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Antiques Considered - July 18, 2012

This etched glass lidded compote belongs to a lady I met many years ago.  She acquired it at an estate sale here in the Northern Neck, and prizes it as one of her best pieces of glass.  It is in excellent condition, and the base shows the correct amount of wear for its age.  She is thinking of giving it as a wedding present, and wishes to know if its value is sufficiently significant, as she thinks the newlyweds might not realize its value.

For a start, if someone had given my good wife and me such a present I should have been overjoyed with gratitude.  This is a great piece of American pattern glass from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.  It most likely came from one of the Ohio glass factories, as it is typical of the elegant work that was produced there in the golden age of American glass manufacturing.

In many cases the lids of compotes have been broken, thus making the ones that have stayed together more valuable.  The etching on this example seems to be hand done, rather than having been a pattern, which adds to its value. 

Given the fine design, the good condition, and the age, this compote would be a popular item at a glass auction or in an upper end antique shop.  It is worth $200, thus my comment about its desirability as a wedding present. 

As with all prevailing market conditions, the value of antiques has declined over the past five years.  In questioning whether to buy or sell an antique, or in this instance whether to give one as a present, one must bear in mind that antiques are luxury items that people do not have to have, (unless, that is, that they are hoarders!).  In questionable times such as these, knowing when and what to buy is a skill, indeed an art, and caution sometimes is advisable.  Once bought, the piece might not be readily convertible back to cash.

            Happy Antiquing!

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