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Antiques & Collecting: Beware of blown glassware

This piece of blown blue glass made in 1780 in Pittsburgh is a rarity that sold for $2,340. But be careful when buying antique glass; many fakes were made in the 1930s and may still fool buyers.
This piece of blown blue glass made in 1780 in Pittsburgh is a rarity that sold for $2,340. But be careful when buying antique glass; many fakes were made in the 1930s and may still fool buyers.

It is very difficult to identify early blown glassware from the 18th century because talented modern glass blowers can make good copies in the earlier styles and colors.

Today, chemical analysis of the glass, along with other modern methods, can identify the source of the sand, or silica, used in glass. This led to the discovery that many museums had 1930s Mexican copies.

If you are lucky enough to find a piece of early American blown glass, look at the shape and clarity of the glass, ask about the history and look for scratches and other marks that indicate wear. Then get a bill of sale that describes the piece and includes the probable age and history.

Also, be sure there is a money-back guarantee if the piece turns out to be a fake. Most auctions do this, but online sales of unknown dealers or galleries can be dangerous, especially when you are buying old glass.

A bright cobalt blue-blown covered sugar bowl was sold at a Norman C. Heckler & Co. auction for $2,340. It is 6 3/4 inches high and 4 3/4 inches in diameter. Of course, it has a scar from the pontil rod.

The finial on the lid is shaped like an acorn, but the best clue to its age is the engraving “A.G. 1780” on the glass and the knowledge that it has been in a famous glass collection for many years. Experts think it was made in the Pittsburgh area.

I have a Carlton Ware walking teapot, four cups and sugar bowl with Hawaiian decoration. What are they worth?

Walking Ware tea sets are creamy rounded earthenware pieces mounted on quirky legs. They were designed in 1974 by husband-and-wife team Roger Michell (1947-2018) and Danka Napiorkowska (b. 1946) and made in their English studio called Lustre Pottery.

Pieces were handmade by Roger, then decorated by Danka. Later, Walking Ware was also made by Carlton Ware, a Stokeon-Trent pottery factory started in 1896.

After a trip to the island of St. Lucia, the couple designed the Caribbean Series in 1978 with a tropical theme decoration in light blue, green and yellow.

The legs are wearing white socks with a blue band and yellow shoes. Pieces were made by Lustre Pottery and also by Carlton Ware until they closed in 1986.

Limited-edition items were made in the 2000s. Plain Walking Ware pieces sell from $10 for an egg cup to about $50 for a teapot. Caribbean-decorated pieces sell for about twice that.

Current Prices

Mary Gregory jug, cobalt blue, child holds out arms, tree, 1900, 7 inches, $45.

Gouda vase, stick, flowers, leaves, curlicues, multicolor, signed Zuid Holland gouda, 1905, 15 x 6 inches, $115.

Lithophanes, panel, Jesus, cross, cut glass border, red, blue, green, KPM, 11 inches, $190.

Chanel purse, leather, caviar, tote, quilted, stitched logo, medallion, goldtone hardware, 9 x 12 inches, $780.

Tip: Folding fans should always be stored closed.

For more collecting news, tips and resources, visit www.Kovels.com. 2020 King Features Synd., Inc.

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