Small world: My collection of tiny vintage keepsakes

Apr 29, 2021
The charm of toys and other items from yesteryear is undeniable. Source: Getty

One of the great things about buying and selling vintage fashion items (through my store Louisa Amelia Jane Vintage) is that so many little gems come my way that I just cannot part with. After all, they don’t take up much space and they are delightful! I thought I’d share some of my tiny treasures with you here.

This little one (below) was a free gift that came with another item I bought. The dome-shaped lid unscrews to reveal a finger-tip-sized pot of lip gloss (circa 1920s). There is still some left and it smells lovely, though I am not game to use it!

1920s cosmetics lip gloss vintage fashion
1920s lip gloss. Source: Louisa Amelia Jane Vintage

Here is the label underneath. The term “Concreta” worries me. It’s probably why I’m not brave enough to use it!

Source: Louisa Amelia Jane Vintage

This little bundle (below) contains 10 packets of sewing needles, each containing 10 needles. I could hardly hold one of the needles, let alone sew with it. Each is wrapped in black paper to prevent rust. Each packet measures 3 x 1.5 centimetres. The brand is Prinzess Victoria. Not sure if this is a reference to Queen Victoria when young, or to her eldest daughter or neither!

antique vintage sewing needles princess victoria
Antique sewing needles. Source: Louisa Amelia Jane Vintage

This one (below) is a much more personal piece — part of my own family history. I am the current custodian of this family heirloom. It’s a Victorian mourning locket. It contains a window (front and back) to show a photo of the deceased loved one, in this case Henry Thompson, my great-great uncle, who was killed at Ypres, Belgium, in World War I. He is only 10 or 11 in the photo, as his mother loved to remember him.

victorian mourning locket with pearls
Victorian mourning locket. Source: Louisa Amelia Jane Vintage

Inside the locket are two locks of hair. I wonder whether his mother thought to cut it just before he went off to war. So sad.

victorian mourning locket
Source: Louisa Amelia Jane Vintage

This tiny tin (below), only 3.5cm in diameter, holds some black Victorian boot buttons. Should I ever be fortunate enough to own some Victorian boots and they happen to be missing a button or two, I will have just the right thing!

Victorian boot buttons. Source: Louisa Amelia Jane Vintage

The little lady riding side saddle (below) came to me from my grandfather. It’s lead and it would have been a toy in its day. It’s about 8 x 8cm. The arm holding the riding crop moves up and down! I’m a bit concerned about lead being used for toys, but I guess they didn’t know the health risks back then.

lead lady on a horse antique toys
Toy horse with riding lady. Source: Louisa Amelia Jane Vintage

This very old hat pin (below) was given to me by a neighbour who knows my love of vintage. The shell at the end appears to be made of unfired terracotta and it’s quite fragile, so I decided to keep it. The little bead is marbled glass. If you have any idea of the era of this hat pin I would love to hear from you. I can only say 1920s or older.

Edwardian or 1920s hat pin terracotta
Antique terracotta hat pin. Source: Louisa Amelia Jane Vintage

Of more recent vintage — and very special to me — are my father’s cuff links, commemorating the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. If only all vintage was so easy to date! I will give these to my son one day, but I’m not finished with them yet.

cuff links melbourne olympic games 1956
Melbourne Olympic Games cuff links. Source: Louisa Amelia Jane Vintage

So, just a little glimpse at some of my bits and pieces. These are not for sale, except for the shell hat pin. I am open to offers on that one.

Do you have any similar items or other vintage keepsakes? Do you know which decade the hat pin is from?

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