How can I tell if this is a reproduction?

Whether you're planning on selling or starting your own collection there are some steps you should take to avoid reproductions. I will speak about glass as that's my specialty but the principals apply to any collectible.

Do your research
Books - There are many good books on almost every type of collectible and many are available used or at your public library. All of the glass books I have list known reproductions with descriptions of the differences.

The sugar on the left is a "reissue" of the Depression glass pattern Madrid using new molds. This was sold by Federal and called "Recollection" . When Federal went bankrupt Indiana bought the molds, removed the '76 and produced crystal and pink. The plate on the right is original Madrid and is a lighter and clearer shade of yellow amber. There is also a '76 on some of the Recollection pieces and some differences in the handles in all of the new mold pieces.
Internet Resources- Discussion groups are especially helpful. I belong to two groups where authors of popular glass books are regular contributors and will answer questions. And, trust me, they know about reproductions. There are wonderful sites dedicated to just one area i.e. Candlewick, Carnival Glass or Indiana patterns where the site owners have dedicated hundreds and hundreds of hours and dollars to share their knowledge and passion for their particular collectible. The good ones will have information on reissues and known reproductions. See 'My Favorite Links' in the side bar for links to some sites.
EBay - Don’t use eBay listings as a source of reliable information, but the community board is very helpful. This swan is a modern Asian import. It's a copy of the Vallerysthal covered swan dish and the mark on the bottom is a dead giveaway.
The pink mark, from the swan, is not Heisey although it is somewhat similiar. The clear glass mark, courtesy of ddoty.com is a genuine Heisey mark. The fake shown above is Hsinshu Taiwan for AA Imports. As you can see, the Heisey mark is a narrow diamond while this Asian importers mark is square.

What the heck is this?
If you don’t know what you have, it can be very hard to determine if it’s vintage or not. EBay is a great place to start if you have no idea. Start with a general search such as ‘vintage milk glass bowl grape pattern’ and find a listing with a name for the pattern and then use the name to search the web and try to verify the pattern. Don’t use eBay listings as a reliable source of identification.

There’s no substitute for experience.
Handle as many known authentic items as you can. It doesn’t take long to get a feel for the real thing. Here are some suggestions on where you can examine vintage items without getting your hands slapped.
Antique shows and shops are helpful as long as the dealer knows their stuff. Even if they don’t have specific ids, it’s likely that most of the items in their stores are vintage or they wouldn’t be in business long.
Auctions are fun. You can examine everything during the preview and you can find out what’s authentic by seeing how high the bids go. Just sit on your hands until you know what you’re doing. It’s way too easy to catch auction fever, your hand will jump up in the air all by itself and you’ll have paid too much for who-knows-what. I have to admit that I have done this, and not just once or twice. :P
Thrift stores and garage sales are good places to find vintage items. If you have a good feel for something and it’s cheap buy it as a research piece and then you can always resell it at your garage sale. I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes - and had some big garage sales, lol.
Museums are wonderful. Ohio has tons of glass museums and I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t been to any but I’m planning some trips this summer.

Is it in like-new condition?
An item that is in brand-spanking-new perfect condition is probably not vintage. It could be the find of the century, but probably not. Unless you know your stuff or want a research piece you should probably pass.

Is there more than one?
Unless we are talking about something that comes in a set - plates, glasses, candlesticks, where you would expect to find more than one – beware! If there are three identical marmalade servers, or seven candlesticks – same pattern and size, they’re probably a knock-off, especially if they’re in pristine condition. There just aren’t that many vintage collectibles around in mint condition.

What about eBay?
As far as glass goes, reproductions and look-a-likes are getting to be a real problem. Oriental imports and even one American company I know of are making new glass in very similar designs to old patterns. There is new glass that will even pass the black light test. However, there are dealers on eBay who list these items, some of which are very nice, as new. Search for vintage style new.

Another Asian import. This is one of many depression "style" items sold at http://www.denofdecor.com/. They are honest about what they are selling but some of their resellers either don't know any better or intend to deceive. Unmarked.
Use completed listings to see what items sold for a decent price – probably authentic; most collectors know their stuff. Use this as a starting point only; don’t ever count on eBay listings for accurate identification!

Did I mention research?
Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to know what you’re buying, especially if it’s something you might resell. In addition, it’s fun to figure out what you’ve found and learn about beautiful things from the past.

Happy Hunting!


My dog embarrases me...

We finally hit the road stopping at the same Microtel we stayed at on the way down. They take dogs and the rooms are reasonably clean, if tiny. Hence the name I guess. This time the Internet wouldn't work unless you sat in the lobby and I have to have my online fix, so Rosco and I head to the lobby. Rosco has to sit on the floor - no dogs on the furniture. Maybe that's why he was feeling grouchy or maybe he was tired of traveling. What ever the reason this normally sweet and friendly dog, who loves everyone, actually growls and goes after this man that was just walking by. And not just once. So we are disgraced and banished from the lobby. I'm embarrassed but he's like "what??"

After slinking out of the hotel in the morning we head out on 77. I don't know if you're familiar with this interstate but about every other exit is an "Antique Mall". I ignore them for as long as I can then I ask to stop at one. I think the DH is tired of traveling too because although he stops and tells me to take my time he doesn't look too happy about it. I hurry through in just 30 mins or so - a personal best for such a big store, I could have spent 2 hours easily. I find this darling Tumbelina table set - all 3 pieces are less than 3" tall. So adorable!

I manage to avert my eyes from the antique signs the rest of the way home to the relief of Alan and Rosco. We are all happy to be home and I can't wait to unpack my cool "new" old stuff!


Titusville and Orlando Family Time (mostly)

We finally arrive in Titusville only an hour late because I have resisted the urge to check the GPS to see if there are any other shops “on the way”. The first night we stay with Alan’s brother Greg and his sweet wife Barbara. Greg is not a big fan of dogs but Rosco wins him right away over by falling asleep on the floor.

Every time I visit I admire Barbara’s Man in the Moon cookie jar. It belonged to her grandmother and is most definitely the real deal - Robinson Ransbottom Pottery. Isn’t it fabulous?!

As you can see photography runs in the family. It’s actually Greg’s fault that I’m living in Ohio, but that’s another story. Although they have lived in Florida for as long as I’ve known them, they’re big fans of New England and visit there as often as they can.

We pick up the items Alan has inherited from his mom and somehow he manages to fit them into our already packed to the gills car.

We spend the next day at his sister Tina’s house and have a nice family dinner with Barb, Greg, Auntie, Uncle and the youngest member of the family, Logan. He’s got to be the cutest 13 year old boy ever, and I am being totally objective! During our time at Tina’s I manage to go scout out the thrift stores. The first place I visit is advertised as an Antique Market but it’s full of imported junk. Then I see a flea market, but it’s packing up – dang! I find an awesome antique store crammed full of interesting old dusty stuff but they won’t be open until Monday and we’re leaving Sunday morning. :( Next time I will be sure to be in Orlando on Friday and Saturday!

Next up – heading back to Ohio (but of course I have to stop along the way)