10 August 2011
Sit On These
Left to Right: Budd Crocodile, GJ Cleverley Russian, Rogue Empire Tartan
Budd's credit card case in a wallet
Certificate of Authenticity
225 year old leather - Smell the years
Green silk moire lining
Rogue Empire Tartan
My father brought back an elephant skin wallet from Vietnam. Not very PC, even in 1967, but it was masculine with it's black thick skin covered in ridges and a worn patina that molded the corners to my father's fourth point of contact.
When not in use, it lay on a white folded handkerchief on a teak Danish bureau in my parent's bedroom and while I'm not sure of this... I could swear a small halogen spot from above illuminated it in a blue tinged halo glow.
I went through a number of less serious wallets. Camouflaged wallets that closed with velcro and made a loud ripping sound when opened at a cash register. Leather tri folds that looked like brown plugs of chewing tobacco in Puckett's General Store in Huntersville.
I even had a Rolf's wallet from some Christmas in the '70s that was made from a corfam leather so hard it never did mold to my butt. At least not before I lost it with my military dependent I.D., a REI life time co-op card and a well worn B&W picture of a Dutch woman from a nudist magazine.
Naked women and men's wallets sure have changed. The croc wallet is from Budd and is a steal at $215. It comes with a small credit card case so, like a soldier with a ruck sack, you can drop the heavy stuff and drive on with the civilians equivalent of an LBE; Driver's license an ATM and credit card.
The center wallet is from George Cleverley and is hand made of 18th century Russian leather. It reminds me of my father's elephant wallet with oily ridges yet it has an instant patina of more than 225 years. There's a distinct smell that's not unpleasant but a little like smelling your leather watch strap after mowing the lawn. If you do that sort of thing. I paid $450, and I try to smell this wallet everyday.
The smell comes from the Russian tanning process where skins were soaked in pits of willow bark and then curried with birch oil. These skins were found next to a ship wreck on the bottom of Plymouth Sound and buried in black mud since 1786. It's an odd thing - carrying this much history next to my ass - yet despite my repeated offers to friends - to smell something from the 18th century - everyone turns me down.
The $58 tartan wallet comes from a young man in Chicago who decided he wanted to create wallets from discarded tie and suit fabrics. How green is that? Rogue Empire is a lotta fun. I'm not sure how these fabrics will take to the wear a wallet gets but the price is reasonable and they're lighthearted without looking childish. I'm not sure a man on a date wants to pull this out when paying for dinner.