Uniquely made purse baskets from the 1960s

Caro Nan BasketI’ve gotten so much great reader feedback on my post about Caro Nan baskets that I had to do a follow up. It’s so amazing to hear from people from all over the country who have beloved vintage Caro Nan baskets and their unique stories behind them. The uses are varied too–toy boxes, lunch pails, picnic baskets, purses and even a little child’s step stool (though I hear that basket didn’t hold up so well!). What I find so fascinating about these baskets is how ubiquitous yet little-known they are. The designers ran a small home workshop, where they really cranked these things out in the 1960s. As business boomed they employed stay-at-home moms looking for extra cash to help keep up with the flow or orders, according to an article in the Clarion Ledger. Yet few purse or vintage aficionados have ever heard of Caro Nan. Most seem to stumble across the name only when they become an owner of one of the purses or, like me, meet someone who carries one.

A reader was kind enough to send in these photos of her own Caro Nan basket, which depicts a preciously retro scene of a little girl amongst flowers. Isn’t it amazing that each one of these baskets is exclusive in its design and no two are the same?

How do I know if I have a Caro Nan?

Inside of a vintage Caro Nan basketThe lid of the basket is inscribed with a note indicating that it was custom made. Note the signature in the lower left–that’s how you know a basket is indeed a Caro Nan. I haven’t seen any Caro Nan copies yet so I’m not sure if any were made, but if there is any question if it’s genuine or not, just check for the signature since every basket was signed.

I’m still waiting to find one of my own, so hopefully someday soon one will appear in an outfit post! In the meantime, shop some of my favorite basket purses of this season, inspired by Caro Nan:

Read my first post on Caro Nan here.

2 Comments on Caro Nan Baskets: Treasures from the 60s

  1. I have three that I found in various treasure hunts! One came from a house sale in Massachusetts and 2 from Goodwills in the Atlanta area.
    Each is different, one with mushrooms, 2 with buildings and only one penny! I love them and would be glad to send photos if you would like!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.