The Great Depression marked the largest financial collapse in American history and began an era of conservative shopping habits that led consumers to forego most luxuries. However, skilled and creative glassware manufacturers were capable of thriving during this period by developing affordable techniques to craft these pieces and distribute them. This Depression Glass has become widely collected, and despite its affordable nature, these pieces come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. There is still a healthy market for these pieces, and they come in a considerable range of prices. So, let’s take a look at how to appraise Depression-era glassware.
The Rarity of the Piece
In many cases, the more common patterns and colors of Depression glassware can still be found for only a few dollars. However, rarer pieces that once sold for pennies may be worth several thousand. The key to starting your appraisal is to judge how common your piece is and then to look for damages and imperfections that may reduce its value. Some notable patterns include:
- American Sweetheart: These pieces were manufactured by the Macbet Evans Glass Company from approximately 1930 to 1936. They come in soft pink and can be found in plates, cups, saucers, bowls, and pitchers. Though these pieces are still desirable due to their beautiful color, they are relatively common, and pieces can often be found for less than $20.
- Princess: Between 1931 to 1934, the Anchor Hocking Company crafted the Princess pattern, which was immensely successful. These pieces were crafted in green, pink, and blue and featured distinctive scalloped edges. Though pink and green pieces generally can be found for between $10 and $15, blue pieces are a bit rarer and can fetch more than $100.
- Cameo: The Cameo pattern was another immensely popular line from the Anchor Hocking Glass Company, manufactured between 1930 and 1934. These pieces come in green, pink, yellow, and crystal and vary significantly in value based on the color of the piece. Green pieces remain common and sell for only a few dollars. However, yellow and pink pieces are quite rare and can sell for several hundred dollars.
- Royal Lace: This pattern was produced by the Hazel-Atlas Glass Company in green, crystal, pink, and cobalt blue. These pieces are some of the most expensive and sought-after patterns of Depression glass, and even lower value pieces are often valued at $60 or more. Of the colors, cobalt blue fetches the highest price due to its more limited production. High-value cobalt blue pieces such as a butter dish or cookie jar can often fetch several hundred dollars.
In the past several years, reproductions of Depression glassware have been manufactured and sold, making it difficult to guarantee that a piece is original. It goes without saying that reproductions do not hold even close to the value of an original, and it is important to pay close attention when purchasing a piece to ensure it is authentic. The best way to tell is to look for imperfections. Real Depression glassware has likely been used many times for meals which will lead to scratches, and their fast production similarly would often lead to seams. If a piece looks free from damage and other imperfections, it is likely a reproduction.
Depression-era glassware manufactured nearly a century ago remains in high demand and can often be a valuable collector’s piece. Despite the period of struggle and hardship from which they arose, their beauty and resiliency have allowed them to stand the test of time and maintain a collectible status.
If you would like to see what your Depression-era glassware or other collectible items are worth, contact Manzi Appraisers & Restorers. Our team has over 20 years of experience providing individuals and businesses with accurate valuations of their art, furnishings, and decorative objects. Call us at 617-948-2577 and connect with us on Facebook.