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Catholic Devotional Items Potential
For Collectors

BOOK REVIEW

A Maltese cross with a dove representing the Holy Spirit, from the early 1900s.

A recent release of Schiffer Publishing is Catholic Collectibles, by June K. Laval. It is subtitled “A Guide to Devotional Memorabilia.”

Catholic religious art has been created and displayed in churches and cathedrals across the western world for centuries, and on the West Coast, in the missions established here. At the same time, religious artifacts and artistic representations of holy objects have been displayed in homes of people of all economic levels. Christians of all denominations have become interested in these articles not only for their beauty but also for the inspiration they can give.

This guide to the history and value of Catholic collectibles, most from 1800 through the 1900s, include rosaries, medals, crosses, crucifixes, representations of saints, Bibles and religious books, fonts, wedding invitations and other printed cards, textiles and more.

Medals have been made of many of the saints, and brief information about each of the saints that are included in the book has been given. Some are well known, such as Joan of Arc; others will be less known to many readers, such as Saint Dominic, who is the patron saint of television broadcasters, orators, communications workers and astronomers.

The focus of the book is on everyday devotional objects that can be found at reasonable prices. It is illustrated with more than 400 color photographs.

Catholic Collectibles (ISBN: 978-0-7643-5146-4,) hardback, is priced at $29.99. Check with your local bookseller, contact Schiffer at (610) 593-1777; or see the online catalog: www.schifferbooks.com.

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Bryce, Higbee Glass Topic Of
New Schiffer Book

BOOK REVIEW

The “Beveled Cube and Diamond” tumbler as it was illustrated in a May 1898 Butler Brothers catalog.

Collectors of Early American Pattern Glass will appreciate the well-researched book on Bryce,Higbee & Company, recently published by Schiffer Publishing. Written by Paul Kirk Jr., the full title is Homestead Glass Works, Bryce, Higbee & Company, 1879-1907.

The firm, located in Homestead, Pennsyl­vania, was apparently known by both names at the time. It was founded by three well-respected glassmakers - John Bryce, his son, Charles Bryce, and John B. Higbee.

During the company’s 27 years of operation, they were known for offering good quality, conservative patterns of glass at reasonable prices. It was also noted at the time that it was the first glasshouse in the country to use natural gas to fire its kilns.

The company produced pressed glass, glass novelties and, although apparently briefly, blown glass.

The company prospered until 1905, when trouble broke out between the Bryce and Higbee families, with Charles Bryce being accused of embezzling up to $75,000. That undoubtedly explains his sudden move to Denver, Colorado. Then in 1906, John Higbee died. And in 1907, a huge flood damaged the factory so severely that it was reported that it would “have to be rebuilt if it is ever operated again.”

This book includes an extensive history of this interesting company.

(It should be noted that John Higbee’s son, Orlando, bought some of the movable parts of the company to be used in a new glass factory which he named the John B. Higbee Glass Company - a totally separate glasshouse.)

Most of the book includes the known patterns made by Bryce, Higbee, including photographs, original manufacturer’s name when known, descriptions, reproductions if known, catalog reprints if available and the references used for the information.

Bryce, Higbee & Co., (ISBN: 978-0-7643-5035-1), hardback, is priced at $34.99. Check with your local bookseller or order online from www.schifferbooks.com.

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