Friday, July 20, 2018

Estate Sale Hankies

If you recall, in May I returned to Littlefield Presbyterian Church to do a presentation on Parasols, Fans, Hankies, and Gloves at their spring tea. 

I had a small collection of hankies then, but when I reviewed photos of two nearby estate sales recently and saw hankies in the sale, I put it on my agenda to go.  Each time I got a bundle for $10. Hankies require so little space for storage that they make a good item to collect [not that I intend to acquire a large quantity of them].

I soaked them in Oxi Clean just because of their nature, and in each case it was evident they had been sitting a long time.  Upon inspection, some were worn with holes, so were thrown away.

There were 16 good hankies at the first sale and one was unused with a sticker still on it.  At my recent visit to the outdoor Antique Market and LaBelle's Antiques I noticed ladies hankies are going for $2-3 each [on average], and children's hankies are outrageously pricey. Considering I got 16 nice ones, $10 was a bargain.

The lady who owned them stored them in a wooden wine box, and most had turned light brown by the folds.  Oxi Clean didn't remove that, but they're still acceptable for a presentation.  I wondered if the wooden box caused it, since the second group stored in a shoe box had no discoloring.

The second group of hankies were different than the first, with some much more colorful.  It was fun seeing what appealed to two different ladies.  I had to dispose of more in this group because of holes and ware, but I still ended up with 10 making them $1 each, which was a good price.

I think I'm all set now should this presentation be requested again.  Kleenex practically put the female hankie industry out of business, and like many things, they're now memories of yesteryears.  A hankie was almost always in a ladies' apron pocket, and aprons are a thing of the past now too.  Do you have a hankie collection?

Some tearooms use hankies as napkins.  Even though they're clean and maybe never used for their intended purpose, it still makes me cringe a bit to use them as a napkin.  How do you feel about that?


  1. I love old hankies! I have a box of them...some were mine(I'm "up there" in age), some were my mom's and my grandmother's and some I've picked up here and there. I am also fortunate enough to have a "hankie box", especially made to put your extra hankies in. I cringe every time I see curtains made from them...such frail beauty hanging for the sun to bleach out!!!
    Love hearing about all your presentations!

  2. I love old linens, hankies included. A sweet friend from church gave me a box full before she died, and I’d like to use them in a quilt one day. If you acquire any more with holes or worn spots, please send them to me so I can re-use the good parts.

    1. The ones I pitched were worn and thin, hence the holes. It never dawned on me that they could be repurposed. But in the future I'll send them your way.

  3. Hello Phyllis, I love hankies too! I always have ever since my grandmother and mom used them. As a matter of fact my 92 year old mom still uses them. She always has a fresh one in her purse, just in case. I’ve collected quite a few in the past few years. I now have a banner hanging underneath a single shelf in my living room of nine different ones all in the pink color scheme. They look like an elegant clothesline for a doll and make me smile to look at them. Plus they are inside, spared and utilized! As for the ones with holes, they can be repurposed. Layered on top of a collage table cloth and segments used for repurposing new fashionable, one of a kind clothing piece! They shouldn’t be thrown away!!! Oh my!

  4. What a lovely collection. We have a few old hankies.

  5. I have my Aunt Ida's collection of hankies. She had one in every pocket and every purse. Actually, she called them pocketbooks, and she had a lot of those, too. ;-)

  6. Textiles should not be stored where they touch unsealed wood. The oils in the wood seep out and stain the fabric.


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