Last wekend I bought this kitsch Stanhope Brooch from……..from the beautiful Caalie at the Camberwell Markets.
I fell in love with the idea of a pair of tiny binoculars hanging from my sweater and said “I’ll take it” almost straight away. It was only then that Callie informed me that if I looked through the tiny lenses I would get a surprise…to my delight there were two tiny black and white photos inside. I wish I could share the tiny pictures with you but you have to scrunch your eyes up to see them…the poor camera has no hope…they are black and white tourist photos of Europe.
Stanhope charms were first produced by artisan jewellery makers in Victorian times and were often were made out of bone and metal. These brooches were produced in larger quantities, primarily in the 1950’s (the main era for novelty brooches). They were mostly made of plastic variants such as bakelite and are quite collectible.
Niagara Falls was one of the most popular images to be used inside Stanhopes.
The Falls have always held a special spot in the hearts of the American public and they have had a steady flow of tourists since Victorian times. By the 1950-60’s it considered one of the ultimate honeymoon destinations and featured in several films of that era, no wonder it was used so often.
(As a side note I wanted to share this photograph of the falls completely frozen in 1911. How cold must it have been to completely freeze a body of water that large and fast moving?)
Stanhope’s sometimes play host to tiny little naked ladies- ooh la-la! These tend to be in higher demand, therefor more collectible and fetch higher prices. I must confess that I wish mine had the naked ladies…. it would be such a secret naughty to be walking around with a pair of naked ladies bouncing up and down upon one’s chest!
When I got home I checked their prices out on etsy and ebay and have discovered that they usually range between $45 and $150 depending on materials, photos inside and condition.
This Stanhope charm is a Victorian example that is very, very special. It features ten different photos of The Falls and is currently listed on etsy for $180.
This Stanhope brooch features views of the German city of Winterberg and is listed on ebay for $59.95.
I was very lucky to have snapped up my Stanhope brooch during Callie’s half price sale, it cost me less than $30….which I now realise was a bargain! Caalie is a knowledgable and extremely helpful jewellery trader who is happy to chat about all manner of jewellery and give advise on repair or value etc. She also has a booth at The Vintage Garage in Smith Street, Collingwood which I highly recomend as a vintage shopping destination too.
Princess Pin Curls