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Miser’s purse is a term that dates to the turn of the twentieth century, near the end of the purses popularity. It was inspired by the purse’s design, which made it very difficult to retrieve its contents. These small purses with center slit openings and sliding rings or clasp closures were abundant throughout the nineteenth century. As paintings, prints, works of literature and other ephemera from the period reveal, these purses and their unique social and symbolic roles were entrenched in contemporary culture.
This purse is composed of black knitted fabric with silver metal beads incorporated in the knit, although majority of beads have rusted and lost their silver colour. The bottom of the purse has a macramé tassel of silver beads with larger beads include. Two silver rings seal the center slit opening, both are quite rusted and tarnished. However there is visible repair at the pouch end of the purse which shows that it was well worn, used and valued by the wearer.