Pattern Glass Virtual Consignment Shop
Granny's Pointers and Pitfalls
    for New Collectors of Pattern Glass

Never too young to start! Click HERE to Ask Granny
Pointers Pitfalls

--Educate yourself. Learn what EAPG is and what it is not. If you haven't already, please start by reading What Is EAPG?
   Good reference books are a MUST if you intend to collect EAPG. Think of them as “tuition” in your EAPG education. Another form of “tuition” is all the glass mistakenly purchased which turns out NOT to be EAPG! Visit the Book Store for some suggestions as to good books for beginners.
   BEWARE: The Standard Encyclopedia of Pressed Glass 1860-1930 by Edwards & Carwile 1999 contains hundreds and hundreds of errors and should not be trusted for any information.  This applies also to their 2nd Edition.  If you buy their 3rd Edition, you should consider getting counseling.- see corrections.

--And of course the Pattern Glass School on this web site is a continually expanding source for information.

----Ask questions. Seek out experienced EAPG folks on-line, in print, or in person at Glass shows.

--Think about how to structure your collection. Do you want to collect a particular pattern?-- a particular color of glass (custard, opaque, vaseline, etc.)? -- or do you want to collect a specific form across all of the patterns (for example a collection of wines in various patterns); or -- glass from a particular factory.

-- And consider the space for a growing collection. Do you need to think about collecting something small because there is not room for many large pieces.

--The States’ series of glass has lovely small vases, wine glasses or toothpick holders in most of the patterns and most of them can be found so that it is reasonable to be able to grow the collection.

-- Children's glass was made in basic table services too, but these are running high lately. Mugs, shakers & toothpick holders are nice little things too. If you are collecting something small like toothpick holders, there are rare and uncommon ones that go for a great price, but until then, there are nice ones to be had with relative ease and not much pain in your pocketbook.

--Bread trays are fun. Many are inexpensive, easy to display and have sayings like "Waste not Want not" and are also so reflective of the Victorian tastes. Some are historical, like 1876 souvenirs, or presidential candidates, etc. See some HERE.

--If you choose to collect something that is elegant, rare and expensive, you may have to search long and hard and never realize the goal of having that collection but if you are loaded and patient, this would be for you..

--Note characteristics such as size, shape, colors, presence/absence of a pontil, pattern variations, etc. of the pieces or patterns you want to collect for reference when you visit internet sites, shops or shows.

--Avoid the malls and general antique shops (brick-and-mortar and on-line) for buying purposes, until you have built some confidence in identifying and pricing the pieces you want to collect. These can be a trap for the inexperienced, as many “generalist” antiques dealers are well meaning but not qualified to correctly ID patterns or reproductions.

--Buy in person (not ebay) and examine carefully for chips and cracks. Cracks are especially sneaky. Hold the glass up to the light and turn it around...the cracks will sparkle out as silvery lines. Feel the edges for chips. Much old glass has a "scratch" in the center or nearby, called a shear line, or annealing mark or erroneously “straw mark”, which is not damage but happened during the cooling process when the piece was made.

--Clarity & condition impact value in all glass. Make undamaged or very minor damaged pieces your standard. The exception would be a case where you can buy a piece for a “song” (see “tuition” above) for study purposes. Nothing can take the place of touching and feeling the texture, weight and “feel” of old glass.

-- Familiarize yourself with patterns and browse “real” antique stores and lift pieces, rub your fingers over the rims and pattern to study the textures. And always check for the tell-tale “wear” on the base. Even if a piece has been boxed up for 80 years, if it is 100 years old, it was still used for 20 years and that will be evident by wear on the base.

--Buy what you like. That way even if it's a mistake, you'll still be happy to have it.

--Go where the good glass is; Museums, Public Libraries, Glass Shows; Seek out the experts in the field for advice and consultation - in print, on-line or in person at specialty shows. With the internet, advice is abundantly available. The dealers listed on the Early American Pattern Glass Society web site are always willing to help when they can. None of us claim to "know it all" but we are devoted to the protection and preservation of this wonderful art form, and are always seeking to develop knowledge and awareness of its strengths and weaknesses, to insure its survival as an enduring testament to our ancestor's' creativity, ingenuity and love of beauty.

--Buying good antiques is considered to be a hedge against inflation. EAPG is now from the century before last and the good pieces will only increase in value as the years pass and more and more of it is turned purple and essentially therefore taken off the antiques market. But buy wisely- the better patterns in excellent condition are always your best investment.

    Alert! It has come to my attention that EAPG is being altered not only in color, but is being engraved and ruby staining is being added and these are very hard to distinguish from original decor. This underscores once again the importance of knowing your source and dealing only with knowledgeable sellers of EAPG.

Another Alert! I have been contacted by a student at Pattern Glass School to help her ID a very good piece of EAPG she has. She was told by an "on-line appraisal service" that it is a reproduction.  For this she paid $10.  But she had studied well at Pattern Glass School and did not believe the appraisal and she was right.  Again, nothing is as valuable as doing your own studying and trusting experienced EAPG dealers.

-EAPG was made in 2, 3, & 4 section molds. "Three mold" is meaningless in determining the age of glass.

--Clear (colorless) EAPG is only valuable in its natural colorless state. If it has turned purple, it has no value as a historical piece of glass & while it might have intrinsic value if it is a family piece, it is nothing more than a worthless curiosity. Read more about it HERE.

--Many merchants do not know EAPG and will "create" pattern names. As in many other situations, "trust but verify".

--Don’t decide to collect more of glass you have inherited, until you are certain you have clearly identified the pattern and the quality of the glass.

--Don't pay "book" price for a piece if you are in doubt and the seller refuses to give you a written guarantee of authenticity as to age & pattern.

--Don't get hung up on price guides, they should be used only in the most general of ways. Buyers & sellers create the prices. Auction result catalogs can be a great help because they reflect the actual market.

--Don’t buy from a seller who states "all sales final" anywhere except at a clearance sale or table, flea market or yard sale & you can afford to make a “blooper” purchase. The dealer is not interested in the quality of his merchandise or reputation or in your satisfaction.

--Don't display glass in a window with strong, unfiltered light for more than short periods of time. Abrupt changes in temperature such as in a south facing window at sundown in the winter could cause a piece to crack, if not shatter. Extended exposure to even indirect sunlight (ultraviolet rays) could eventually cause the glass to take on a purple cast resulting from a chemical reaction in the glass composition, greatly devaluing it.

--Never, never, never buy "sun-purpled" or irradiated glass! This is ruined glass! If a dealer starts to tell you that it means the piece is old, just walk away. A knowledgeable dealer knows other ways to tell age without ruining the piece by turning it purple!!!! This is tantamount to smashing the piece to prove it is glass- there are better ways.

--Don't store alcoholic beverages in bar bottles or decanters, and don't use spooners, goblets and celeries for flower vases for more than a few hours! They are gorgeous for show, but there can be a chemical reaction between glass and alcohol, or even water, such that you can ruin your piece by making it streaked, cloudy, aka "sick". See the Cleaning section on this site.

--Shy away from the word "mint" in reference to EAPG. Glass may be produced now in "mint" condition but most pattern glass was made for the mass market and will have some bubbles or other manufacturing defect. "Undamaged" is a term that describes glass that has no chips, cracks, or other use or misuse-caused defects.

--Beware of reproductions. If in doubt, consult a book on reproductions or ask someone you trust to know the difference. A couple of loose guidelines are GENERALLY- reproductions
- are heavier than original issues
- have a slick or "oily" feel whereas old glass feels "dry" & sharp.
Having said that, there really are no hard & fast 'rules' that can be applied to all repros in every pattern.
   Obviously one needs to have handled a lot of glass to be able to make these distinctions.
Visit the beginnings of our Reproduction Site HERE.

-- Never put EAPG in a microwave and clear glass may get cloudy if washed in a dishwasher.

"Tidbits" of good information:
PresCut was a trademark used by McKee, Nucut by Imperial, NearCut by Cambridge.

Hannah Elaine & Clara Ann celebrated their first birthdays
with their cakes on their EAPG cake stands
Zoee Emma is contemplating all the sugar she can get
into her Panelled Palm "buttermilk" goblet.