The “Quarter Horse” purse we featured in last weeks Fashion Shoot Steal, Giveaway 3 attracted a justified amount of interest and comments. It really is a sweet western vintage gem. We happened across it at a photo shoot of a western home we’ll be featuring in the Sept/Oct issue of Western Horse Review. I’d love to share some of the other rich western finds in that shoot, but I had better save them for the issue.
Here’s what I found out about the purse. It was made by Texan handbag designer Enid Collins. She opened Collins of Texas in Medina in 1959 and produced hundreds of handmade whimsical and original purses, up until 1970, when she sold the company to Tandy Leather Corporation, which took over the production of the purses. Most were canvas bucket style, as is the Quarter Horse purse and others were wooden box purses.
Thanks to reader Deseri Tammie Cooper who also filled us in with a bit of detail on the bag:
[It's a] Collins Horse-Themed Bag. 1960s. Maker: Collins of Texas. Linen-type fabric bucket bag featuring a horse print that makes playful puns. “Ol’ Paint” has a painter’s palette, “Appaloosa” has three-dimensional apples, the “Quarter Horse” has a real 1966 quarter sewn, via a plastic patch, to its rear, and the “Strawberry Roan” has three-dimensional strawberries. It’s an adorable Collins bag that I haven’t seen before.
Collins hand decorated her purses with sequins, buttons, feathers and rhinestones. I’ve come to think of her as the original Queen of bling. When I try to imagine what kind of woman would carry a EC handbag back then, sassy, stylish, particular and fun come to mind. I bet Enid Collins purses made just as many trips to the grocery store as to social functions.
This particular EC handbag is a western treasure, I was hard pressed to find another for sale online. I did finally track one down on eBay, though the quality was questionable.
If your curiosity about EC handbags is still peaked, Cool Old Stuff has an informative piece on the collectibility of the Enid Collins purses. If you’d rather just view more handbag eye candy, Enid Collins Collection is a site which celebrates her style with hundreds of collectors sharing photos of their EC handbags.
Thanks to everyone for entering the contest we held last week on Screen Doors & Saddles and Western Horse Review Facebook. We asked you to guess what year the purse was made. So many near-on guesses and great comments. As I suggested above, from the research and markings on the purse, we’ve nailed it as an Enid Collins original, produced sometime in the ’60s, though we couldn’t pin down the exact year.
We just did a random draw amongst all the entries on the blog post and Facebook and drew Susan Gail Jenson Sjogren’s name out of the bag. Susan wrote:
“It looks new! But I will guess 1976.”
As promised from the onset, you didn’t have to guess the year correctly, just enter!
Susan Gail Jensen Sjogren, you’ve won a $100 gift certificate from a modern-day bling and western purveyor, Cowgirl Finesse. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your gift certificate.
Thanks everyone for taking part in the contest, loved all your comments. Look for Fashion Shoot Steal, Giveaway 4 later this week, when we’ll be giving away another fabulous piece from our 2012 fashion shoot. Hint for this piece – it’s demin!