Tussie Mussie-Posy Holders

By mwilcox


This odd looking item is a “Tussie Mussie” or "Posy Holder." The term Tussie-Mussie dates back to the 1400s, the name "tussle" coming from an old English word for a nosegay. Most we see today are Victorian examples, an era when these small bouquet holders were a popular fashion accessory. These could also be used to send a hidden message to the recipient of your intentions, a rose could mean yes, a carnation no.

They were made in a variety of materials, those in gold or silver will carry hallmarks to indicate their date of origin and precious metal content. Examples without such markings of this type are generally gold gilt or plated. Most like the one depicted here are Victorian examples dating from about 1840-1875. The handles were made in a variety of materials: porcelain, bone, ivory, and many others, Mother of pearl being the most popular. Very few of the silver or gold gilt examples have any markings to indicate who made it and when, but they still can be quite valuable. Values depend on the materials they were made out of and the quality of design, today one like the example shown go at auction in the $300.00- $400.00 range.