Frequently Asked Questions
You collect Whaaaat?
- Thimbles and/or needlework tools!
Why do people collect thimbles and/or needlework tools?
- Many collectors sew, stitch and quilt. Finding and collecting the “tools of the trade” lead many to strive to learn more about their craft.
- A thimble is just one of the tools of the trade and it serves a very useful purpose. A thimble protects the finger, and it also acts as an aid to push the needle through the fabric.
- A needlework tool encompasses many categories: needle cases, stilettos, thread winders and thread spools, knitting needles and needle guards, crochet hooks, sewing clamps and fitted etuis -- just to name a few.
- Some collectors specialize in antiques while others specialize in more modern tools.
How do you find thimbles and needlework tools?
- There are many reputable dealers that specialize in and sell thimbles and needlework tools. Many of these dealers are also TCI members.
- Visit Internet sites, auction houses and antiques fairs and shows.
How do I go about researching thimbles and needlework tools?
- Join Thimble Collectors International! (Join TCI)
When you join TCI, you will have access to the Member pages. These pages are only available to members, and they are filled with photo and information files that encompass both thimbles and needlework tools. You will also learn about fakes and reproductions. You will have access to hallmarks, maker’s and master’s marks, and research.
- The manufacture of thimbles and needlework tools can be traced back centuries. Many can be dated and the manufacturer identified by their maker’s or master’s marks.
- Some thimble designs have been patented – you can search the Patent Office files.
- Thimbles with advertising on the band can be traced to a specific business.
How much are these things worth?
- The worth of an object is determined by many factors: rarity, age, condition, material, provenance, manufacturer and quality.
- Thimbles and needlework tools are manufactured from many different materials: gold, silver, brass, ivory, bone, mother-of-pearl, Bakelite, bog oak, just to name a few. Some have precious stones as part of the design, while others have enamel or an intricate and ornate design -- on the handles of a pair of scissors for instance.
- Although some TCI members are very knowledgeable about these collectibles, we are not in the business of appraisals.
- To further your own knowledge about the worth of the object, track items on eBay, ask dealers at antiques shows, and even more beneficial, become educated in what you have. - Remember that it is difficult to judge an item just from a photo.
How do I sell my thimble or needlework tool collection?
- There are a number of ways to sell a collection, depending on what your goals are.
Do you wish to dispose of the collection quickly and with the least amount of work?
If you answer yes to this question, then sell them to a dealer who will do this for you. You can sell the collection outright or perhaps work with the dealer if he/she will take the items on consignment.
- Contact TCI email@example.com and we can put you in touch with a few dealers
who might be willing to sell your collection for you. They will normally take a percentage
of the sale.
- Set up an account on eBay and sell the items yourself. View past listings to get an idea of what a similar item might have sold for. Take good photos. Do not hide or gloss over damage to an item -- This will only hurt you in the long run.
- Join a regional or international group in your area (Join TCI) and dispose of your collection by selling it to collectors with a similar interest.
- When you Join TCI, you can attend the biennial convention and sell in the Sales Mall.
Are there any books that will help me to identify my thimbles and needlework tools?
- Yes, there are a number of good reference books out there. Many are out of print.
- When you Join TCI you have access to a comprehensive list of books that are written on the subjects of thimbles and/or needlework tools.
- Remember that if a book lists a price, check the Copyright date as it may be very out of date as far as pricing goes.
Do you have sources where I might purchase thimbles and needlework tools?
- Yes, there are a number of TCI member dealers who can sell to you. There are also thimble makers who will make a custom thimble for you. All of these resources are available to you when you Join TCI.
I’m new to collecting. Where can I learn about thimbles and needlework tools?
- Go to your library; check out books on the subject.
- Join TCI – when you become a member, you will have access to the Member pages and you will also receive the Bulletin, published four times a year, filled with research and other valuable information.
- When you Join TCI, you will have access to The Forum. This is where you can post queries and photos for identification purposes.
- Join a local or regional group. (Regional Groups) Your fellow collectors can help you.
- Join an Internet group like Cyberthimble. (Cyberthimble Info)
I’m researching a thimble or needlework tool and need help with identification or more information. Who do I contact?
- Join TCI today and post your query on The Forum.
- Send a query to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m interested! How do I join?
- TCI is open to anyone who has an interest in thimbles and/or needlework tools. The cost is $35/year for US collectors and $40/year for non-US collectors.(TCI membership)
What are the benefits of joining TCI?
The benefits are numerous …
- You become involved with a group of people who share your interest in thimbles and needlework tools.
- You will meet fellow collectors from around the world.
- You will learn from them and hopefully share your own knowledge.
- TCI publishes a quarterly newsletter, the Bulletin. This publication is of high quality with some color photographs. It is filled with research, interesting tidbits about fellow collectors as well as the latest convention planning news.
- You will be able to attend the next convention. San Francisco, August 8 – 11, 2012.
- You can share your latest find with collectors who have a similar interest. Log in to the Member pages and post information and photos to The Forum.
- Relationships that develop between thimble and needlework tool collectors last a lifetime.
Don’t delay, Join TCI today!