FAQ

About Thimbles & Needlework Tools

Thimble Collectors International (TCI) is an organization that is dedicated to the study of thimbles and needlework tools.  We research, write articles and share our findings with fellow collectors.  Our Members Only section of the website is filled with useful information -- we encourage you to join TCI today.

Why do people collect thimbles and/or needlework tools?

Many collectors sew, stitch and quilt. Finding and collecting the “tools of the trade” lead many to strive to learn more about their craft.
- A thimble is just one of the tools of the trade and it serves a very useful purpose. A thimble protects the finger, and it also acts as an aid to push the needle through the fabric.
- A needlework tool encompasses many categories: needle cases, stilettos, thread winders and thread spools, knitting needles and needle guards, crochet hooks, sewing clamps and fitted etuis -- just to name a few.
Some collectors specialize in antiques tools and thimbles while others specialize in modern collectibles or both.

How do you find thimbles and needlework tools?

There are a number of reputable dealers who specialize in and sell thimbles and needlework tools. Many of these dealers are also TCI members. Navigate to the Home page of our website and find the Resource Links section. You will not only find dealers but thimble groups and clubs. Lastly, visit Internet sites, auction houses and antiques fairs and shows.

How do I go about researching thimbles and needlework tools?

Join Thimble Collectors International!
When you join TCI, you will have access to the Members Only section of our website. This area is only available to members. We have many pages filled with photo and information files that encompass both thimbles and needlework tools. You will also learn about fakes and reproductions. You will have access to hallmarks, maker’s and master’s marks, and research.
The manufacture of thimbles and needlework tools can be traced back centuries. Many can be dated and the manufacturer identified by their maker’s or master’s marks.
Some thimble designs have been patented – you can search the Patent Office files within the hallmarks section of the site.
Thimbles with advertising on the band can be traced to a specific business.

 

How much is my thimble or needlework tool worth?

The worth of an object is determined by many factors: rarity, age, condition, material, provenance, manufacturer and quality.
- Thimbles and needlework tools are manufactured from many different materials: Gold, silver, brass, ivory, bone, mother-of-pearl, Bakelite, bog oak, just to name a few. Some have precious stones as part of the design, while others have enameling or an intricate and ornate design -- on the handles of a pair of scissors for instance. Many TCI members are very knowledgeable about these collectibles.  However we do not appraise.

To further your own knowledge about the worth of the object, track items on eBay, ask dealers at antiques shows, and even more beneficial, become educated in what you have. Remember that it is difficult to judge an item just from a photo. Within the Members Only section you will find our Price Guide information. We have specifically tracked many thimbles and needlework tools to keep abreast of current prices.

How do I sell my thimble or needlework tool collection?

There are a number of ways to sell a collection, depending on what your goals are.
Do you wish to dispose of the collection quickly and with the least amount of work? If you answer yes to this question, then sell or consign the items to a dealer who will do this for you. On a rare occasion you may be able to sell the collection outright. It is more typical to work with the dealer if he/she will take the items on consignment.
You may contact TCI by completing the Contact form. We encourage you to include images as these are helpful. Remember we do not appraise items or collections. 

Other options available to you:  Set up an account on eBay and list the items yourself. RubyLane is another Internet site where you can sell your collection. View past listings to get an idea of what a item sold for. Take good photos. Do not hide or gloss over damage to an item -- This will only hurt you in the long run. Join a regional or international group in your area and dispose of your collection by selling it to collectors with a similar interest.

Donate your collection to TCI. We are a 501(c)7 organization. Your donated thimbles and needlework tools are given to new collectors who attend our 'Thimblin' 101' seminar.

As a member of TCI, you can attend a biennial convention and sell in the convention Sales Mall.

Are there any books that will help me to identify my thimbles and needlework tools?

Go to your local library; check out books on the subject, there are many.
The Members section of our website offers so many research options, join TCI today!

Do you have sources where I might purchase thimbles and needlework tools?

There are a number of TCI member/dealers who specialize in thimbles and needlework tools. There are also thimble makers who will design and manufacture a custom thimble for you. All of these resources are available to you when you join TCI.

I’m researching a thimble or needlework tool and need help with identification or more information. Who do I contact?

Contact TCI by completing the contact form. You may include an image -- this is always helpful. When you join TCI you can post your query on the Forum, attend a convention and enjoy the many educational programs. Join a collector club.
TCI does not provide appraisals.

I’m new to collecting. Where can I learn about thimbles and needlework tools?

Join TCI.  When you join, you will have access to our Members Only section of our website and you will receive our publication, the TCI Bulletin.

 

What are the benefits of joining TCI?

The benefits are numerous …
You become involved with a group of people who share your interest in thimbles and needlework tools.
You will meet fellow collectors; those here in the US and from around the world.
You will learn from them and hopefully share your own knowledge.
TCI publishes a quarterly newsletter, the TCI Bulletin. This publication is of high quality with both color and black and white images. (Our PDF electronic e-Bulletin is full color). It is filled with research, interesting tidbits about fellow collectors, as well as the latest convention planning news.
You will be able to attend the next convention in Alexandria. Virginia, 14-19 August, 2018.
You can share your latest find with collectors who have a similar interest. Log in to the Members Only section of the website and post information and photos to the Forum.
Relationships that develop between thimble and needlework tool collectors last a lifetime.

I’m interested! How do I join?

Membership in TCI is open to anyone who has an interest in thimbles or needlework tools. Navigate to the Home page of our website and JOIN TCI.  We offer different tiers of membership -- these include the electronic e-Bulletin or a printed copy of our TCI Bulletin.

Download the PDF brochure or our print version of the membership form. Complete it, include your check and mail to our Membership Chairperson. You may also join using the electronic version of our membership form, complete your purchase using PayPal. If you have questions, contact Membership.

Note:  Members of an European Union (EU) country will also be required to complete the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) form before membership will be listed as Active. 

If you reside in the European Union (EU), including the UK

Members of the European Union (EU), including the UK, are required to complete the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Compliance Form before membership will be listed as Active