vendredi 7 juillet 2017

American Vintage Glassware Collectibles Are Fascinating

By Amanda Patterson

It's rewarding to learn about early housewares, even if you don't collect yourself. Useful or decorative items made of glass are especially fun, because you can see examples of them in antique centers, flea markets, and even yard sales. You may not want vintage glassware collectibles on your dining room table, but then again maybe you fall in love. This is an inexpensive and enjoyable way to make browsing through junk shops and antique malls more interesting.

You may wonder if 'vintage' means antique, or if 'collectible' means valuable. Well, if there is a demand for something, it's collectible. Vintage means from former times but not over a century old, in general. Like a fine wine, knowing the year an item was made and who made it helps with establishing its desirability. Many collectibles are not intrinsically valuable, although certain rarities may start a bidder's war.

Antiques are loosely considered to be more than 100 years old and to have a certain value. These are considered good investments, especially when in original and good condition. Collectible items are generally more affordable and may go out of fashion as quickly as they come in, so the point is more because you like a certain type, color, or style of glass that that you expect a return for your money.

Collectible glass comes in functional pieces like dishes, platters, punch bowls, vases, and drinking glasses. It was also used for decorative items, from paperweights and Christmas tree ornaments to lamp shades, but these are harder to find. It has always been popular to give glass items as wedding presents, and many a family heirloom holds memories of the giver and the occasion. Some highly decorative, colorful glass was given as prizes at carnivals and Bingo games.

It's fun to link styles of glass to history. In America, Depression glass (as it is now known) was a cheap, molded line and not all that well made. However, it was affordable and came in gorgeous colors like cobalt blue, pink, pearly white, and iridescent. Housewives could buy it at the dime store or get it in a box of cereal or detergent. This pretty style was definitely a bright spot in the otherwise dreary 1930s.

There were many American companies turning out glassware during the war years, when imported tableware was unavailable. Names like Fostoria, Heisey, and Cambridge identify higher end glass. Many of these lines were hand-made from molds, rather than machine produced, as well as hand colored. The better lines were called 'elegant glass'.

Maybe you have glasses packed away in the attic, those old-fashioned ones your grandmother used. Get them out and identify them by maker, pattern, color, and date. You may have fairly valuable collectibles or you may just have charming heirlooms to use, as well as knowledge to pass along to your children.

Visiting antique malls and flea markets is such fun. Some towns have what they call 'yard crawls' when the whole town or even the entire roadside between towns is one big yard sale. Knowing the different kinds of glass is a great hobby, like bird watching or learning about old roses. Vintage glass is colorful, inventive, and just plain glorious.

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