New Czech Glass FigurinesBy Mark Chervenka
New Czech Glass Figurines
Glass figurines have been a made in the Czechoslovakian village of Zelezny Brod since the 1920s. By the late 1930s, large numbers were being made. Production stopped during WWII and then resumed in the late 1940s through the 1960s.
In late 1994, volume production of the figures was begun again in Zelezny Brod and other locations in the new Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia). These new figures have been imported into the United States and have appeared in the antiques market.
All the figures, both new and old, are made of small pieces of brightly colored glass joined together while hot. Most figures represent a clearly identifiable occupation, hobby or sport such as doctor, golfer, musician. etc. They are usually mounted on a roughly circular slab-style base.
Eastern European glass authority Bob Truitt, who was in the Czech Republic last September, said the new figures are virtually identical to earlier pieces. "Nothing has changed, really. They're the same glass figures as before simply made by the next generation. The better pieces are made in the Czech Republic; less skillfully made pieces are produced in Bulgaria and Poland."
Original 1930s era figurines can run from $150 to several hundred dollars and higher. Many, but not all, of the earlier pieces are acid stamped with the word "Czechoslovakia" (see below). There are no permanent marks on new pieces. Keep in mind, however, that an acid stamp is easily forged and is not a guarantee of age.
Since new and old are virtually identical, it is difficult to provide information to help with determining age. Just be aware that new glass figures were made again and more are likely. The new Czech figures may also be represented as Venetian glass. All figures in this article are 6" to 8" in height unless noted.