Sewing equipment can contain examples of highly collectable pieces. Thimbles in particular are valued for their uniqueness.
Early thimbles are recognisable for having irregular hand-punching. Later, Georgian examples featured applied filigree work or even gemstones. Not many examples are hallmarked, unfortunate, and many are heavily worn, making them difficult to date.
British thimbles were initially exported to America, with colonial silversmiths beginning to make them in later decades.
During the 19th century, souvenir thimbles featuring imagery of famous landmarks were used as advertising pieces, making for very appealing collector’s items. Although initially it was individual silversmiths that crafted thimbles, in the 19th century, there were several firms that specialised in making thimbles. American companies in particular saw the potential for massive profit that thimbles represented.
Many American examples are elaborate, featuring engraved floral borders or stamped arabesque decoration. American thimbles are collected as eagerly as their English counterparts.