As you already have seen in my past three columns, I have started a series with “red” and “valentines” as my themes. It also holds true with today’s column, as well.
As Fenton glassware has always been a favorite subject area when doing my classes as well as writing a few Trash & Treasures columns about the beautiful glassware, it seemed appropriate to write a short article on Fenton collectibles. In case my photo is not in color, please imagine the beautiful Fenton glass bowl in my photo this week is red — a beautiful Ruby Amberina Stretch glass bowl, produced from 1985 to 1996 at the Fenton Glassware Company (which, by the way, is now closed — forever). Fenton glassware started in 1905 but actually started making the quality glass in 1907, I believe. It has become such a highly sought collectible for many. and earlier patterns can even be considered as true antiques now. (Reminder: Anything over 100 years old is considered to be a true antique — except for automobiles.)
This gorgeous Amberina bowl has a petal-like base to it and is quite heavy. The true colors of it just are amazing. It is called stretch glass because the way it was made — actually stretched and pulled as it was heated to extreme temperature and continued as such until the right size — 10 inches around the top of it. It is even a bit rough around the edges because of it being pulled up and outwards The Fenton silver and black sticker/tag also tells us the date of the actual bowl by the style of the tag. Fenton was very good by dating their items only with a sticker and/or a Large “F” written or incised (or raised) into the bottom of the bowl. It is an amazing piece of artwork and the coloring is splendid.
Think of a big bright beautiful large golden and red apple sitting in the middle of your table — with gorgeous “stretch marks” throughout the entire body of the bowl. Talk about brilliancy and its very own personality, absolutely. Please keep in mind that this bowl is quite heavy as it is made of thicker glass than many glass items made earlier. But the weight of the bowl shouts “centerpiece” to anyone who comes into your dining room as well as the color drawing your eyes directly to the pattern as well as the color.
Fenton artists and makers of this fine glassware were definitely experts in their own field. The stigma attached to some of their pieces are definitely artwork in themselves. Truly a grand statement as collectibles/antiques go in many themes. Some Fenton pieces were strictly thin glassware or maybe even considered to be very fragile whereas other pieces such as the one in my photo this week looks and weighs as if it would bounce if it hit a carpeted floor. (Heaven forbid, of course.) But, I was just trying to make a “statement” of the weight of this masterpiece.
Fenton glassware was started by the brothers, Frank L. and John W. Fenton, in 1905-7 in Martins Ferry, Ohio. Of course, most of our well known glassmakers were always located around good quality sand for making their beautiful glasswares. Ohio rivers and such were prime spots for many of our famous (and even not so famous) glassworks through the years. I believe Fenton closed their doors for good around 2011 and the factory was sold in 2017. Sad to see a company close who had produced such elegant and exquisite glassware for so many years.
Once the company actually closed their doors, the value of Fenton jumped a bit, and depending on the certain patterns, prices doubled for sure if not tripled. Vintage glassware has become quite collectible for many people — men and women alike. Collectors all over the world have proclaimed Fenton to be one of the most vibrant and varied glassware makers and will probably continue as such as years go by.
So when you are out looking in antique shops and yard sales, be aware of the quality of glass and be prepared to pay the price if you happen to be a collector of certain patterns, for sure. It is amazing to watch what collectibles as well as antique items seem to be marketing for today — makes me wonder what it will be like in a few more years down the road.
Naturally, we need to always watch for minor chips on glass of any kind. It will be devalued considerably … unless it happens to be a “rare or hard to find” pattern, however. So many things to remember when you are in the collecting field or purchasing for resale — quality of the items always come first, but we need to remember how many were made and/or which colors may be more popular than others. Several things tell us the values today — condition is probably the first one, colors and grades of glass or pottery, rarity of the item and I am sure the vibrancy or “what draws you to the item first” is one of the most important things in our collecting world.
Personal taste and wants are high on most of our lists, naturally, but the inconsistency of what we are finding in today’s markets is making quite an interesting display or statement of values. All in “what one is looking for” and “why” because of rarity or color or maker or maybe even style. All are good reasons for collecting and adding them to our other collections along the way.
Our personal little treasures and finds during our buying trips are usually one of the better reasons we all do it — collecting. Name of the game, but oh so much fun. And, I do believe we all deserve a bit of fun now and then!
Just as a reminder: Take a moment to look around the CR Rustic antique/boutique shop here in North Platte at 413 N. Dewey St. There are over 30 vendors, and definitely a fun assortment of items. Closed on Sundays and Mondays. And please visit our other area antique/collectible dealers/shops as well; A to Z Books, The Grain Bin Antique Town, Grandma’s Memories, Steele’s Antique Depot and others in surrounding towns. The variety of merchandise is awesome in every shop you visit. Hoping the weather will straighten around and spring is just around the corner. I am certainly ready for some warmer weather.
And, I am hoping to have some news next week as to when my “What’s It Worth” antique classes may be starting. I’m getting very anxious but do want to be opening carefully when I do start them again.
The last thing — and the maing thing — I want to do is wish everyone a happy Valentine’s Day! I hope your day is special. Take care, be safe and start gathering up your collectibles you want appraised as we will be opening classes soon. More info on day, time, and location later. Have a beautiful and safe week ahead and thank you for reading my Trash & Treasures (Please note: If you are trying to email me, please use this address: email@example.com.