Interesting Finds at Nomad

Cawston coinPeople bring us boxes of things to consign, and every once in a while something really curious pops out of a box and makes us smile.  The piece above is a coin case dating back to the 1890’s, and you could wear it around your neck on a chain and pull out your coins for the trolley or the subway.  It holds nickels and either dimes or pennies.  The case is a treat just to look at, but the coolest part for us is the engraving on the cover.  After a lot of squinting, we were able to make out that it says “Cawston Ostrich Farm, California”.  Turns out that Cawston Ostrich Farm was the first ostrich farm in the United States and was a tourist attraction from 1886 to 1935.  The farm was at the end of the trolley line from Los Angeles to Pasadena – so this little case would have come in very handy for ladies visiting the farm on the trolley.

Cawston Ostrich FarmThis is a shot of the interior of one of Cawston’s plume shops – ostrich plumes were used to decorate hats, clothing and homes!  Can you imagine us in the summer wearing huge hats loaded with ostrich plumes?  With long wool dresses and corsets?  Good grief!!

Our case came out of someone’s grandmother’s jewelry box – that grandmother, or maybe even her mother, probably traveled to California from Colorado in the 1890’s and brought this souvenir back.  It has survived, intact, to give us this glimpse into the past of women’s adornment.