As the Internet opens more avenues for buying and selling collectible glassware, options for the collector and dealer are changing. The ease with which the buyer can shop from home is very enticing and provides a way to focus in on special items desired. In addition, antique malls dot the map over a large part of the US.
General line antique and collectible markets usually offer varying amounts of glassware. Even as Internet offerings grow and malls spring up, the traditional glass show option is still a viable means of pursuing "treasures".
There are some plus features in giass show shopping that warrant noting. Contrary to what some shoppers believe, glass show prices on the whole remain at fair market prices. Diversions will occur from prices in published prices in some instances due to market changes as to supply and demand. Aiso, remember the rule: reference books with price guides are simply that ... price guides. These are usually composites from varying markets and averages across the country. Many glass show dealers are "full time" and have a good handle on current pricing trends. So, give the glass slow market a try.
Aiso, in shopping across the country in our extensive travels, many times our observation has been that other market options are actually higher in price than glass shows. So, remember that all markets will have a range of prices. Choosing the price you as buyer are comfortable with is your decision. Mast glass show dealers are experienced professionals. Many are authors of books on glassware and researchers, and dealers are usually quite knowledgeable about the wares in their booths. Most are collectors themselves and are well-versed in their favorite collecting area. It is important to note that most dealers are willing to answer questions and many just love to "talk glass."
One of the most positive experiences in attending a glass show is the opportunity to see patterns and hard to find items in person, not just in a book. Rare and unusual items are always found at glass shows. In addition, the quality of the glass will almost always be excellent to mint condition, and many items will bear original labels.
The education benefits are tremendous. Learning colors, shapes, and the "feel of the glass" enable the shopper to be able to recognize patterns and design traits peculiar to each company. At many shows, specialty books are also for sale, providing take home information of all types of collectible glassware, pottery, kitchen wares and dinnerware.
Another feature of some glass shows are the seminars presented by authors, researchers, and experienced collectors. These presentations usually offer a chance to not only hear informative lectures and usually see glass displayed, but the presenter is on many occasions available to answer questions.
At the National Depression Glass Show and Convention, awe-inspiring glass displays are designed for the buyer pleasure. Many local glass club shows across the country also have outstanthng displays of glassware. This allows viewing of items seldom seen otherwise.
Knowledge of patterns outside the range of your special interest will expend your appreciation of other types of collectible glassware, dinnerware, pottery, and art glass. There is so much to see and much to learn! So, make your plans to attend a glass show in the near future. As often as I see an empty building with commonplace tables be transformed into a marvelous sea of color, I still am overwhelmed at the craftsmanship the artistry, the color, and variety of "gems" from days past. Realizing that human hands crafted everything from common everyday items meant for daily use to the exquisite art glass offerings reminds me that glass shows not only serve eager collectors, but this is a means of preserving an important part of this country's culture and ... an important vehicle for education on collectible glasswares.
Let us not fail to mention the local clubs who sponsor many of these shows. Contact a local glass club and become a part of the support groups that keep our beloved glass alive!
Webmaster's Note: This article was taken from the publication "Glass and More, November 1998" with permission from the publisher, Dr. Leonette Walls.