Searching for Glass
By far the greatest majority of reproductions are now being made in China and India. Both countries have literally millions of low wage workers and governments that impose practically no environmental regulations.
On January 28, 2001, a buyer in Chicago paid $1200 for a set of four bowls and plates (Fig. 1) marked R. Lalique, France (Fig. 2) Unfortunately, the frosted glass bowls and plates were made in the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia), not France and the Lalique marks were forgeries.
Shown here (Fig. 1) is the reproduction Admiral Dewey water pitcher first reported in the December 1999 issue of ACRN. The original pitcher (Fig. 2) was issued to commemorate the Spanish American War naval battle of Manila Bay fought May 1, 1898. It was made by the Beatty-Brady Glass Company of Steubenville and Dunkirk, Indiana, ca. 1899-1900.
Millville Atmospheric Fruit Jars are among the rarest and most expensive glass jars. Last summer, a cobalt blue quart-size Millville brought $24,200 at a Norman C. Heckler auction in Connecticut. Another Millville at the same auction, an amber half-gallon, sold for $11,000. New jars very similar to the original Millvilles are now reproduced and being sold for $25.
If you havent already noticed, figural blown glass Christmas tree ornaments are enjoying a comeback. Originally made ca. 1870-1940, new thin walled mold blown glass ornaments are again big sellers. Many new comic character ornaments are being made including Betty Boop, Popeye, Felix the Cat and others. Even advertising trademark figures are being produced like Mr. Peanut. Average retail prices for the new ornaments range from $15-$50. Original figures are $150-$500.
This piece is a reproduction of the classic McKee glass Bottoms Up tumbler. It is ceramic but shows the same nude female figure draped over the tumbler. The nude is flesh colored, the background is offwhite. It has an all over pearlized luster finish similar to Deco era Noritake. No mark of any kind. Patent number 77725
Custard glass is a creamy pale yellow opaque glass (mostly pressed) made primarily in America, ca. 18951910 then again as kitchen glassware, ca. 19301950s. The leading company was Northwood but custard was also made by Heisey, Tarentum, Dithridge, U.S. Glass, McKee and others. Victorian pattern custard has been reproduced for years but a few simple tests will help you avoid the majority of fakes.
Several pieces of new iridescent glass recently showed up at an auction gallery with faked Tiffany paper labels see Figs. 12 above. The two pieces with the paper labels were among a group of four pieces all of which had faked and forged Tiffany marks. The group was attempting to be consigned by one person. All items were rejected by the auction gallery. How can you tell old from new Here are some hints and clues.
This dog house match holder was originally made by Westmoreland Specialty Co. in the early 1900s. It was in production off and on until Westmoreland closed in 1984. In the late 1980s, the mold was acquired by Summit Art Glass Company which reproduced the piece in a variety of colors. Until late summer 1997, the dog house had not been reproduced in milk glass. Now the piece is available in opaque white for 5 each.
Fakers and forgers are now using a new method to alter the color of antique and collectible glassware. It is called irradiation. Rather than changing the color of an object by covering its surface with paint or some other external coating, irradiation changes glass internally within the very atoms of the glass. Most pieces being altered are genuinely old authentic pieces. Forgers buy these old pieces in the most common and least expensive colors. The pieces are then irradiated to produce rare or unlisted colors which command premium prices.