pic! I have another one that’s very similar, but without a maker tag. There is, however, a glue spot where the tag used to be. Hmmm…

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

DeLiso Debs by Lennox Classic Leather Handbag

Classic Leather Handbag. 1960s. Maker: DeLiso Debs by Lennox. Wonderful dark caramel-colored, very well-made leather purse. Unusual trapezoid (?) shape. Closure consists of intentionally stiff side hinges, and has to be pried open, then snaps shut. Decorative hexagonal brass piece at the top. Inner pocket. Includes mirror and plastic comb with the Lennox Bags imprint.

I found this in a local “junque”/antiques/collectibles store, which is pretty much a huge warehouse. I knew it was special when I felt around for the purse, which was hidden under some scarves and other clothing. Still, I was surprised to see the DeLiso Debs label. As far as I knew, DeLiso made shoes. Lovely vintage fashionista Dina, from MomoDeluxeVintage, knew they made purses and commented on my Facebook page that she once had a barrel-shaped DeLiso Debs handbag in the same color as mine.

I also only knew Lennox as an air conditioning company, but you can see a number of vintage Lennox bags for sale online. (I know. I’m ridiculous. But maybe they’re members of the same Lennox family! Purses… air conditioning… always good to diversify.)

Bonus pic! DeLiso Lucite heels with original box. I no longer have these beauties, as I gave them to a very stylish friend (with tiny feet!) who wears them much better than I.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Vintage Advertising Post Card for Purse "Agents"

SPECIAL POST! Vintage Purse Post Card. 1910s-1920s. Maker: E.H. Condon. This is a post card from the teens or twenties, soliciting agents to sell 13 ½” x 11 ½” bags, because “Every Woman Needs a Utility Bag.” Just 88 cents! E.H. Condon was also a wholesaler of rugs.

I’ve started to collect vintage purse ephemera, including ads, cards and photos. They’re definitely a lot easier to store than vintage purses!

Bonus! Here’s the Google maps link to the building at 12 Pearl Street in Boston that used to house the E.H. Condon company. Check out the amazing architecture. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Plasticflex Woven Handbag in Primary Colors

Woven Plastic Handbag in Primary Colors. 1940s. Maker: Plasticflex. Early plastic tote-style purse made entirely from small tiles with strategically-placed holes. The tiles are threaded together with flat plastic cording in yellow, blue, red and green. White plastic handles. Inside zip. Lined in rayon-like faded red fabric. Has the Plasticflex label with apple logo. Cardboard inside the lining at the top and bottom to give it shape.

The apple logo—way before the Apple we all know now—was for the Robert Appel company. These plastic tile purses usually come as clutch style in a variety of colors—ivory seems to be the most popular—without handles, but I do have one other with handles. I’ve added a bonus pic below.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kadin Pizza Parlor Purse

Pizza Parlor Purse. 1960s. Maker: Kadin. Plastic-covered ivory fabric purse with pizza parlor scene, including a table with traditional checkered tablecloth, chair, giant pizza, beer mug, lamp, pizza sign, window and bowl of fruit (because everyone eats fruit at a pizza parlor). Embellished with stitching, rhinestones and beads. Inside zip pocket. Shiny vinyl strap.

I almost couldn’t catch my breath when I found this incredibly fun purse! This is very much like the Soure purses in that it has a whimsical scene on the front. However, upon researching Kadin Bros. of New York, I learned that most of the handbags the company made were a much more classic, traditional style. Special thanks to the Bag Lady,, for providing info about Kadin. The Bag Lady is a fabulous website with purses for sale, as well as its "university" section, which has a wealth of information, including old photos and vintage purse advertisements.

Bag Lady University:

About Kadin:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Asian/Oriental/Japanese Motif Purse by Neptune Handbags

Asian/Oriental/Japanese Motif Purse. 1960s. Maker: Neptune Handbags. Gorgeous, larger sized, unusually shaped purse made of faux black leather with a blanket-soft fabric on the front. The front has been embellished with fabric, trim, gold glitter paint, rhinestones, faux gold leaves and roses that create an Asian scene of a pagoda, tree and walkway. Twist lock. Four gold feet. Interior zip pocket.

I have quite a few purses that are embellished in a similar fashion, but none with a scene like this. I was so excited to acquire it, particularly since it’s made by a manufacturer I’ve never heard of. If you, too, have a purse by Neptune Handbags (this one has the name stamped in gold inside), please email a photo.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lillian Albus Boutique Purse by Soure Bag New York

Plastic Covered Lillian Albus Boutique Purse. 1960s. Maker: Soure Bag New York. Incredible, possibly one of a kind purse with a department store scene on the front. It features a dress stand, hat stand and felt mannequins wearing garments that are embellished with rhinestones and faux gems. The store’s display “windows” are formed by gold trim. There are also felt shoes and handbags. The “door” to the store is made of gold mesh with faux gem doorknobs. The name “Lillian Albus” is in gold lettering at the top of the bag, along with two cameos (one missing its face). The purse is covered in plastic and embellished with fringed curtains. Four gold feet. Two inside pockets; one that zips. Plastic covered interior.

Now THIS is a find. I’ve been looking forever for a Soure boutique scene purse—and missed out on several—but this is special as it was made for the now-defunct New Jersey and Pennsylvania “Lillian Albus” stores. It’s not in the greatest shape and needs a professional cleaning and repair, and I paid more than I usually do for a vintage purse, but I simply could not pass this up. Here’s what I know about Lillian: She was born in 1906, opened her store in 1946, and passed away in 1987. If you have anything to share about Lillian Albus, please email me at info(at)vintagepursegallery(dot)com. I would love to interview someone who knew her and post the article on The Vintage Purse Gallery.

Here’s a link to a 1989 article about Lillian Albus:

Here’s a 2010 Trip Advisor forum, where one user reminisces about the Lillian Albus store:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rooster Kit Purse with Original Box - BONUS! FIDM Exhibit Info

Rooster Kit Purse with Original Box. 1960s. Maker: JewelTone/General Crafts/Some '60s Housewife. Fabulous make-by-number olive green tote-style purse with bejeweled and sequined rooster crowing at the rising sun. Comes with original box and catalog.

Regular readers of this blog know I have quite the collection of late ‘60s kit purses, which were created in the style of Enid Collins.

Yep, just a few.

I’m excited to report that some of my destination-themed vintage kit purses from The Vintage Purse Gallery will be on display at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) Museum Shop/Clever Vintage Clothing "Planes, Trains and Automobiles - Travel and Fashion" exhibit, now through July 19. For more info:

Pretty cool, huh? If you're in the L.A. area, you should check it out!