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Antiques Considered - April 24, 2013

This compote belongs to a lady in the lower Northern Neck, who acquired it at an antiques shop over 40 years ago. She notes that many visitors to her home think it is cut glass, when in reality it is pressed glass. It is in excellent condition, with the proper signs of wear on the bottom. It is one-piece, 12 inches high, and 12 inches in diameter.  She is downsizing, and in the preparations is considering selling the compote, and asks if the Internet is a good way to proceed.

The compote is a splendid example of American Pattern glass, and dates from the late nineteenth century. It represents the advanced technology of industry of the period that made possible producing a piece that looks like American Brilliant Period cut glass, but without the intensive labor required to cut the glass.

We must remember that for every piece of American Brilliant Period cut glass the craftsman spent seven years as an apprentice, before being let loose to produce his own pieces. Every slip of the blade in cutting the glass meant that work ceased on the piece being cut, which was discarded, and the process begun anew, whereas with the development of pattern glass, made in a factory, once fired and dried, the pieces were ready for market. The time differential was extraordinary.

Today American Pattern Glass is as prized as American Brilliant Period cut glass. Ruth Webb Lee wrote a number of books on it, documenting the patterns and registering the factories. Her works are significantly responsible for developing the popularity of pattern glass. As to the Internet, identifying patterns has benefited from the numerous websites that treat pattern glass, and collectors’ societies appreciate learning of quality pieces such as this one that are coming on the market.

This compote is worth $250, not quite as much as a similar one would be in American Brilliant Period cut glass, but on its own, it would make a fine addition to anyone’s collection.

Happy Antiquing!

Henry Lane Hull and wife, Lisa, own Commonwealth Antiques & Appraisals, Inc. at P.O. Box 35, Wicomico Church, VA 22579. Call 804.580.3301 or Cell:  804.580.0514 or email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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