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Enid Collins Handbags

by Glynis Ward

Collins box bag, "Flower Power", ca. late 1960s, auctioned on eBay for $102.50 in April 2000 by

Collins of Texas opened its doors in Medina, Texas in 1959, producing whimsical, happy handbags. Enid Collins, owner and designer, operated the company until 1970, when it was purchased by the Tandy Leather Corporation. The Collins company primarily made two types of bags - wooden box purses, and canvas bucket style bags. Each purse was hand decorated with paint, sequins and rhinestones in themed designs. Never intended to be fad creations, Enid Collins finished all of her handbags with leather trim, mirrors, brass findings and fasteners. They were intended to be good quality, fun day bags. A bit of glitz on the way to the grocery store!

During the late 60s, the Collins company manufactured complete do-it-yourself kits called Sophistikits (I and II) which are of course very difficult to find uncompleted. Interestingly enough to the modern day collector, these kits create a flood of imitation Enid Collins bags. Just as cute, but not quite as authentic, but a great way to find a bargain!

Like all collectibles, Collins bags in excellent condition with minimal wear are the most desired. Applied decorations can easily fall off, and the handles can suffer from frequent use. When the canvas bags can become stained, the glue-applied findings make them difficult to clean.

A mint "In the Pink" Enid Collins bag sold for $260 on eBay on March 23, 2000.

Signatures are also important. Early box bags are fully signed under the Enid Collins name, and are often dated by year (designs could change from year to year). Bags frequently have their themed names written on them. Many bags are also signed "ec" or simply with a small "c" - which represents the years in which Enid Collins owned the company. Bags tagged with a capital "C" or "Collins Of Texas" are Tandy-produced bags. Tandy bags are no less attractive, but these production signatures do reflect on the value and desirability of the bag.

Collins bag, "Sea Garden", with original box and tags, ca. mid 1960s, auctioned on eBay for $161.49 in April 2000 by kottrose

Designs play an important part in Collins collecting. Some designs were printed on both boxes and buckets - some are more popular on the boxes, while others are favored on the buckets. Themes often ran in a series, like the Zodiac theme. Some zodiac signs are highly sought after, while others don't command so much attention. Themes also become fads in the collectors circles - at any given time one particular theme might be hot, and then its desirability wanes.

Prized themes include:

  • Pineapple Boxes
  • Glitter Bugs Bags
  • Glitter Bugs II
  • Flutterbye Boxes
  • Jewel Garden Buckets
  • Sea Garden Buckets
  • Sign Of Spring
  • Sun box
  • Daisy Buckets
  • Paul & Heather August Collins

More information

For TONS of photos of box bags (just photos, no names), see Michele's Vintage in Style Enid Collins page. Also check out the Enid Collins Purse Collector's Page where you can buy Sue Young's (aka baerbaer on ebay) reportedly fabulous Enid Collins e-book on CD.
Collins box bag, "In the Swim", 1963, auctioned on eBay for $51.00 in April 2000 by doboy


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