Collecting Tatting Shuttles

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The photos shows what my tatting shuttle collection looks like.  This is the glass case that I have and the reason why I didn’t buy any of the metal/glass boxes I found recently in The Pottery Barn store.

I have had this glass/metal box for several years now.  I prompted my husband to buy it for me as a Mother’s Day present from this kids about 10-15 years ago.  It was for sale in a Hallmark store.  I actually got something that I wanted and liked that year for Mother’s Day!

I don’t consider myself a true tatting shuttle collector.  I first started looking for shuttles about 30 years ago in antique stores while my husband I were traveling.  I seemed always be there ‘the day after’ a really beautiful/unique one had sold previously.  Later, I found out that my tatting friend Cindy Costantinou was probably the one who had gotten them! But I kept looking in the late 80’s and as the years progressed started seeing the prices of antique tatting shuttles rise quite dramatically. At one point when I had found a rather beautiful, but pricey, tatting shuttle and was contemplating its purchase, my husband told me that I needed to decide whether I was a ‘collector’ or not.  I walked away from the purchase of that shuttle with the realization that I was a ‘Tatter’ not a ‘collector’. That decision saved me from spending a lot of money on a true tatting shuttle collection.  However, I still enjoyed (and still do today) the hunt for tatting shuttles and will occasionally buy one IF the price is reasonable.

I am fairly pleased still today that I am not a true shuttle collector.  The high prices that antique tatting shuttles (and other needlework tools) were going for in the late 80’s/early 90’s is not being realized today.  The other issue I see with collecting antique tatting shuttles from an investment perspective is that there doesn’t seem to be a reference guide with prices that antique dealers and collectors can use (at least with my knowledge of the industry about 10-15 years ago).  Sadly my friend, Cindy C. has passed away. Her brother has her collection.  I am sure that he is not able to get the value that she paid for each piece.

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