We’ve been looking at pink Block Optic depression glass as a pattern that has lots of interesting pieces and variations and is attractive with its Art Deco styling. Let’s consider availability.
I believe that collecting is most enjoyable when you can find some pieces – enough to make a small, set perhaps, or a creamer and sugar to display and use – without too much trouble, but other pieces are difficult and take time and hunting. After all, if you find every piece on the first go, you won’t have any more reason to go antiquing! And it gets frustrating if you never find pieces beyond that one tiny plate or cup.
Hocking made many pieces of Block Optic in pink and green, and also many in their lovely topaz yellow glass. We will look at pink today, considering what my reference books from the 1970s up through 2010 suggest, and check eBay and Replacements for today’s situation.
Availability from 1981 to 2010
In 1981 Hazel Marie Weatherman noted pink Block Optic as a 2 Star, 3 Stripe pattern, meaning it was moderately popular (2 stars out of 4) with good availability (3 stripes out of 4), with the balance towards the collector side. (We will cover green and yellow in later posts, but note both colors were 3 Stars, meaning more popular than the pink in the early 1980s.)
Gene Florence commented in 2000 that both green and pink were fairly abundant and affordable, but also noted that pink stems and serving pieces were becoming scarce. He said that essential pieces were still plentiful. I believe he meant basic luncheon sets without stemware when he talked about essential pieces, figure cup, saucer or sherbet plate, luncheon or dinner plate, creamer and sugar, sherbet. Cups, luncheon plates, saucers or sherbet plates, low sherbets were all around $8 in his 2000 price guide with creamers and sugars around $13.
By 2010 supply had tightened. You may recall that pink depression glass was very popular in the 2000’s, with many new people discovering the joys of pink glassware. Florence commented in his 2010 guide that “gathering pink is more demanding due to its inadequate production.” His prices for the same essential pieces do not reflect tighter supply, with cups, sherbet and luncheon plates, low sherbets still around $7 and creamers and sugars around $12.50.
If supply is down and prices are flat or slightly lower, then demand must be down. (Overall glass demand is softer now than 15 years ago in my experience, but I cannot comment on Block Optic as I’ve not had inventory.)
I checked several websites today and found you can still find pink, often at quite low prices.
Dealers on TIAS.com have some interesting pieces that are hard to find, including the rolled edge console bowl (my favorite), candle holders, center handled server and a tumbler. Oddly there were only 2 basic pieces, a cup and a sherbet plate.
There were several items on Ruby Lane.com that had excellent sale prices for hard-to-find items, a console bowl, round center handled server, goblets, footed and flat tumblers. I also saw salad plates, cups and saucers and a mixed lot.
eBay has a substantial pink Block Optic selection, with about 200 items listed (most are indeed Block Optic but others are mis-labeled). You can find sherbets, tumblers, goblets, plates, an ice tub, the tall candy jar, low candy jar, bowls, pitchers, candle holders, center handled servers plus basic pieces. I’ve mixed feelings about eBay. I sell glass there as do many other reputable sellers who carefully describe damage and package well for shipment, but unfortunately some sellers have trouble spotting chips. If you like eBay be sure to check feedback and ask the seller to double check for damage.
Replacements has both center handled server shapes, bowls, candle holders and pitchers.
I saw very few dinner plates or bowls for place settings in any of these venues. Of course selection changes, especially on eBay. You could easily gather a luncheon set, including stemware or tumblers, pitchers, even serving bowls.
If you like pink Block Optic don’t shy away from collecting because it’s a little scarce. You can pick and choose which pieces you want – you don’t need to get all 5 styles of creamers and sugars or both candy jars – and if you are willing to purchase online or use eBay you can surely gather enough to set a pretty table or have interesting accessory pieces like the candy jars.
Next week we’ll look at price trends over time.