This is the place to come to learn about Avery style needle cases.

Survey Results

Most of the survey results received to date have been included in the Master List and Companies sections of this website.  Other more general results are listed below.

These results are based on the responses received from the survey.  Different results would be expected if a designs popularity or uniqueness was based solely on something else such as similar items sold on eBay over a specific period of time.  Only needle cases known to exist were included in the survey analysis.  In order to assess which designs were the most unique we took into consideration how often an item appeared on eBay in the past ten years based on our recollection.


We’d like to thank the following individuals who completed the survey and helped add valuable information to our understanding of Avery needle cases.  Also a special thank you goes to Lynda Herrod for taking time to read through all of the UK patents to ensure they were matched correctly to existing needle cases as well as for reviewing the content on this website.

Averylady, USA

Christina Bertrand, New York

Clarice Birch, South Australia

Patricia Caras, California

Sandi Falconer, Texas

Robyn Grant, South Australia

Lynda Herrod, Queensland, Australia

Mildred Jarvis, Georgia

Judith McGraw, Texas

Loene McIntyre, Colorado

Terry Meinke, Illinois

Judith Ryder, Colorado

Diana Simms, New South Wales, Australia

Most common designs:

Beatrice - 4 section

Beatrice - 6 section


Butterfly Box - Oval Tub

Coal Scuttle (formerly known as the Gardener's Basket)

Easel - Floral

Fan with Rose

Hedgehog Pin and Needle Case


Lap Desk - Floral

Louise - Square

Postal Weight

Quadruple Casket - Butterfly on Leaf

Quadruple Casket - Fleur-de-Lis

Queen's Footstool

Scallop Shell


Walnut on Leaf

Wheelbarrow with Holly

Wheelbarrow with Roses

Most unique designs:

Arts & Industry

Barrel on Stand

Beehive Skep

Bird’s Nest Pin Case

Butterfly - Diamond Box

Butterfly - Filigree

Carpet Bag

Dog Carrying Woven Basket

Dog Lying on Plinth

Easel - Diamond Jubilee

Eiffel Tower


Fan with Swan Cover

Flat Iron

Goat with Panniers

Golden Cart (with all parts intact)


Hygrometer/Weather House

Invalid Chair

Lap Desk - Diamond Jubilee

Lap Desk - Royal Portrait Busts

Lighthouse with Boat

Lion on Plinth

Oval Tub - Diamond Jubilee

Oval Tub - Ladies Portrait

Organ Grinder

Punch and Judy Theater

Quadruple Casket in silver

Rose Pin Case

Seated Cherub with Book

Sedan Chair

Sheaf of Wheat

Shield with Ladies Portrait Bust

Shield with Rose

Shield with Stag Head



Victoria with windmill and horse

Top 10 most desired designs:

Fan with Rose: 6 people list this in the top 10, 4 in the top 4

Hedgehog: 6 people list this in the top 10, 3 in the top 4

Butterfly: 5 people list this in the top 10, 3 in the top 4

Cock Robin’s Grave: 4 people list this in the top 10, 3 in the top 3

Windmill: 4 people list this in the top 10, 3 in the top 5

Scallop Shell: 4 people list this in the top 10, 1 in the top 5

Easel: 4 people list this in the top 10, 1 in the top 5

Eiffel Tower: 3 people list this in the top 10, 2 as #1

Coal Scuttle (formerly known as the Garderner’s Basket): 3 people list this in the top 10, 1 in the top 5

Quadruple – Butterfly on Leaf: 3 people list this in the top 10, 1 in the top 5

Designs most often produced in nickel-silver or nickel-plating:

Crab on Platter

Lion on Plinth

Abel Morrell

Silver Casket

Silver Needle Case

Quadruple Casket plain with no decoration

Quadruple Casket with Liverpool Exhibition 1886.

Companies whose names are found on the most designs:

W. Avery & Son (117)

H. Milward & Sons (17)

Baggalleys, Westall & Spence (13)

Copestake, Moore, Crampton & Co (10)

W. Whiteley (9)

Cook-Son & Co. 8)

Pratt & Farmer (8)

W. Hall & Co. (7)

Average length of time collecting Averys:

16 years

Percent of individuals who also collect other sewing items:

92%.  Only one individual collects only Avery needle cases.  Most survey participants collect needlework tools, sewing related items, needle cases, knitting items, thimbles, figural tape measures and royal commemoratives.

How collectors became interested in Averys:

"I subscribe to “Inspirations” which is a craft magazine form Adelaide but is sent all over the world.  I saw all these beautiful Victorian sewing items – in particular the Avery needle cases.  One of the ladies that supplies these ”props” to the magazine brought some of her items to a needlework conference here in Adelaide.  I started collecting them about that time.”

“I love Victorian figural sewing items.”

“When I started collecting Royal Commemorative needlework tools.”

“Avery needle cases came into my collection thru estate sales and antique shows and one antique dealer got me 2 of them as she knew of my collections and she didn’t deal with sewing items – my gain.”

“Saw some listed on eBay.”

“I collect antique needle cases, especially English and French ones.  Bought the book, fell in love with the clever designs.”

“I am an avid needle worker – passion/hobby – I first saw them at a needlework conference - Anne Powell booth.  Decided I needed to collect the artful brass objects.  Couldn’t afford then at the time, but purchased the Ruth Mann book from A. Powell.  The rest = history.”

“I wanted to add them to my needle case collection as I felt they were intrinsically beautiful.”

“In 1992 I was contacted by an elderly lady in England who needed to downsize and sell her collection to see if I was interesting in buying.  She offered a variety of tools including Averys.  Over several years she would send me a list and the Averys were very appealing though very expensive even in those days.  I have since bought others when I seem them mostly from our old homeland.”

“Beauty, sewing item.”

“The first sewing antique I purchased was the Avery Easel.  Although I often browsed antique shops I have no particular interest.  I don’t know what it was but I just loved the look of it.  The dealer told me about it and showed me a collecting magazine which had one listed – probably so that I would believe the price was not over the top.  That is the only one I have ever seen in an antique shop here in Australia but it was enough to get me hooked.”

“From 1984-1993 I created and cross-stitched samplers.  In 1992 I saw an article in one of my cross-stitch magazines about Avery style needle cases and really liked the one that looked like a butterfly.   I thought it was so cute.  My mother, an antique dealer, gave me the Butterfly, my first Avery for Christmas that year so I decided to start collecting antique needlework tools.  However, after a year or two I decided to focus only on collecting Avery needle cases.”

What collectors like most about Averys:

“The detail, the interesting objects that they have thought of to become needle cases.”

“The whimsy of going to so much trouble to make an elaborate case just to hold paper needle packets.”

“The variety and the imagination in the designs.”

“The interesting designs.”

“They are pretty durable and the brass is shiny.  The designs are clever and there are so many of them.”

“Aside from how wonderful they look and feel, what I like best is that Avery very smartly designed clever little containers to market a most common article, the needle.”

“They represent a gentler time, are incredibly artful and wonderful to look at.  The intricate design work is amazing.”

"The different shapes and attractive style and quality of workmanship.  Also, the artistic appeal of the needle cases.”

“I love the patterns and innovative ideas the makers had, also the craftsmanship for that era.”

“Beauty, imagination of design.”

“I like the workmanship, fine detail, and variety – overall “dinkiness”.  I am very fond of Victoriana.”

“What I like best about Avery’s is the design detail that is pressed into the brass; it is so deep and clear, very artistic.  Also I like the overall design concepts: i.e.: Butterfly, Cock Robin's Grave, Hedgehog, etc.  These designs are very interesting and cute.  I also think the engraved detail is fabulous – how did they get the flowers and swirls to be so nicely aligned considering the engraving was done by hand.  Lastly, I love the way the individual pieces are connected together by bent tabs and/or designed to snap into each other without solder.”

Master List

To date 227 Avery style needle cases have been discovered.  Visit these pages to see photographs of each design as well as the original design registration or patent and gain knowledge about variations within each design.

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Avery Survey

In 2013 an Avery Survey was created in order to gather as much information as possible about Avery style needle cases from collectors and interested parties around the world.  The Avery Survey is easy to complete and gives you a chance to contribute to this important research.  Be sure and stop here to see the survey results.

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About Us

Learn how the author turned a hobby cross stitching antique sampler reproductions into a passion for collecting Avery needle cases resulting in a published book, a Wikipedia article, a TCI Bulletin article and conference presentation and this website.

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