Last post we talked about what depression glass is. Made in the 1930s, mass produced, usually dinnerware or luncheon sets and often made as product give-aways or premiums. You can read that post here: What Is Depression Glass? Introduction to Colored Glassware Depression Era
There is a lot of confusion about what is and isn’t depression glass. Let’s look at a few of the most common myths.
1. All colored glass is depression glass. Only glass from the late 1920s to very early 1940s is depression glass.
One pattern often confused is this pretty Swirl from Arcoroc. Arcoroc made this and some lovely blue glass in the 1970s, many years after the depression era. Arcoroc is a French company and marked their glass.
2. All depression glass is colored. Companies made most patterns in clear, although they are not usually as popular today. Iris and Herringbone is a good example.
You’ll find a rainbow of colors in depression glass, but none of the colors are bright. This green Cameo comport is a good example of the color.
3. Another myth that I wish were true is that depression glass is expensive. Most pieces are not particularly costly, although if you want you could find some very pricey patterns and rare pieces. People started collecting depression glass in the 1970s and many patterns were very hard to find and very popular. Law of supply and demand kicked in and the prices increased.
When eBay got hot in 1999-2001, people realized that glass stashed in the attic was valuable and suddenly more pieces were available. Trends changed and now many collectors don’t pursue every piece in a pattern but pick and choose what they like, often blending patterns and colors. More supply and changed demand drove prices down. Some pretty patterns are less expensive now than new dinnerware.
4. Fakes and reproductions. Sadly they exist. However, less than 10% of the main depression glass patterns were reproduced and most of those are only a piece or two. You can protect yourself by reading about fakes and knowing the signs. Or you could avoid the patterns that have been reproduced altogether and be perfectly safe. I wrote several posts about fakes. Reproductions, Reissues and Variations in Depression Glass is one of the posts.
5. Another myth, in fact something I thought until I learned more, is that depression glass is junky. True, it is not high quality; glass is not as clear as fine crystal produced by firms like Heisey or Fostoria and the seams are often raised. Many pieces have little bobbles or wrinkles. But the styling is lovely and detail in the designs is impressive. This Doric and Pansy butter dish has the design all the way around the finial, a nice finishing touch you don’t see in poor designs.
Next post I’ll give a few tips on how to tell depression glass from elegant glass. Thanks for reading!
Pictures and text copyright Kathy Eickholt 2013