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Antiques Considered - December 1, 2010

A lady from North Carolina inherited this enameled glass vase from her grandmother, along with several similar pieces, which are not in as good condition.  The color is pale blue, and the painting is bright.  It has no chips or cracks, as well as no maker’s mark.

This vase is typical of late-Victorian glassware.  It is almost certainly American, probably from one of the Ohio glassworks.  The crenellated rim at the top indicates a high level of sophistication, and the painting is quite fine.  The pale blue shade was a great favorite at the end of the nineteenth century, when this vase was made.  I date it from the period 1880 to 1900.Colored and enameled glassware continues to grow in popularity.  The more ornate the shape and enameling, the better.  A discerning customer, who died earlier this year, was a pre-eminent authority on colored glass, and was happy to share her knowledge with others.  I frequently asked her opinion on the topic, and respected her judgment.  The best compliment I can pay this vase is to say that she would have found it very pleasing, a view corroborated by my good wife.

The vase is worth $225.  I suggest using care in washing it, lest any of the enamel come off.  Warm water with very mild soap is all that is necessary.  I have known folks who have been too thorough in their washing, with the result that the enamel all washed away.  Remember it is on a shiny glass surface with no bonding quality.  Although sunlight will have no effect on the glass, it can fade the enameling.

As to the other pieces that are not in as good condition, probably little can be done to save them.  Unlike pottery or china, glassware does not restore well. Again, the translucence and high gloss of the surface make repairs both obvious and virtually impossible.

Happy Antiquing!

Lisa and Henry Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont Hwy. 22570. (P.O. 35). Wicomico Church, VA 22570. Write to them or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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