Sunday, 10 June 2012

Samplers - Not All They Appear!

While recently browsing samplers for sale as I usually do while have my early morning cuppa, I came across this item. The seller was extremely confident that here was a most particular and unusually wonderful sampler. Certainly it is unique - I have never seen the like before, but certainly it is not a sampler. It is a mystery in more ways than one.

Although appearing beautifuly satin stitched, some of you will recognize this as a woven silk card that was given away with Kensitas cigarettes in the 1930s - though how many of you were smoking then, I'm sure you won't admit.

The flower designs were numerous and had a card with information. It is an absolute mystery where these cards were woven. If in the UK, it is likely they would have been manufactured around Coventry. Sadly, this area was blanket bombed in WWII and if there were records, they are now lost. JJ Cash who are still weaving silk items did not produce them.
Since the proprietor of Kensitas was German, it is possible they were made in Europe. In fact many of the designs have a Dutch sister, though presented on a black background. These were produced in 1926 by the Turkish Macedonian Tobacco Company.

Turmac for short - here is an original tin.

However, the earliest examples of these silk flowers were produced in the USA in 1912 by Egyptienne Luxury Cigarettes and the designs represented the flowers of each state. All are highly collectable and individually have a value of between £4-£6.


  1. Beautiful Idea.
    Hugs from Italy.

  2. I also have such a sampler with embroidered flowers just like your 1st picture. It was made up by my mother 25 yrs ago. I am almost positive the embroidered flowers came from Coventry as she got them from my godmother who was bombed out of Coventry during WW2. 26 yrs ago my godmother had recently died and all the sewing stuff had gone to my mother, some had been part sewn together, and I think there was an advice sheet on how to do this, others were in paper folders. Luckily my mother is still around, she is 95 on Wednesday, so I will ask her. I like the sampler but would have preferred the embroideries as they were in paper! She was gripped by a quilting passion 25 yrs ago and there was no stopping her!

  3. This is exciting news, Judith - I look forward to hearing more. Please give my best regards to your mother.

  4. Oh J, I too have one of these bought many years ago at a local market. I have been tempted to rip them apart!