With a name like Depression glass, it’s surprising that it is one of my happy things…you know, things that just make you smirk! It might be the memories of countless hours spent with my mom and sister in antique stores, or the pride of continuing my grandmother’s collection, or even the thrill of the hunt—whatever it is, I love collecting Depression glass.
What Is Depression Glass?
Many of you are probably wondering what Depression glass is. Depression glass is a type of dinnerware that was mass produced in the 1920’s and 1930’s. It often came with food, especially from the Quaker Oats Company. Remember how your mom got those glass animals with her Lipton Tea when you were a kid? Same idea. It even was given out at movie theaters and other businesses! It came in lots of great colors: green, red, black, amethyst, blue, yellow, clear, and pink (which is what I collect). The dinnerware ranged from tea cups and saucers to pitchers, salt shakers, cake plates, and everything in between. It also comes in lots of different patterns: Cherry Blossom, Dogwood, Princess (shown below), and Sunflower, just to name a few.
Why Collect It?
Like I mentioned earlier, I don’t understand why I love to collect it—I just do! I think it’s important to preserve this piece of history, and I think there is something beautiful and timeless about it. I also love that I get to be a part of something that my grandmother started. She’s been collecting for lots of years, and now it’s my turn to continue that collection. Plus, it’s so much fun to be on the hunt, especially when your friends and family can join in the hunt with you!
If that’s not enough for you, I’d venture to say that it might be a good (and fun) investment. Steven and I found a Depression glass candy dish the other day for $25 at a little hole-in-the-wall art store. I excitedly went home and looked up what other people are selling it for and discovered that it’s going for $125 online! It might not be a huge profit someday, but it’s more valuable than buying something new off the shelf.
How Do I Know That It’s Real Depression Glass?
Companies started making reproductions in the 1960’s. The reproductions are very convincing, but there are a couple of ways to sniff out impostors. There’s nothing like inspecting a piece of glass that says “Depression glass” on it, putting it down, and whispering it’s a fake to your shopping buddy. I feel like a pro every time. So, here’s a few tips that will help you tell the difference between the real and the not-so-real:
1. Look for flaws. Yep, that’s right, you want the pieces that aren’t perfect. There are 3(ish) tell-tale signs that your depression glass is real:
Bonus points if you find scratches! Depression glass was used for everyday tasks and was prone to scratching, so scratches are likely due to the delicate nature of real Depression glass.
2. Check the thickness. Reproduction glass is very thick compared to the original. Though the originals vary from piece to piece, if the glass feels thick, it’s likely not real.
3. Learn the patterns. The new versions of the old patterns are fairly convincing, but there are some great resources, like realorrepro.com, that cover each and every difference.
How Do I Start?
I hope I’m inspiring you to start collecting! I’d love to get you started with some tips!
- Find a color that you love!
- Find 1–3 patterns that you adore. I found a great website that shows you all of the patterns manufactured. Click here to check it out.
- Learn your stuff. There are real and fake pieces, as I just mentioned. Make sure you know what you’re looking for! This makes the treasure hunt all the more fun!
- Get out there! I’ve found that the best places to shop are where they don’t know what they have. As I mentioned before, my most recent addition came from a random art/frame store…the seller had no idea what treasure he had (or what he could have charged)! Flea markets are another gold mine!
I hope you have enjoyed hearing about this passion of mine! I also hope that you’ll join me in collecting what makes you happy. I’d love to hear about what you love to collect in the comments below or leave me a picture on my Facebook page.
Thank you to Live To Love Photography for the gorgeous images of your Depression glass collection!