Think twice before selling your glitzy Enid Collins’ handbag

Think twice before selling your glitzy Enid Collins’ handbag

Think twice before selling your glitzy Enid Collins’ handbagRINKER ON COLLECTIBLES

October 09, 2007By Harry Rinker, Special to The Morning Call Freelance

Q: I have an “Enid Collins” purse, one of 10 2007 collectibles featured in the July/August Country Home magazine. Enid Collins’ purses also were touted in the July 14, 2007, Ann Arbor News. I am a senior and ready to downsize my condo.

A: I avoid participating in Top 10 Antiques and Collectibles lists much as I would avoid the plague. When published, readers accept them as fact rather than opinion. In fact, the lists are more market manipulative than factual.

Readers rarely question the motivation behind those individuals who contribute a category to such lists. It is every collector’s or dealer’s dream that his favorite or featured collecting category makes the list. The goal is to create a “hot” collecting category. What about the category in 10 to 20 years? The chances are far higher that it will be forgotten than remembered.

Enid Roessler, a San Antonio resident, attended Texas Woman’s University where she majored in fashion design. She married Frederic Collins, a sculptor. They lived on a ranch near Medina, Texas.

Enid Collins founded Collins of Texas in 1959. The company produced two basic types of handbags/purses: (1) wooden box and (2) canvas bucket. Wooden box purses featured bright, colorful, semi abstract stenciled designs in color combinations associated with the psychedelic period. Canvas bucket handbags featured similar designs created by a combination of brass fasteners and findings, mirrors, paint, rhinestones and sequins. Collins handbags were glitzy and whimsical.

In the late 1960s, Collins marketed two groups of Sophistikits, complete do it yourself kits. When buying a Collins handbag, it is critical to distinguish which type of handbag you have, (1) factory manufactured or (2) produced from a kit. Collectors prefer factory made handbags over those made from kits. However, collectors are willing to pay a premium price for unassembled kits.

In 1970, the Tandy Leather Corp. purchased Collins of Texas and continued to produce Collins type handbags. Collectors prefer handbags from the pre 1970s period.

Pre 1970s handbags are usually signed with Enid Collins’ full name and often dated. Some handbags feature their themed name. Handbags marked with “ec” or “c” predate 1970. Handbags marked with a “C” or “Collins of Texas” are Tandy Leather Corp. products.

Theme plays a major role in value. One need only check prices realized on eBay to confirm this. One Enid Collins Internet site listed Glitter Bugs themed bags as highly desirable. Yet one sold on eBay for $11.03 plus $11.39 shipping and a second for $4.50 plus $10.10 shipping.

A major problem with Top 10 lists is that they tout the top end of the market in the chosen collecting category. They never look at the bottom. About 200 Enid Collins listings appear each month on eBay. I was astonished first by how many lots failed to attract a bid, even with opening bids of less than $10, second by how many examples sold for less than $25 plus shipping, and third by the low number of bidders, often five or less, per listing. These are very low statistics for a supposedly very hot collecting category.

Ten of the approximately 200 handbags that appeared in my eBay search did sell in the $100 to $150 range. An unassembled Sophistikit in its period box featuring a handbag with a cat theme realized $285.02 plus $12.50 shipping.

The period box and tag add value. A typical tag reads on side one, “Collins of Texas Original for you who have flair for the truly distinctive!” and on the other, “Tops in Totes, this is an Original, silk screen Design by, Enid Collins, handpainted on finest fabric . lavishly jeweled by hand trimmed in top grain cowhide Carry it with Pride!”

Enid Collins knockoffs exist. Gray Gail of Dallas and examples marked “Japan” are two examples.

If your purse is equivalent to those selling in the $50 plus range on eBay, you might try this sales venue. If you plan to sell to a dealer, expect him or her to offer no more than $20 to $30. Dealers have to buy low in this day and age if they want to make a profit.

If you own one of the less desirable themed examples, consider using your purse. When someone admires it, you say, “Yours for $30.”

One final note: Secondary market retail prices for Enid Collins purses at antiques malls, antiques shows and Internet storefronts are usually considerably higher than those realized on eBay. It pays to comparison shop.

Q: I have a set of dinnerware marked on the bottom: “Noritake M surrounded by a wreath, “Hand Painted, Made in Japan, xx322x.” I have 10 place settings consisting of dinner plate and cup and saucer, nine saucers, an open vegetable, a covered vegetable, a medium size platter, creamer and sugar, condiment set, and other miscellaneous pieces. Can you help me determine the value of my dinnerware?
Think twice before selling your glitzy Enid Collins' handbag