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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Ketchum McDougall Thimble


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QUESTION: I got this thimble from someone who bought it to scrap. I don't know much about this kind of thing but it looked like it deserved a better fate. Someone helped me ID the mark inside as Ketchum McDougall. I was hoping the learn more. How old, where it was made, what value it might have? Any other interesting history info is appreciated.

Thanks in advance!


ANSWER: Hello John.  

As a thimble collector I'm glad you saved this little treasure!  I've found a picture of it in American Silver Thimbles by Gay Ann Rogers.  It is shown on page 64, photo #25.  It is referred to as "chased rope band" as the band pattern and it was first issued in the 1880s.  It was made in both coin silver and sterling silver.  Is your thimble marked with either indication?  The value of the thimble can be different if it's coin vs sterling.  Ketcham and McDougall were in business in New York City from 1832 to 1932.  I can't tell from the picture if there are any holes (hold it up to the light and look into where your finger would go to find pin holes), if it is out of round, if there are any dents, dings, etc.....all which affect the value.  The price guide that goes with Gay Ann's book indicates the value to be $35-$45.  However, that was based on a 1989 economy.  Thimbles today, bring considerably less than they once did.  If there are no holes, dent, dings, in round,  and sterling silver, I would place a value on your thimble of $25.  Hope this help convince you not to turn it in for scrap!  With best regards, Barbara

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the fast response! Seems to be in great shape. Round with no holes and also marked Sterling. I am just beginning to sell in an Antique Mall in Aurora, Co. I will put it in my case with a $25 tag on it and hope it finds a deserving home. Thanks again!!!

You are most welcome....I'm glad I could help.  You might want to take a little mild soap and water to gently wash off some of the dirt so the pattern shows through.  Do not use any harsh chemicals like TARNEX or the like.  Some collectors do like the patina.  Good luck!  Barb  

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Barbara K. Acchino


I have been collecting for almost 30 years.

Organizations; Thimble Collectors International (TCI); Thimble Guild; Thimbletter & Thimbletter II, Empire State Thimble Collectors; CyberThimble; Yahoo Thimble Club

"Sewing with Scotties" Scottie Sampler; various articles for the "Bulletin" - official newsletter of Thimble Collectors International (TCI)

I have been collecting for almost 30 years.

Awards and Honors
TCI's President's Award

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