Are you a lover of vintage glassware? If so, I have good news… and bad news.
Let’s look at the downside first. The market for collectible glass took a hit in 2005 and has been on a steady downward trend every since. Some fault eBay and Etsy for flooding the market, others cite the changing taste of the buying public for the decrease in value, but whatever the reason the simple fact is, we are looking at realized pricing that may set the value of your glassware at a fraction of what you paid for it.
Now for the good news. If you love old glass as a collectible or to enhance your home decor, this is the time to shop! Their are bargains to be had in the current buyers market, so be on the lookout! Here are five popular styles of glassware to watch for as you hit the yard sales and estate auction this summer.
Crackle glass is produced by immersing hot glass into cold water. The sudden contrast of hot to cold causes the glass to crack, then it is reheated to smooth the edges. Crackle glass is available in a wide range of prices. To the high end of the are the large vases and decanters produced by Blenko in the 1950s and 60s. On the lower end of the range are the hand blown miniatures from companies such as Pilgrim, Heritage and Bonita. We are seeing a slight bounce in the market for crackle glass as it has caught the eye of MCM enthusiasts who are drawn to its abstract forms and vibrant gem tone colors.
Milk glass is a translucent or opaque glass that originated in Venice in the 16th Century and became popular with glass companies in this country in the late 1800s. It is available in both blown and molded pieces. The bulk of the milk glass available in shops today will be from the 1930s and 40s. There is a definite distinction between “milk glass” and pieces of “white glass.” True milk glass will have what is referred to as “fire.” This means when it is held to the light you will see a rainbow of colors deep in the glass. Milk glass abounds due to its long period of mass production. Company names to watch for include; Fenton, Westmoreland and Imperial.
Cranberry glass was made by adding gold slats or colloidal gold to molten glass. In some older pieces you will also find tin used in small amounts as a reducing agent. Its ruby color, with a violet tint, was popular in the Victorian era and the first part of the 20th Century. It was expensive to produce and reserved for only the finest pieces. Sugar shakers, pitchers and cruets are the most common finds. Watch for pieces from Northwood, Fenton and Hobbs, Brockunier & Company.
Ruby Flash glass. This inexpensive form of production gave the the buying public the appearance of ruby or cranberry glass, at a fraction of the cost. Flash is produced by adding a thin coat of color to the outside of clear glass. You will find it used on entire pieces as well as added to the rim of glasses, bowls, and pitchers for decoration. Some of the most popular pieces (small pitchers and toothpick holders) were sold as souvenirs at fairs and expositions where the person’s name and date were added to the body of the piece. Look very closely before you buy as the color chips easily.
Depression Glass was manufactured from the late 1920s through the early 1940s. No grinding or hand polishing was done to these machined, mass-produced pieces. The way it came from the mold was the way it was shipped. It was not expensive. You could purchase most pieces for around 14 cents, a full set of dinnerware would run you $2-$3, or you could find it free in a box of oatmeal. At the peak of production is was made by more than 20 factories and available in over 100 patterns. Until next time…Linda
Linda Kennett is a professional liquidation consultant specializing in down-sizing for seniors and the liquidation of estates and may be reached at 317-258-7835 or firstname.lastname@example.org