Many estate sales feature antique glassware – and if you’re a collector, you already know that estate sales are among the best places to find it.

But what if you’re not yet an antique glass collector and you’d like to become one? This guide explains what you need to know.

Collecting Antique Glassware: The Basics

There are many reasons people choose to collect antique glassware – and one is that it can be exceptionally valuable. Others collect it purely for its beauty or its connection to the past.

No matter why you want to collect it, you need to know:

  • You’ll do better if you have your own identification and price guide
  • Colors are important, and they often play a role in a piece’s rarity
  • Companies often re-released patterns and styles after decades, so not all pieces that appear antique actually are antique
  • Shop local with an estate sale company you trust

1. Get an Identification and Price Guide

Knowing where to go to check up on glass pieces that pique your interest can make a tremendous different in the way you collect. Having an identification and price guide – or finding a place to check online – can help you make the right choices about what you put in your collection.

A good guide will be comprehensive. If you don’t find a piece you’re looking at in the guide, there’s a good chance it’s a reproduction.

2. Pay Attention to Color

Antique glassware comes in many colors – but most patterns were distributed in only a handful of colors. When patterns were popular, manufacturers would sometimes branch into more colors. However, your identification guide should show you which manufacturers created which colors and when they were circulated.

3. Understand Re-Releases

Typically, a company would create a pattern and distribute it for a few years. However, in many cases, companies re-released popular patterns after several decades. If you’re not sure about whether a piece is a first-issue or subsequent issue, ask.

4. Buy Antique Glassware Locally

As with any antiques, it’s important to shop with someone you trust.

Popular Antique Glassware

There are thousands of types of antique glassware, but some of the more popular collectibles include:

  • Art glass. This handmade glass was produced from the late 1800s through the 1950s. Popular manufacturers include Tiffany, Steuben, D’Argental and Durand.
  • Carnival glass. This pressed glass is treated with metallic salts and re-fired, giving it an iridescent finish. It was produced between 1905 and 1920 and is sometimes called “the poor man’s Tiffany.”
  • Cut glass. Produced from the very early 1800s through about 1915, cut glass is heavy and features hand-cut patterns.
  • Depression glass. Produced from the mid 1920s through the 1930s, depression glass was inexpensive and was often given away with purchases of food products or in movie theatres and gas stations.
  • Elegant glass. This handmade glassware was produced during the Great Depression and through the 1950s. It’s different from Depression glass because it was handmade (Depression glass was machine-made).

Are You Thinking About Collecting Antique Glassware?

If you’re considering becoming a collector of antique glassware, check out our upcoming estate sales and auctions to see if there’s anything you may be interested in purchasing. We’d love to answer your questions about estate sales or discuss holding your own estate sale, too, so please feel free to call us at 904-806-4274. You can also check out Great Expectations Auction & Estate Services on Facebook to get current offerings and exclusive news of upcoming sales.