Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Trinkets, Tokens and Treasures

On our landing, we have a huge cupboard, which contains many boxes. Most of these boxes have not been opened since we moved nearly 5 years ago. I know a lot of what's in there - mostly collections of toys, curios and pictures, which we just don't have room to display right now.

However, I know I need to go through them and sort out whether I really need to keep it all. So as a start, I opened one smallish box. It really was a treasure trove, as it contained mostly metal things. Firstly, my collection of enamel badges and metal pins. The photo above just shows a selection of my favourites. I'm particularly fond of the Noddy one.

Next, we have more badges, brooches, pendants and charms - some more weird than others.
And this last photo contains filigree-type things and dangly-type things, not all of which have any obvious use. (Again, just small selections of the whole collection)
You know what? I love them all. I love their weirdness, their prettiness, their ugliness, their shininess, their dullness. I put a couple of cheap pendants to the side as 'not wanted', but I'll probably end up keeping them. Some of them have been with me for years, in any case.

It got me thinking again about objects and my fascination with them. Jane wrote an excellent blog post recently about an exhibition of amulets and charms at the Wellcome Collection, and shared her own collection of 'amulets'. Whilst I wouldn't call my own objects amulets, I am always drawn to objects that have been given a value beyond their inherent worth. This value might come from memories or superstition, or might be because of what they represent - like a love token or a reminder to stay hopeful.

There is much to be said for William Morris's instruction, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful", but it completely ignores objects with special meaning. It might be the ugliest pot you have ever seen, but if it's your child's first attempt at pottery, you might want to keep it for a while. Old toys no longer fulfill their use as playthings, but if they invoke happy childhood memories, or remind you of a lost parent, then it doesn't matter how deformed and hideous that old stuffed dog is - you should keep it.

Of course collecting other people's old toys, love tokens, or souvenirs is another matter. There's still value attached, but it becomes a strange mixture of vicarious sentiment, collecting greed, nostalgia and aesthetic appreciation (or derision).  Of course, some of the stuff I collect has never been considered of value by anybody!


P.S. If you're interested in objects which have superstitious meaning, I can recommend this book, (although it's quite old and appears to be no longer available new)

11 comments:

Jane Housham said...

Ooh I'd like to be standing in front of that big cupboard with you, looking on as you open one box after another. What fantastic things. A very thoughtful post too -- thank you.

Menopausalmusing said...

Filigree and dangly does it for me...........

Country Cottage Chic said...

I have the Bunty badge in my box of brooches & badges.... take heart in the fact that you're not the only one that collects things & keeps them in boxes....I have trunks that I haven't opened in years....

June said...

Just happened to find your blog whilst looking at somebody else's! Love those old badges! I am a bit of a hoarder too! It makes for a more interesting life!
June

Liz said...

I remember that Bunty badge!!!! What a great collection.
Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

Lisa said...

What treasures!! I would wear all of them at the same time! Fabulous. Good luck with the rest of your boxes, hopefully they'll be just as full of things-you-forgot-you-loved. :)

Shakti Dove Scircle said...

I'm quite enjoying your blog and peeking at all the random vintage goodies. So glad I found it!

Anne-Sophie said...

Also have a huge collection of old treasures like yours... It took almost 15 years to decide to create assemblage jewels with them! A very long process!
Discover your exquisite blog via Jenny's one, it's a real pleasure, un réél plaisir in French!
Have a lovely week,
Amicalement,
Anne-Sophie

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