Novelties: Thriving Market

It would scarcely be possible to enumerate, far less to illustrate, the infinitude of objects that sometimes find their way into antique shops, which properly belong to the gift shop trade. However, it is a well-established fact that certain glass concerns have thrived on a business devoted largely to outright copies of old pieces, or patterned after their style in a manner that deceives uninformed dealers and collectors. Moreover, many of such items are produced with the anticipation that they will find an active market with unscrupulous antique dealers. It is for this reason that some of the more prominent pieces will be illustrated and discussed here.

victorian-basket

Plate 160

An old and new Victorian basket. An original is at the right.

A collectible item which aroused more than passing interest during recent years has been glass baskets. They were produced chiefly during the 1870′s and 1880′s, and many of them are beautiful pieces of art work. They were made in Satin glass, as well as in various combinations of colored glass. The handles are fluted, often twisted at the top; others are more elaborate, with thornlike projections as shown in the one on Plate 160. The first reproduction I came across is the one at the left. It is a medium-sized basket, in a bizarre color combination, that is rather more striking than any I have seen in old ones, in black, yellow, red, etc. The top is fluted, and the evidence of newness is in the pontil on the base, which is ground out and left with a highly frosted finish. Most old baskets have a rough, scarred pontil. While some may be found with pontil ground out, they would not be left frosted. The bowl of the reproduction is further embellished with medallion-like ornaments, slightly raised and somewhat similar to a flattened hobnail. I have seen another reproduction in the same combination of colors and with the same style of crystal handle, without the ornamentation on the bowl.

modern-hat

Plate 161

Modern hat, in an extra-large size.

Next to the new basket is a typical old one. This has a plain bowl with fluted edge and simple, twisted crystal handle. The colors are a soft pink and opaque-white, in a “splashed” effect. Some of the most attractive of the old baskets are decorated with applied flowers or fruit, in various colors. Many such novelties were produced by Hobbs, Brocunier & Co., West Virginia, and other factories in the old Pittsburgh glass district.

A number of new Satin glass baskets have appeared in recent years, also. There is a seven-inch (to top of handle) size, six and one-half inches in diameter, advertised in pink or blue “Overlay Satin.” The same colors are utilized in a slightly smaller Satin basket, six and one-half inches high and four inches in diameter.

hobnail-hat

Plate 162

New English hobnail hat. Modern butterfuly toddy plate.

One glass company has made a number of baskets in “case glass,” meaning two layers of glass. Some of these are milk-white on the inside, clear outside, with round bowls having a frilled edge. The handles are in milk-white. Others are in a combination of pink and clear case glass. The new extra large colored hobnail baskets are so obviously new that they should not deceive anyone. More attractive are the small rose diamond-quilted baskets. These were produced for department stores and gift shops.

modern-novelties

Plate 163

Modern novelties. The bird salt at the end is old.

Other new Satin glass objects include pink or blue barber bottles; pink or blue melon-shaped cruets and melon-shaped night lamps with ball globe. These are made in more than one size, in pink and in blue “Satin Overlay.” There is one large size, measuring eight and one-half inches. A hand holding a cornucopia vase beaded about the center with a fluted top, is made in two sizes, nine and ten inches tall, in pink, and blue Satin glass. A new Satin glass vase is pictured on Plate 96, which came out in several variations during the 1930′s. It does not compare favorably with the old ones. The genuine style, in case glass, has a thick white lining. The new are thin, with the handles usually frosted in the same color as the vase, which was never done originally. The base should be stamped MADE IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA, but those I have seen had this identification carefully ground out.

modern-novelties2

Plate 164

Modern novelties. The second bird salt from the end is old.

Hand vases, holding a cornucopia-shaped flower container, are made in five distinct types. One is illustrated on Plate 45 in the Daisy and Button pattern. Several are also pictured on Plate 66. A third style, not illustrated, with a fluted top, eight and one-half inches high, is made in milk-white, opaque-blue, and frosted. Another is smaller, and has a hand clasping a sheaf of wheat. These measure six inches tall and are made in amber, and perhaps other colors. The fifth type is the one described in the preceding paragraph, on Satin glass.

sandwich-vase

Plate 165

Copy of an early sandwich vase.

A considerable quantity of new cranberry glass has continued to flow into dealers’ shops, of ten purchased by unsuspecting, honest proprietors. It is sufficient to say that all of it is too heavy, and sometimes the shade of color is off, as well.

There are a good many new cruets out, as might be expected since these are a popular collectible today. Among these are the cranberry Inverted Thumbprint, with a clear hexagonal stopper and clear reeded handle. This has three widely spaced rows of much too large thumbprints. The same type is made in blue, and it will be surprising if other colors do not appear. Cranberry and blue Spanish Lace cruets have been about for some time. The design is diffused through the glass in the new, instead of being clear and sharp, as may be noted in the tumbler illustration on Plate 71. The above-listed cruets, added to those mentioned among the Satin glass items, constitute quite an array but will not distress collectors or dealers, once they are on their guard. As this goes to press, new Burmese cruets have appeared, in a fluted pattern, complete with stopper.

gift-shop-merchandise

Plate 166

Gift-shop merchandise. Not to be confused with old pieces.

New barber bottles follow a similar pattern. They may be found in what is known as the “Stars and Stripes” design. Like the new Spanish Lace, the pattern is not sharp enough. Doubtless there are other new barber bottles which I have not seen or heard about.

There are so many novelty lamps on the market that the only way one may be certain about them is in the brass collars, or other fittings. There are numerous sizes and patterns in new “Gone with the Wind” lamps. There are also a number of sizes and styles in student lamps. While some of the reproductions are exceedingly poor, it must be said that many of the novelty lamps are extremely attractive. One type has a milk-white base, cranberry bowl and cranberry chimney. A milk-white nine-and-one-half-inch lamp carries the Cosmos pattern on the bowl. Another has a clear bowl with a copy of the old “Shields and Stars” design in the bowl. One advertised as Moon and Star is definitely not that pattern. The design consists of round thumbprints, alternating with five-pointed stars. Some of these are in odd combinations of colors, such as amber bowls with blue bases.

paperweights

Plate 116

Paperweights which came out some years ago.

Many modern, attractive epergnes may be seen in the shops, styled after the old. I saw one in amethyst, having four branches which were edged in milk-white. This one was seventeen inches tall. Another was in opalescent, the design consisting of diamond-shaped spaces, each containing a hobnail. There are others in pastel shades, edged with contrasting colors.

Numerous novelty hats have been seen here and there, since the 1930′s. The extra-large one shown on Plate 161 is not a known copy of any old example. It is found in fine shades of amethyst, sapphire blue, emerald green, amber, and. clear glass. I have been told they could have been purchased from jobbers in New England, about fifteen years ago, at $6.00 each. In antique shops, I have seen them retail as high as $25.00 ! The tale reached me that these were made at one time, by the old Pairpoint Glass Company, at New Bedford, Mass.

A hat made in what was originally termed the “Diamond” pattern by Mr. Charles West, founder of the Westmoreland Glass Company, but known today as English Hobnail, may be seen on Plate 162. These came out in the late l890′s and early 1900′s, in clear glass and in colors.

New Crackle glass hats have been about for some time. All authentic old ones had metal brims, so the modern offer no problem. The new specimens are match-holder size and the brim is plain, without any pattern.

There are numerous sizes and patterns in new “Gone with the Wind” lamps. There are also a number of sizes and styles in student lamps. While some of the reproductions are exceedingly poor, it must be said that many of the novelty lamps are extremely attractive. One type has a milk-white base, cranberry bowl and cranberry chimney. A milk-white nine-and-one-half-inch lamp carries the Cosmos pattern on the bowl. Another has a clear bowl with a copy of the old “Shields and Stars” design in the bowl. One advertised as Moon and Star is definitely not that pattern. The design consists of round thumbprints, alternating with five-pointed stars. Some of these are in odd combinations of colors, such as amber bowls with blue bases.

Many modern, attractive ones may be seen in the shops, styled after the old. This one was seventeen inches tall. Another was in opalescent, the design consisting of diamond-shaped spaces, each containing a hobnail. There are others in pastel shades, edged with contrasting colors.
Numerous novelty hats have been seen here and there, since the 1930′s. The extra-large one shown on Plate 161 is not a known copy of any old example. It is found in fine shades of amethyst, sapphire blue, emerald green, amber, and clear glass. They could have been purchased from jobbers in New England, about fifteen years ago, at $6.00 each. In antique shops, I have seen them retail as high as $25.00! The tale reached me that these were made at one time, by the old Pairpoint Glass Company, at New Bedford, Mass.

A hat made in what was originally termed the “Diamond” pattern by Mr. Charles West, founder of the Westmoreland Glass Company, but known today as English Hobnail, may be seen on Plate 162. These came out in the late 1890′s and early 1900′s, in clear glass and in colors.

New Crackle glass hats have been about for some time. All authentic old ones had metal brims, so the modern offer no problem. The new specimens are match-holder size and the brim is plain, without any pattern.

All sorts of new hats in swirls, inverted thumbprints, stripes, and in case glass (clear over pink, etc.) with frilled edges, from match-holder size up to seven-inch models, popular for popcorn at cocktail parties, may be seen in almost any gift shop. Corresponding old ones to most of these models, are unknown.

Among other novelties which were abroad during the 1930′s is a frosted fish match holder, which is shown on Plate 163. These were never made in old glass, as far as I can learn, but have been finding their way into a few collections.

Copies of the blue bird salt, with a cherry in its beak, have been widely advertised. The Bat type, shown on Plate 163, was never particularly popular, so there was not much point in reproducing it. The new bird is at the left, the old one being at the end of the line. Small bird salts with uplifted wings have had widespread appeal for some years. Copies of these came out in the 1930′s in an exceptionally wide range of colors, including blue, yellow, amber, amethyst, etc. An old one is pictured on Plate 164 but it is so small that the detail does not show. The originals have eyes set in a better position and they are clearly defined by two circular depressions. In the new, the eyes are larger and not so well defined. By and large, these particular bird salts are good copies. The old were produced in a limited color range, including blue, amber, yellow and clear glass. The copies may be found in almost any color, such as amethyst, green, sapphire-blue, etc. The bird salt without a cherry in the beak has not been reproduced. At the extreme left on Plate 164 is a curious bird salt, which more nearly resembles a toad. It is unlike any known old one.

The miniature turkey on Plate 164 is a copy of the large one, , which was popular during the 1870′s. They have been in circulation for about twenty-five years.

In the center of Plate 164 is a copper luster pitcher which is. typical of many new ones which are American made. These jugs are produced in a number of sizes and all have the hand-painted decoration like the one shown in the illustration, as well as other similar designs. The new pitchers are heavier in weight than the old, and any collector of experience would detect the newness of the decoration. Many of these jugs have found their way into antique shops. The large-size pitchers wholesale at from $3.00 to $4.00 each and are seen priced at anywhere from $6.00 to $22.00.

The kitten in the boot, on Plate 164, is merely ornamental. They serve no useful purpose, since they cannot hold matches or be used as containers. The small slipper on roller skates next to it is just one more object for the novelty hunter to beware of-at the price of an original!

Since several copies of this early Sandwich vase have been seen at antique shows, it is important to picture it here. The base is hexagonal and the bow 1 has six panels, each having three large round thumbprints. The edge carries six scallops, and the over-all height of the vase is nine and three-eighths inches. The fakes are characterized by unusual shades of color, and in addition are usually extremely heavy. A tale has reached me that these are being executed by an individual workman in New Jersey. The vase is made in more than one size. These are thin, apparently blown in sets comprising such items as plates in two sizes, goblets, cups and saucers, wine jugs, sugar and creamers, etc.

The copy of the so-called Staffordshire vase on Plate 86, which has been so popular in summer cottages for flowers, was made in Portugal and is so stamped on the base. It is so shining and new looking that it would not deceive anyone, unless the stamp were removed and the vase then subjected to a clever aging process. They are made in several sizes. The one illustrated measures four and three-quarters inches.

As stated in the beginning, it would be impossible to enumerate, far less to illustrate, all the infinitude of objects that belong to the gift shop trade but sometimes find their way into antique shops. The studious collector is not apt to be deceived. The ignorant collector who merely follows fads is apt to forget there is no royal road to knowledge. There are no short cuts. If he does not choose to protect himself by knowing what he buys, then he is bound to have to learn the hard way. Caveat emptor is not an empty phrase!

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