Gold Plate. Gold Fill. Gold Wash. Confused?

I’ve always wondered about the differences in these jewelry terms, but not being a “jool,” I didn’t feel qualified to write an article about them.

Then voila! I stumbled upon this terrific article by Daye Salander of Daye Salander Antiques & Collectibles. Read and enjoy — and thanks, Daye, for allowing me to link to your blog!

Gold Plate. Gold Fill. Gold Wash. Confused?

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Help! I’ve fallen for something and I can’t identify it!

About a year ago I came upon these pieces in my local thrift store.

A Middle Eastern salad set? I can't seem to find examples of it anywhere.

A Middle Eastern salad set? I can’t seem to find examples of it anywhere.

My first reaction was that they were spooky in a haunted house kinda way.
My second reaction was that I had to have them. I thought the set was pricey at $50, but for some reason I REALLY wanted them.

Well, they were mysterious then, and they’re even more mysterious now. I have no idea what they are, who made them, when they were made, or if they’re junk or priceless antiques.

The only clue is that a faint “Vereco” appears on the bowls. Vereco is the name of a mid-century French glass company whose pieces are collectible. But the only examples online are plain colored glass.

A faint "Vereco" can be seen at the bottom of this bowl.

A faint “Vereco” can be seen at the bottom of this bowl.

Do you think I could find even one cruet like these?

Cruets

I was able to find one or two similar bowls here and there, but nobody seemed to know anything about them. And I found a bottle that was larger, with a different shape but the same filigree. I was, however, impressed with the asking and selling prices!

This bottle, with a similar filigree, came from an estate - but nothing's known about it, either. Photo courtesy of The Little Treasure Shop, Etsy

This bottle, with a similar filigree, came from an estate – but nothing’s known about it, either.
Photo courtesy of The Little Treasure Shop, Etsy

I can’t stand it when I have a mystery on my hands!

I asked an antiques appraiser. He thought the items were made by individual artisans, perhaps in India. The filigree also looks like Russian tea glass holders (podstakannik). And a photograph on Flickr has tags that say they’re Swedish vintage items.

A perfume bottle? Vinegar, to go with the cruets? Who knows?

A perfume bottle? Vinegar, to go with the cruets? Who knows?

At one point I thought they could have been from a 1970s Pier One Imports line, so I contacted the company.

Nope. Wasn’t theirs.

I even saw a similar bottle in an eBay listing for a $1500 antique voodoo box — yikes!

So they remain a mystery — French glass with a twisted wire overlay that could be Indian, Russian, Swedish, Middle Eastern, Hippie American or Early Voodoo Priestess!

And there they sit, on display in my hutch, giving off their wonderful haunted vibe. After all this work, I’m keeping them!

I’m still dying to know when they were made, and by whom, and why so few people seem to have them. If you know, please post a reply.

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Pressed and Cut Glass Were Never Meant to be Shabby Chic.

The year was 1907.
Oklahoma was about to become a state.
World War I hadn’t even begun.
Women weren’t allowed to vote.
The Titanic was nothing more than a design.
“School Days (When We Were a Couple of Kids)” was the #1 popular music hit.

And this bowl, in the “Homestead” pattern (technically #63), was made by Duncan & Miller.

Pattern #63 aka "Homestead" by Duncan & Miller, circa 1907

Pattern #63 aka “Homestead” by Duncan & Miller, circa 1907

It’s a glorious example of Early American Pattern Glass, which graced the tables of those who wanted the look of American Brilliant Cut Glass without the expense.

It’s a miracle that so many pieces like this have survived butterfingers, wars, earthquakes, fires, and countless household moves. Collectors eagerly seek them out and care for them to ensure that they’ll last another 106 years.

So you can imagine how we feel when we see these lovely antiques are presented as “shabby chic” décor, their stunning beauty covered over by “distressed paint” in trendy cottage colors.
They can be very pretty. But they’re no longer able to sparkle in the light, their bevels, stars, shells and buttons hidden behind garish makeup. There’s no acknowledgement of their noble history. Their pattern names and makers are ignored.

Imagine this 106-year-old Imperial Glass sugar, pattern #212, covered in green "distressed" paint and offered for sale as "shabby chic."

Imagine this 106-year-old Imperial Glass sugar, pattern #212, covered in green “distressed” paint and offered for sale as “shabby chic.”

I’d love to post a photo as an example, but I want to make an appeal, not embarrass any individual. 
Sadly, you can find plenty of examples if you do a search.

There is a lot of modern dreck that could be dressed up in similar fashion, and actually improved in the process.
The dollar store has countless “pressed glass” creamers, sugars, vases, cups and plates that might look nice gussied up in paint and gilt — and you can satisfy your inner crafter for a lot less money, as well!

But there is absolutely no reason to destroy a precious remnant of another, more elegant, time for the sake of a passing fancy. Like purpled glass or “refinished” furniture, far too many EAPG treasures are being treated like yesterday’s trash.

One day, sadly, they will become tomorrow’s trash. Removing the paint may not restore the original sparkle, and serious collectors want originals that are as perfect as possible.

There’s nothing wrong with “distressing” an object to create your own artistic statement. But please do some research before you begin, to make sure that you aren’t permanently destroying the work of another artist — one whose work has already stood the test of time.

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Go vintage for a truly fun, old-fashioned holiday!

It’s getting to be that time of year again.
The endless search for that special gift for that special person. You know, the one who already has everything.

Another sweater? A fondue set? A candle – again?
Can you take another trip to the mall?

Why not go vintage this year instead?
For the right person, an antique or vintage item can prove that it really is the thought that counts.

Add to their collection.
Does a friend already collect Carnival glass or pink Depression glass?
When you add to their collection you tell your friend that you share their enthusiasm.

Encourage a new collection.
Has someone recently moved into their first apartment? Inexpensive vintage glassware (especially the kind that will survive a dishwasher, such as Anchor Hocking’s “Wexford”) looks terrific and could encourage that someone to have fun hunting for additional pieces.

Enhance someone’s pleasures.
Maybe a relative loves exotic teas. Or another adores expensive perfumes. Perhaps a friend displays dried flowers, while another prefers funky tribal décor.

A vintage tea set will make that rooibos taste even better, and a genuine 1930s perfume bottle can be filled with a contemporary favorite scent. Dried flowers just seem to look better in antique vases or baskets – and tribal items are nicer when they’re truly old and one-of-a-kind. Vintage jewelry and even clothing can also add a dash of uniqueness for a friend who loves to look different!

And, of course, there’s vintage holiday decorating and hostess gifts, as well.

There’s something about older ornaments, candle holders and fabrics that brings back warm memories.
Whether you treat yourself to an old-fashioned Christmas or know someone who loves vintage charm, you’ll find a wealth of ideas at your local antique shop or online venue such as Etsy, eBay, or Ruby Lane.

This year, get out of the mall mindset. And enjoy the hunt!

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A Manhattan Cookie Jar? Don’t Be So Sure!

I’ve seen this cookie or biscuit jar advertised all over the place as Anchor Hocking’s “Manhattan.”

It sure looks like “Manhattan,” with its distinctive horizontal ribs, and it is pink — one of the original colors.

But it isn’t.

I first became suspicious when I saw that Gene Florence’s listing in his “Encyclopedia of Depression Glass” didn’t show any pieces with glass lids at all! Even the sugar doesn’t seem to have a lid. But everywhere I looked online, it was presented as “Manhattan.” It was driving me crazy. If it isn’t “Manhattan,” what is it?

Then a glass expert referred me to author Hazel Marie Weatherman, who lists this cookie jar as an Anchor Hocking pattern. It just isn’t “Manhattan.” And it technically isn’t by Anchor Hocking, either, since it was made under the “Hocking Glass” name.

The good news is that even serious collectors of “Manhattan” don’t mind incorporating patterns that complement it.
The rounder Hazel Atlas salt and pepper shakers, for example, are often preferred over the original squared-off versions. Many people also collect Hocking’s 1987 reissue, “Park Avenue,” because it is “Manhattan” with some slight differences.

Hazel Atlas Salt & Pepper Shakers. Photo courtesy of FabVintageEstates, Etsy

Hazel Atlas Salt & Pepper Shakers. Photo courtesy of FabVintageEstates, Etsy

“Manhattan” pieces aren’t terribly expensive, but the cookie jars I’ve seen come with impressive asking prices. I’m sure the sellers are simply misguided, because the jar does look like the famous pattern and would be a wonderful addition to a “Manhattan” collection.

Just know what you’re getting before you buy!

And enjoy the hunt!

If you love learning about antiques as much as I do, follow the blog so you won’t miss the next article.

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Vintage postcards: The “supreme expression of art” (Louis Daguerre)

These postcards fell out of a book when I was unpacking some boxes of glassware.

They looked really valuable. I mean, how many photographic postcards of World War I could there be?

Turns out, a lot of them.

Postcards have always been collectible, since they were first produced in the late 1800s. Since most people didn’t have cameras, postcards were the only way to capture the images of the places they visited. Postcard collecting lasted all the way up to World War II, and slightly beyond.
Children’s postcards were extremely popular in the early 1900s, when they were sold in sets of six cards. Parents, grandparents – anyone who travelled, sent them to the kids to show where they were, and what they saw along the way. The children often placed them in albums, helping them to survive to this day.

The eras of postcard styles.
Postcards can be dated by their style. I’ve listed the basic characteristics here, but this website gives you much more information:

Pioneer Era (1873 – 1898): The first privately printed souvenir postcards.
Private Mailing Card Era (1898 – 1901): The back of the card was for the address only, messages had to be written on the front.
Undivided Back Era (1901 – 1907): “Post Card” begins to appear on the back, which was still for the address only. Most picture postcards have a white space at the bottom or to the side of the picture where the name of the sender and a short messages could be written.
Divided Back Era (1907 – 1914): Postcards with a divided back, allowing for writing on the address side.
White Border Era (1915 – 1930): A white border was left around the picture during the printing process to save on ink costs, and the cards were often of poorer quality than earlier cards.
Linen Era (1930 – 1944): If you look closely at these cards, you can see a weave texture in the paper. Some were printed with a white border and other were printed “full bleed.”
Photochrome Era (1945 – Present): Photochromes are reproduced through a printing process, while real photo postcards were actual photographs printed on special postcard sized photographic paper.
Postcards come in all styles and topics.

Postcard of Cape May, NJ. Photo courtesy of Treehouse Antiques, Cape May.

Postcard of Cape May, NJ. Photo courtesy of Treehouse Antiques, Cape May.

You can find illustrated postcards depicting true love. Photographs of famous (and not-so-famous) cities around the world. Postcards of animals, flowers, hotels and resorts – even animals! And some postcards have been signed by the artist, making them just a tad more valuable.

So how much are they worth?
As a rule, just a few dollars each — that’s what makes them so much fun to hunt for and collect. The value of a particular card depends on several factors:
Size: Standard sizes are worth more than the larger “continental” size.
Signed: Cards signed by certain artists command higher prices.
Cancelled postage: Some cancellations make a card worth more.
And, of course, quality matters as with any other collectible. The closer to mint condition, the higher the value.

Where can you find vintage postcards?
Naturally, they’re available online. If you’re just starting a collection, buying online could be the best way to go. The sellers often provide far more information than you’d get elsewhere — enabling you learn as you go.

You can also find them at flea markets, antique shops and shows and specialty events (e.g. military expos, auto shows, etc.). Since they’re usually piled into boxes, you need to know what you’re doing before you pay good money for them.

Vintage postcards are a great way to memorialize the people, places and things we considered important. And they’re a wonderful category to collect, as well!

Enjoy the hunt!

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States of Confusion: The US Glass States Series

A fixture in the china cabinet of our Janvier Road bungalow was this pretty green creamer.

US Glass States Series "Colorado" pattern, also known as "Lacy Medallion."

US Glass States Series “Colorado” pattern, also known as “Lacy Medallion. (It would make a great gift for someone named Sarah.)”

It wasn’t until many years later that I found out its name: “Colorado.” A few years after that I discovered that it was part of a series of glass patterns honoring the States of the Union.

What a great idea for a collection!
But as with much EAPG, nothing is as simple as it seems.
Perhaps that’s why so many people love and collect EAPG. There are just so many fascinating backstories that lead to wonderful debates!

The US Glass States Series remains a mystery to this day.

  • According to some experts, 42 patterns were produced between 1897 and 1903, but only 36 patterns are officially known.
  • Not all of the original 13 colonies had patterns named for them — but even that is controversial, due to often-confusing catalogues and articles.
  • Some patterns were named for states that weren’t yet part of the Union (Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, New Mexico, Oklahoma).
  • “States” glass was made by several companies, but serious collectors count only those made by US Glass.
  • Some US Glass patterns may have been issued under different names before the companies merged with US Glass.
  • Many of the official “States” patterns also have alternate names – just to confuse you a little more.

“States” Salt and Pepper Shakers are highly collectible.
This page has a nice gallery of shakers from the states. You’ll also notice that this expert differs from the one above about which states are “official.” To me, it just makes the whole collecting thing more interesting and fun!

So what do they all look like?
Here is a list of the states I was able to find, along with links to photos. (I’ll add more as I find them, so keep checking back.)
Remember that one expert may not consider a particular state or pattern “official.” So get yourself a book, consult with an expert, start searching and enter into the fray!

(You may have to scroll down on some of the pages to find the pattern.)
Alabama
Arizona
California
Colorado
Dakota
Delaware
Florida
Illinois
Indiana (The pattern shown here is not Indiana, but many collect it as such. See how complicated it gets?)
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
New Hampshire
New York (Also called “Manhattan,” which, of course is not the same as Hocking’s “Manhattan.” Whew.)
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont
Virginia

US Glass States Series "Virginia" pattern #15071. Photo courtesy of Chris Cope

US Glass States Series “Virginia” pattern #15071. Photo courtesy of Chris Cope

Wisconsin
Wyoming

If you want to get a sense of the challenges and excitement of EAPG, check out the Early American Pattern Glass Society on Facebook! But be careful – you may just get hooked on collecting!

Enjoy the hunt!

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