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Collector Thimbles

What makes a thimble a ‘collector thimble’? Is it the material, the time period it’s from, or the history behind it? It could be any of these things, depending on the personality of the collector. Some collector thimbles are made of precious metals and be richly decorated. These were generally not used for sewing but rather for ornamental purposes.


In the 19th century they were sometimes given as marks of affection by a young man to the lady he was courting. For a collector more interested in display and ornamental value these kinds of thimbles are an interesting if occasionally expensive addition to a collection.

Other thimbles from times past may be made more for functionality—though not necessarily for the purposes of sewing—and have stories and history behind them. Though they are rare, there is thick-topped brass thimbles that date back from the Middle Ages, all made by hand. There are also the kind that were given out by politicians of yesteryear primarily as a means of advertising rather than for protecting fingers.

As a more recent development, many gift shops now carry thimbles for collectors who prefer them in place of postcards to remember places they have been. While factory rather than handmade, these can make a fascinating display, are relatively cheap, and are small and durable enough to be carried around without being easily destroyed.

Although the personal value of a thimble in a collection depends on the person doing the collecting, the straight monetary value depends on such things as the age, uniqueness manufacturer, provenance, and materials involved. A solid gold thimble, especially in this day and age when the price of gold is rising quickly, may have higher value than a plated thimble.

A handcrafted thimble from a hundred years ago would fetch a higher price than one stamped out in a factory yesterday for sale at a gift shop. Collector thimbles may be found in many different locations—in the gift shops mentioned previously, in auctions, even online and through thimble-collection societies. It depends on the collectors themselves to decide what belongs in their collection and what they wish to focus on.

Article Summary: What makes a thimble a collector thimble depends upon the person doing the collecting. There are many different types of thimbles available from many different places, and the monetary and personal value may vary greatly depending on the type.