Sunday, October 19, 2008

Plastic Purses...not Plastic IN the Purses


It appears the current economic conditions are due in part to overuse of the flat plastic...aka charge card. In the 50s the purses were made of plastic, but the "charge card" was actually made of aluminum or white metal. They were issued mostly by department stores, and they were sometimes kept in the stores and retrieved by the clerk when an authorized user made a purchase.

From the American Credit Card Collectors Society (you know there is a collector group for anything!) we learn that charge coins are believed to have been first issued around 1865. At first they were made of celluloid, which is an early form of plastic. Later ones were made of copper, aluminum, steel or white metal, which is when they became known as charge coins. They came in various shapes, in sizes from a quarter to half-dollar. Not all were round; some were triangular and others had unique shapes. These credit pieces were usually displayed the customer's identification number and an image connected with the issuing company.
But, I digress...plastic purses...I recently acquired 2 in their original boxes...they had never been opened...


Bags in the 1950s were true handbags...carried by hand or held over the arm. In purse history, it is said that Princess Grace carried a Hermes purse in front of her to hide her pregnacncy...kind of like Sarah Palin using scarves to hide hers...how liberated are we, girls???

It was also during this era that a steady market was developed for novelty purses which reflected the country’s casual style and popular culture. This purse is made of plastic beads.














I am sure everyone has seen one of these beaded beauties in their flea market travels...What is interesting is that these purses are usually marked Hong Kong...we forget that we have always been importing from the Asian world.









Here are a few more...



Although they are made of plastic and not the elaborate beaded ones, they would look wonderful displayed on a wall as decorative art. Their neutral colors would blend into any shabby decor...even one tucked in a guest room with some toiletries or candies would be a sweet bedside treat...

As the Baby Boomers came of age in the 1960s, they broke sharply with their parents’ politics, mores and fashions. The carefree, hands-free shoulder bag emerged as the purse of choice during the era of the miniskirt and the “Age of Aquarius.” And those aging boomers can be seen with their Vera bags...a throwback to those days...little do they remember...but the Vera bags are no harm no foul...now the mini skirts...that could be another story on an aging boomer!

15 comments:

Francie of The Scented Cottage said...

Ohhhh my. I have a plastic bead bag in a box in my back room. It's navy blue and red. When I get a chance it's going to the Salvation Army LOL.

Oh mini skirts and white go go boots. Those were the days !

lisa said...

Susan

I love old hand bags and the lucite and plastic ones are my favorites. Thanks for the lesson on charge coins too, very interesting.

Lisa
www.palepinkandroses.com

gail said...

Aahhh now, a subject near and dear to my heart. I am addicted to handbags and purses. I have a ton of them, dont even know how many. I have a few vintage evening bags, and I do use them on occassion. What an awesome find, two new ones still in the box. Thanks for sharing.... Hope the squirrels are behaving...or else Auntie Good Friend Witch will made a stew out of them..lol (())gail

Debbie said...

What a fun read! Thanks for sharing the charge card info and pictures of the handbags. :)

xo,
Debbie

Miniature Patisserie Chef said...

Hi Susan,

I love this week's post. THe plastic beaded purses are just so vintage and beautiful. I especially love the black one. It looks so classic!

Pei Li

Susan - My Vintage Charm said...

I just love these beautiful little gems. I see them often while treasure hunting and always have to take another look. Thanks so much for sharing yet another very interesting topic!

Cottage Flair said...

I love old purses. I sell new ones at home parties but the vintage handbags have so much style and grace. You have several great ones. And, I didn;t know that about credit cards. I learn something from you every week.
jennifer

Carrie Gonzalez said...

Susan, these remind me of my Grandma. She loved plastic and beaded purses. Very pretty examples!
Carrie

Inka Thomas said...

Hi Susan,
I love those purses! My Grandmother used to have some of the pretty beaded ones. Wish I still had them!!! LOL Please do a visual of the NJ shore! I have not been there in years and would love it.
Inka

kath@retromantic antiques said...

great blog. love all the info you share. k

Shell said...

Wow! My mom had a plastic yellow and white bag. Not sure what happened to it, but it sure would be cool to have now. Thanks for all this wonderful information. Incredible.
Hugs,
Shell

Silena said...

Hi Susan,
A fun read, as usual. The "hand" bags are lovely and unique and the stories are so much fun. Boy, I thought I knew just about everything (not bragging, just cause I'm old), but I have never heard of coin cards! I love it when I learn something new!! Thank you!!

Shabby Rose Cottage said...

Isn't it funny because nothing really hides a pregnancy for long..lol

Beloved Creations said...

Wow I love those beaded bags. I esp like the one with the little roses.

Debbie said...

Hi Susan.....I just tagged you with a blog award so hop over to my blog when you have a chance to collect your award.

Hugs,
Debbie