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Antiques Considered - June 18, 2014

This cut glass pitcher belongs to a family with long ties to the Northern Neck. It is in excellent condition, and occasionally still is in use for iced tea and lemonade.  The owners have been unable to find any identification on it.

The pitcher is a fine example of the American Brilliant Period of glass making in America, which lasted from 1890 to 1915. Principally centered in Ohio, the glass industry during that time produced perhaps the greatest flowering of glass manufacturing in American history.  This piece is typical of the age.

That it bears no etched company name is not unusual, as most of the wares of the period do not.  Major factories such as Hawkes, Libby and others often did not inscribe their products with identifying markings.  Obviously, those which do have the maker’s identity are more valuable. 

An apprentice spent seven years learning the trade, during which time he made many of the unmarked pieces. Seconds were not allowed on the market, and were smashed; thus, all chipped or otherwise flawed items have suffered after having been purchased.

A current retail value for this pitcher would be $150. Pieces of American Brilliant Period cut glass, as with all antiques, are commodities, subject to changes in both taste and market conditions. Fine cut glass commanded higher prices 30 years ago than they do today. I knew of one Northern Neck family that amassed a collection of over 400 large pieces. The parents died long ago, and the children divided the collection, which regrettably, insofar as many of the items are concerned today, would bring less than the parents had paid for them.

Any will-informed collector would be delighted to add this piece to his or her assortment.

Henry Lane Hull and his wife, Lisa, operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie duPont Hwy. in Wicomico Church, VA.  Write to him at P.O. Box 35, Wicomico Church, VA 22579 or e-mail questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Happy Antiquing!

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