To all picnic basket lovers, all signed Putney Vermont Basketville baskets should be on your wish list as they went out of business in 1996. The company made extraordinary baskets since the 1940s but their basket making journey goes back to the late 1800's as they bought out other firms. I can give you pointers on what to look for to discover their oldest and most valuable baskets.
This is a very unique picnic basket to find for several reasons. It is oak splint and it is square. Most picnic baskets were rectangular. It is square because it's known as a pie picnic basket. It also features old fashioned over lapping handles. The lid is hand painted with bright red strawberries and the handles are red fabric covered.
The picnic basket is in superb condition and has the ROUND Basketville hallmark. I know this mark was used in the 1940s and 1950s, but at some point after that, the newer mark are the words Basketville Putney VT on straight lines. Im not sure when the round mark was last used but it is an older mark.
The lids on these baskets were made flat for 2 reasons So women could paint them and to serve as a flat table like area to eat on or write while on a picnic. The hand painted strawberry designs were painted by the original owner as was not factory painted.
Also note that the most sought after Americana style picnic baskets are not the ones with painted geese or animals. The most eagerly sought after artist painted designs are flowers, fruits, and landscapes. You might also note that on the older baskets have brass nails and the hinges are brass painted black. Later baskets, they didn't paint the hinges at the factory. Also, after the 1970s, the handles on picnic baskets do not overlap.
Most sellers online guess at the age of these baskets but always look for the round stamp most of all. You can also tell the age by the types of paints or decals and the style of the design on the lids that were used in certain decades. Plain ash splint are newer designs while the deep dark brown and reddish browns are older oak splint wood.
This basket was rarely if ever used. The inside has the original hand made wood pie shelf with cut outs on the sides for cutlery. The basket is in excellent clean condition and the wood has been well cared for and retains an oil like sheen. All of the canes and corners are in perfect shape as well. The hand painted design on the lid is in great shape with only very minor hints of age to the white background.
The basket measures 14" tall with the handles. The basket is 13 1/2" wide x 8 1/2" deep.