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Fair offers chance to guess ‘mystery artifact’

PHOTO PROVIDED Coins and other small objects would be placed within a slit on either end of the miner's purse, a ring would slide down to hold the coins in the purse, and then it would be looped over a belt or waistband.

Each year, a mystery artifact from the Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society is brought to the Lycoming County Fair for a guessing game. This year’s winner is Linda Hayton, who correctly identified the artifact as a “Miser’s Purse.”

Coins and other small objects would be placed within a slit on either end, a ring would slide down to hold the coins in the purse, and then it would be looped over a belt or waistband.

A number of thoughtful guesses included: a bracelet “used in a wedding ceremony to signify the union,” to pull up a dress, a tie, a falconry lure, a women’s choker, a wedding garter, a napkin holder, a sash to hold valuables, a curtain tieback, a key organizer, a medal, a horse’s decorative tassel, a stocking garter, 1920s Flapper necklace, a sash keeper, a commitment scarf, a tobacco pouch, an Art Deco choker necklace, a funeral ring, a “Betroven (betrothal) ring,” a reticule, to carry scents, a horse bridle ornament, used for women’s hair, a mourning choker, a hair tie, to honor a couple who has passed away, a decorative belt fastener, horse jewelry and a “fancy holder for silverware possibly for a tureen.”

A total of 63 guesses were collected.

The museum, located at 858 W. Fourth St., interprets the history of northcentral Pennsylvania from Native American culture through colonial settlement, the logging and lumbering heritage of the 19th Century and more recent developments of the 20th century. The world class LaRue Shempp Model Train Collection is a must-see. Hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday; and from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday. For further information, please call 570-326-3326 or visit the museum’s website at tabermuseum.org.

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