Auction 157F

Bead Fever. Beaded Bags and Beadwork from a German Private Collection

02. July 2021 at 3:00 PM CEST

Bead Fever! Bead bags and beadwork from a private German collection - a feast for the eyes of collectors and fashionistas alike.

Every now and then a treasure falls into our hands. A collection that was created thanks to the passion of one person alone. On July 2, Quittenbaum is offering a unique collection of more than 380 beaded bags - beautiful, artfully crafted purses, pouches and clutches decorated with beads, in a wide variety of patterns and colour combinations. Some bags show floral decorations in pastel shades, famous landscapes or hunting scenes, others are designed in the Art Deco style with elegant, geometric patterns in bright colours. Two bags can be attributed to the Wiener Werkstätte. The variety is large. Most of the bags are very well preserved, as they were well kept in drawers and cabinets. But there is no reason not to use them as fashion accessories. The collections is completed, among others, with cases for glasses, cigarettes and business cards, with necklaces, beaded pictures, wallets and napkin rings.

The collector focused her selection on crocheted and knitted bags from the 19th and 20th centuries, and her collection illustrates the close relationship between beadwork and the history of the handbag as a fashion accessory. From the beginning of the 19th century until the 1960s, beads were used in handbag design - as illustrated in the beaded bags and ironed bags from the Biedermeier period, the handbags made of steel diamonds and the fashionable evening bags of the Golden Twenties and the post-war period, as well as a bead-embroidered Fendi shopping bag, which the Italian fashion company had designed exclusively in collaboration with the Vogue fashion magazine for its anniversary and which is one of the highlights of the auction.

The history of bead decorated objects and fabrics is long. Already in the Middle Ages and throughout the modern era, handicraft objects and utensils were embroidered with small glass beads. From the beginning of the 19th century, pompadours were decorated with simple patterns. Over time, these patterns became more elaborate and were often made to one pattern at home, while, simultaneously, a proper industry developed, which is now forgotten. The popularity of bead embroidery was always subject to fashion trends, but at no time disappeared completely from the arts and crafts production.

Beaded bags can be found in arts and crafts museums and they are very popular with collectors. But that doesn't mean they can't be used. Floral decorations pick up the patterns of traditional costumes or serve as an eye-catcher with plain dirndls. These vintage accessories also take up current fashion trends, inspired by TV series like "Bridgerton" and "Babylon Berlin". The beaded bags not only reflect the fashion of past times. If you decide to use them, they become statements of our own individual fashion style.

The auction week ended with a unique collection of beaded bags and beadwork from a German private collection. The 386 objects offered in the auction were very much appreciated by the bidders.

The beaded bag 'Adam and Eve' (lot 1270) climbed steadily from EUR 140 to EUR 1,900, as did the 'bag with Palazzo Ducale' (lot 1299), which started at EUR 120 and ultimately sold for EUR 1,000. But not only the extravagant and partly rare beaded bags and pouches multiplied their calling prices. The beadwork of the collection also enjoyed great popularity. The beaded mouthpiece from the 19th century (lot 1474) was heatedly contested. The hammer fell, starting at EUR 90, eventually at EUR 950.

The highlight of the day, the 'VOGUE shopping bag' (lot 1389) - a rare exclusive design by the Italian fashion company Fendi for the magazine's anniversary in 1999 - was already in great demand before the auction and eventually attracted numerous telephone bidders. Accordingly, it exceeded its estimate of EUR 900 and achieved the highest hammer price of the evening at EUR 7,200.