Back in the late 70s I was standing in Harrods, looking at these cute little porcelain dishes.
“Oh,” I thought, “they must be coasters” made to match whichever china pattern one used. I liked them and I needed coasters, so I bought several.
And I used them as coasters. They look prettier than those ugly cork things, so why not?
Came time to sell them and I couldn’t find them anywhere…until by chance I plugged in the Spode coaster’s pattern number.
Turns out they’re pin dishes. For pins. You know, sewing pins. And even the prettiest vintage pin dishes are extremely affordable.
Apparently, if you sew, it’s easier to keep your pins in a flat dish instead of sticking them into a pincushion every few seconds. Makes sense. You can even find plentiful instructions for gluing a magnet on the bottom to make storing the pins even easier.
So why have pin dishes never caught on in the United States? I have no clue. Maybe we Americans all thought they were coasters!
I did. In fact, I actually bought “real” coasters that day in Harrods. At least that’s what the box said. But even then, some people call them pin dishes. It’s very confusing.
Other people use them for butter – and I bet these cute little dishes would be perfect for flavored bread-dipping oils, too.
But a pin dish? Who knew?
Enjoy the hunt!