New Cameo in Retail Catalogs May Signal TrendBy

New Cameo in Retail Catalogs may Signal Trend

Reproductions of Art Nouveau French cameo glass are now being routinely listed in mail order catalogs mailed to the general public.

The 15-inch lamp with a multicolored landscape design shown here appears in a summer catalog of Art & Artifact, widely mailed to general consumers nationwide. The piece shown is marked with a copy of a genuine vintage mark, Galle in raised glass script. The new lamp sells for $199.00; a comparable ca. 1885-1920 Galle production line original can sell for $3,500 to $15,000 depending on colors, number of layers, hand work and other factors.

New cameo glass has been in the American market since at least the 1980s. Until recently, however, it was usually found only in the trade catalogs of reproduction wholesalers with very limited circulation.

Copies of works in other mediums marked Remington, Parrish and others, have been widely offered in mail order catalogs for years. It now appears traditional mail order outlets are becoming more comfortable with offering reproductions of glass marked with famous designers, makers and studios.

The only serious obstacle to selling products with famous signatures or brand names is the threat of litigation by the trademark or copyright owner. If the original owner or company is out of business, there is generally no source of funding to challenge using the name on modern reproductions. Names of defunct American potteries such as Roseville, McCoy, Watt and others, for example, have been widely used on reproductions made since the mid-1990s.

The majority of new cameo glass, and most other categories of antique reproductions, is made in China. It's only logical that mail order companies are exposed to these reproductions at trade shows and markets of gift wares and decorating items. It would be easy to place an order. The sluggish economy may push more general mail order catalogs into carrying antique reproductions as a way of growing revenues.

But whatever the reason, the appearance of glass reproductions in general catalogs can only increase the total number of reproductions drifting into the antiques and collectibles markets.


New cameo glass 15-inch lamp marked Galle, offered at $199.