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Building A Collection Of Thimbles

Jul 18, 2008
Through the years individuals that sew have learned that thimbles can be quite useful objects, but collectors have learned that these are quite sought after collector items. Collectors of thimbles known that these simple little object have been used for decades to protect the finger tips of many sewers.

Earlier thimbles were made in Rome and were made out of bronze, which dated back to the first century AD. Roman thimbles were found at Verulamium, which is known as St Albans today, and can be seen in the museum there. Collectors have found that other early day thimbles were made out of bone, horn, and leather and have actually been found all over the world. During the fifteenth century, thimbles were made from gold and silver for the ladies in Europe. In fact, it has been said that Elizabeth I gave a thimble which was encrusted with precious stone to one of her ladies-in-waiting.

Collectors have found that thimble making continued through the ages, but not all of them were hallmarked as they were deemed to small to qualify for the Assaying Acts. In fact, it was not until 1870 that thimbles began to be regularly hallmarked no matter what the size. An individual who collects thimbles is known as a digitalbulist. Studying thimbles can tell collectors a wide range of information, such as being able to determine the actual date on a thimble. The date on a thimble can be determined by the small dimples within the thimble itself, because during the middle of the eighteenth century a machine was finally invented that would punch these dimples, but prior to that they were done by hand. So, if a collector comes across a thimble with an irregular pattern of dimples, then more than likely it was made before the middle of the eighteenth century.

Another helpful hint in determining the date of a thimble is through its shape and the manufacturing of the thimble. Thimbles produced during the middle ages would have a more high rounded top and the metal would be quite thick, which was usually brass. These thimbles are extremely rare, but collectors seem to not like there appearance enough to make them that valuable. When thimbles started being made by a machine, which occurred in the middle of the eighteenth century, the metal was actually thinner and top had a much more flatter appearance than those that were hand made.

Ornamental thimbles began to be created during the early nineteenth century and were often given by a young man to his beloved as a love token. These type of ornamental thimbles were normally made out of silver or gold and when ever a couple was married the rim was some times carefully cut off and used as the wedding ring for the bride. Another little bit of facts surrounding thimbles is that a teacher was known to were a thimble on her finger, which she would use to tap on the heads of unruly children.

Collectors can learn more about thimbles by reading books written about them, joining groups designed for collectors of thimbles, attending antique shows, and consulting with area dealers. Collector may find that the benefits of joining local groups are numerous and may include that they will have the chance to share interest in thimbles with other collectors and learn from them. Collectors will also get the chance to meet individuals who share the same excitement for an interest, which can develop into long term friendships.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant about rare coins, stamp collections, and rare collectibles. Follow these links to find the best marketplace for: rare coins, stamp collections, and rare thimbles.
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