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Fenton art glass book expands in latest edition

BOOK REVIEW

Fenton Emerald Crest5
Nothing is more recognizable to collectors of glass than Fenton’s crested ware. In fact, it is so associated with the company that many have come to think that every piece with a crest was made by Fenton, although many other companies also used this technique. This is a piece of Emerald Crest; it has a bright green crest on the piece of white milk glass and was made from 1954 to 1956.

The second edition of Fenton Art Glass, by Debbie and Randy Coe, is now available from Schiffer Publishing. Altogether, 4,000 pieces of glass are shown, in 800 color photos; 1,000 of them are new to this edition.

As indicated by the sub-title, “A Centennial of Glass Making 1907-2007 and Beyond,” the book follows the history of this all-American company from its founding to the middle of 2012, when it finally ceased making glass at its plant in Williams town, West Virginia.

During its over 100 years of glass making, Fenton made hundreds of different types of pieces, and used hundreds of different colors, as the company moved with the decorating trends of each period. In the early years, what is now called carnival glass was popular, as they produced iridescent glass similar to that produced by elite companies such as Tiffany, at prices affordable by the average person.

By the 1920s, colored glass was desired, and the iridescent glass now known as stretch glass was the mainstay of the company.

The 1930s was a difficult time for Fenton, as well as for the rest of the United States. It was during this period that the popular dinnerware lines – Georgian, Plymouth and Sheffield – were offered, along with etched crystal glass and some new colors. Accounts with the huge dime stores, Kresge and Woolworth, also helped the company make it through the Depression.

By the 1940s, two general lines were being made, which for many people today are almost synonymous with Fenton: hobnail and crests. Hobnail pieces were made in numerous colors, some of them opalescent. Crest pieces also came in a variety of colors, with Silver Crest – milk glass with a crystal ruffle around the top – far and away the most plentiful. Sales of undecorated glass to decorating companies such as Abel Wasserman’s Charleton line also helped the income of this period, Overlay colors – two colors of glass in the same piece – were also offered, including the short-lived Mulberry color.

The 1950s brought the introduction of Milk Glass Hobnail, which made up a huge percentage of Fenton’s sales during this decade.

From the 1960s on, new colors and new styles were introduced frequently. The 1970s saw the Colonial colors offered and the 1980s featured the pastel satinized colors. Animals and fairy lamps also became important additions to the company’s output.

In addition to tracing the development of the factory’s output during the years, the book also includes photos and brief introductions to the people involved – family members, designers, decorators and others who contributed to the success of the company.

Fenton Art Glass (ISBN: 978-0-7643-3680-5), 2nd edition, in hardback, is priced at $39.95. It includes values for all of the items pictured.

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Kovel Family Continues With Latest
Price Guide

Antique collectors have been using the Kovels’ Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide since the first edition appeared in 1953. Now, with the 45th edition of this industry standard, Terry Kovel and her daughter Kim present the latest antique prices in 700 categories.

Kovels’ Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide has over 40,000 listings and more than 2,500 full-color photographs. The book showcases the timeliest, most extensive facts including tips, marks, logos, and additional information.

Kovels’ includes a wide variety of American and international items that are highly sought after by collectors, rather than solely spotlighting high-priced items, as some guides do. In addition, the expert commentary helps buyers and sellers understand the trends and pricing patterns for certain pieces. A special report on the previous year’s record-setting prices is included.

The introduction to the book is helpful in recognizing the current state of the antique market. The authors state,

“Prices for items offered by individuals on eBay are still low, and many do not sell at all. Prices have gone up for some things that have international appeal, like Chinese porcelain and ivory, and down for other things, like Hummel and Royal Doulton figurines, “country furniture” with peeling paint, and “brown furniture” like period Chippendale desks and oak dining tables with pedestal bases.

“...The malls, shows and shops have seen fewer buyers and lower prices than they could get four years ago. But we talk to collectors and dealers, and most agree that “good stuff sells’ and well-run shows, shops and sales are doing ‘okay.’...”

Following the introduction there is a heading that says “Read This First.” This is good advice for getting the maximum value from the book.

Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2013 (ISBN: 978-1-57912-6) is priced at $27.95. Check with your local bookseller.

Information submitted by Stephanie Sorensen on behalf of Black Dog & Leventhal, publishers.

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