Collection of Rare and Important Thimbles to be Auctioned in Chicago  

Collection of Rare and Important Thimbles to be Auctioned in Chicago

A Rare and Important American Gold Thimble, $8,000-12,000
Chicago, IllinoisApril 30, 2014 – A highly rare and historically significant American gold thimble attributed to Paul Revere Jr. will be sold on May 21 at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago. A nearly identical thimble is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and it is thought that only four attributed Massachusetts thimbles are known to exist. This rare and important American gold thimble is part of a single-owner auction of the Ann Blakeslee Black Collection of Thimbles, Needlework Tools and Vertu.
Ms. Blakeslee Black began her collecting odyssey around 1961, traveling the world in her search for the best and rarest. She called on museum curators for education and advice, as well as a small circle of fellow thimblers with whom she kept in touch via “round-robin” letters. Her collection includes 272 lots of fine needleworking tools, vertu objects and thimbles in diverse materials ranging from porcelain to silver, gold and platinum. Highlighting the auction are a selection of 18th century American silver and gold thimbles, English and Continental silver and gold thimbles from the 16th century through the 19th century, English and Continental porcelain thimbles and a selection of 29 Meissen porcelain thimbles of the 18th century.

A Meissen Porcelain Thimble$4,000-6,000
A Royal George IV Gold Bodkin Case$2,000-4,000
An Impressive French Gold and Mother-of-Pearl Sewing Box$5,000-7,000
A Meissen Porcelain Thimble$4,000-6,000
A Rare and Early AmericanGold Thimble$4,000-6,000
A George II Gold, Enamel, Carnelian, Diamond and Pearl Mounted “Nubian” Needle Case$5,000-7,000

An early American gold thimble by Samuel Vernon of Newport, RI is especially rare in that it bears a hallmark. Few hallmarked thimbles are known to exist, since even in England thimbles were exempted from hallmarking standards due to their small size. The only other known surviving New England thimble bearing a hallmark is in the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery.Meissen porcelain thimbles are similarly rare. It has been said that few more than 250 18th century examples are extant today, and Ms. Blakeslee Black’s collection includes 29. These tiny porcelain collectibles were never meant for practical use, but rather as luxurious love tokens and showmanly examples of extraordinary workmanship. Even under magnification, the quality of the painting is outstanding, having certainly been executed using single strands of hair.Preview for the auction will begin May 16 and continue until May 20. The auction will comments at 12:00 noon on Wednesday, May 21 in Chicago. For more information on the sale please call 312-280-1212, visit the online catalogue or contact Corbin Horn by email at

Apr 30 2014

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