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Rainstorm reveals charming find from the mid-20th century

By JERRY SAMPSON

Personal Effects

Question: Hi, Jerry. Look what I found — and I never find anything. We had some porch work done back in November and just a couple of weeks ago after the last deluge of rain, I saw this in the dirt where the guys had been working.

It was so dirty that all I saw was the little red bead. I washed and polished it and found it was a tiny wrench. Is it a charm? What will it be worth? I don’t care, because I love that I found it. It’s marked sterling on the side and it actually works by opening and closing. Thanks for looking at it; can’t wait to hear what you say.

 

Answer: Well, congratulations! You did find a small charm. And what a cute and interesting one. I looked around to see if I could find something similar to it, but alas no luck. Charms have been around for centuries. They’ve been used as a token as a loved one’s affection or a reminder of a beloved place. You can find charms from famous jewelry houses like Cartier, Tiffany and Faberge. 

Sadly, your charm won’t be in the same field as these famous makers. You can find them in all types of metals and materials. Pretty much, the sky’s the limit. The highlight for charms, in my opinion, was in the 1940s to the early 1970s.

This was the time that girls sported dangling and clinking bracelets loaded with charms. It used to be that every occasion was rewarded with a charm. The fad faded with the arrival of the hippie movement and it never really recovered, though collectors do pick up charms that appeal to their lifestyles or hobbies.

I think your charm dates to the 1950s and I love the fact that it’s a working wrench. Why a

wrench? I don’t know, but I’ve seen hammers, saws and tape measures before, so why not? Being its marked sterling, I’d wager it’s American. I think in a booth that carried vintage jewelry, in a nice antiques mall, it would be priced for about $20. Thanks for sharing it and for finding it.