Personal affects: Goodwill find was once the ‘height of fashion’

Published 5:09 pm Friday, March 20, 2020


Community columnist

Question: Hey J. What about this plastic purse I found at goodwill? Got it for $4 and my grand babies love to carry it and play dress up with it. Would it have any value? It’s in excellent condition. 

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Answer: Wow. What a great deal. Why can’t I find things like that at Goodwill? Your purse was once the height of fashion. Regaled for its light weight, range of colors and its ease of molding. It dates to the 1940s or the early 1950s. Many fashion designers utilized this magic material with stunning results. You can see advertisements for them in all the old fashion magazines. 

I looked and looked and just couldn’t find the maker. But in my defense there was once a score of manufacturers that made plastic purses and accessories. It’s a super piece, with two colors, and that GREAT molded shape with a swing handle. And let’s not forget that nice hand carving. It was in fact cut by hand. Though made in the thousands they fell out of fashion and were replaced with other styles and materials. 

Please be careful with letting your grandkids play with it. The one drawback to plastics of this era was that they were fragile. Honestly, I can’t imagine that the lid and the handle hasn’t cracked. It’s not a toy. Find them something at the Dollar Tree instead. 

I imagine that at a good vintage clothing store this will be priced for about $75. They are very hot and collectible on the market. Thanks for a great question.