Have you ever bought reproduction depression glass? Or not bought something because you were concerned about authenticity
I have. It is so disappointing.
Any of us who enjoy vintage glass need to learn enough to protect ourselves. This is a big topic and we’ll revisit it in September.
Why are there reproductions?
- Someone made counterfeits deliberately to sell as fakes. Your best defense is to educate yourself.
- Someone saw pretty glass and decided to copy it, maybe in a different color or size. Your best defense is to be aware of the pieces most often reproduced, and be careful.
- The original glass maker – or the company that owned the molds – decided to reissue the design. Your best defense is to either avoid this pattern or spend considerable time learning to tell old from new.
Here are three tips to protect yourself.
Tip #1. Educate Yourself
Your best protection is to know the patterns you enjoy. Get a depression glass guide – I recommend ones by Gene Florence and Barbara Mauzy – and look for your favorites. Read the sections in the back about specific repros.
Most often the counterfeits have some imperfection that make them easy to spot.
For example, Cherry Blossom is one of the most heavily reproduced patterns. Yet you can tell most pieces by tell tales.
- Real butter dish lids have three lines around the edge of the pattern
- Saucers should be only about as thick as a nickel in the center.
- Cups should have the raised bump on the top of the handle
- I have a real and a fake Cherry Blossom dinner plate and they look similar but feel different. The fake is heavier and has a distinct edge on the rim.
Once you learn about your pattern and have seen and felt the real pieces, you will fast get comfortable spotting the fakes. I bought a Sharon creamer online once that was immediately an obvious fake. It was the wrong color of green and was just wrong.
If you do end up with a fake, it’s a good idea to keep it so you have a comparison piece. I bought repro Cherry Blossom out of ignorance and kept the dinner plate for reference.
Over time you’ll gain confidence and not fall for fakes.
Tip #2. Recognize the Pieces Most Often Remade
What about those of you who don’t collect individual patterns but simply seek glass that is pretty, or your favorite color or certain types of pieces?
Only a few patterns have been reproduced. Many popular patterns have never been reproduced; in fact only about a dozen patterns have been remade. And even in those patterns, usually it is only a few pieces.
Pieces most often reproduced are those that people would buy as giftware, including:
Beverage sets, tumblers and pitchers. You may find them individually now.
- Candy dishes
- Butter dishes
- Cookie jars
Sharon is one of the few patterns that the creamer and sugar were remade. They are rather easy to spot.
If you like children’s dishes then be aware that Mosser Glass in Ohio made miniature pieces of Cameo for toys. These cute dishes are sold as “Jennifer” or “goes with American Girl”.
Tip #3. Avoid Reissues
Indiana Glass reissued several patterns in the 1970s and 80s, including Avocado and Madrid. They sold the re-issued Madrid as Recollection.
I have never seen Avocado in person but understand that the reissued glass colors are off or were never made originally.
Madrid/Recollection is more of a problem. The pink and blue are somewhat different colors and Indiana made a light teal and some
individual pieces that were never in the original pattern line. They are easy to spot.
I can usually tell the Recollection amber when I see it in person because it feels different. That is not much help for you if you haven’t had the experience with both the original and reissue.
If your favorite pattern is Madrid then I recommend you spend time at glass shows and antique malls. Look at the Madrid, read about it, get familiar with how it should feel.
The other method is to avoid this pattern. Instead of collecting Madrid, consider collecting Patrician. Federal Glass made both patterns originally and Patrician has never been reproduced. It is pretty and comes in amber, green and some pink.
Avoid Reproduced Patterns
This green plate is Lorian, from Indiana Glass, a medium popular pattern. Would you expect this to be reproduced? No, it hasn’t been remade. Indiana remade many of their patterns, but they didn’t redo this one. It isn’t that popular or that expensive.