This example is a brand new reproduction miniature-size glassware set with a surface design of birds and plants. At first glance the pieces in this tiny set can seem to be similar to a type of old glass known as 'pressed' or 'pressed pattern' glass. It has mold seams, which suggests the pieces were 'pressed' in old, wooden multi-part molds when made, just like old glass. The top rim of the pitcher has a pleasing scalloped edge and the peacock-type bird in the design is a motif that might be found on old glass, too. Add glass color of deep 'cobalt' blue, which is an uncommon and very desirable color for authentic old glass, and diminutive size, which makes it possible for this little set to appeal to toy and doll collectors, as well as glass collectors, and a buyer could easily think they've hit the jackpot should they find a set like this being sold at the local flea market for less than $100.
The truth is, though it can frequently be found for sale both online and in brick and mortar 'antique' malls at prices similar to the one displayed in this listing, this little blue glass set is actually available for just a little over $5 today, brand new, from the reproduction wholesale concern that steadily keeps it in stock.
There are characteristics that can help to identify this type of cheaply-made and common glassware.
1. Authentic pressed pattern glass does have visible mold seams, but they should not be exaggerated nor seem very obvious to the eye. On imported fake glass like this set mold seams often are exaggerated. This may be intentional, since the makers of fakes are always looking to add components they know collectors would be aware should be present and so might immediately look to find on a piece.
Note how the seam on the handle of the pitcher shown in this listing stands above its surrounding surfaces. Sometimes edges and seams on a reproduction piece are so poorly finished they can actually be sharp enough to cut the unwary. Old glass will have a smooth and well finished original surface, without sharp edges. Though old pressed glass of the 19th and early 20th century may have been made in a more primitive manufacturing environment, it was not considered a cheap, throw-away commodity, but a lovely and useful product. Companies vied with one another for the buyer's favor, and so old glass goods were made with some care. Glass articles were also intended to be of some use to the consumer, so sharp seam edges, especially on the handle of a toy-sized table set one would expect to be handled by a child, would not have been practical - nor well received.
2. New reproduction glass pieces like the set in this listing are made from batches of molten glass that contain impurities. It has a tendency to look cheaply made, because it was cheaply made. Surfaces may either be very rough to the touch, or have a greasy feel. Both those aspects can be present in the same item, as is true for the pieces in the set shown.
3. When held to the light the new reproduction glass looks murky and thick. Even extremely old glass made with early primitive manufacturing methods will have a crystal clarity often missing in new reproductions.
4. While some old glass may be expected to contain a few bubbles within the body, here and there, the new reproduction glass frequently will be littered with interior air bubbles because it is made quickly, in large numbers.
5. When considering the purchase of any glass article being represented to you as 'old glass,' always check the bottom of the piece to look for patterns of wear. If you don't already know what true surface wear should look like, a good way to train your eye is to use a magnifying glass or loupe to examine likely areas on family items you own that you know to be of a certain age, beyond any shadow of a doubt. Then examine the same areas on a similar piece of glass that you know is brand new. Using familiar items to make comparisons like this can help your eye immediately recognize the patterns of wear on glass that comes with age. Wear can be faked, so keep in mind it should be random, not uniform in nature. Uniform, one direction-only, scratches that have been artificially added usually indicate an attempt has been made to 'age' a piece.
6. Keep in mind that an unusual color may mean 'new' not 'rare.'
These are the kinds of tips that can help buyers avoid purchasing brand new reproduction pieces of glass at 'antique' prices.
The pitcher in this set measures 3 and 1/4 inches high.
Illustrations and Characteristics for Help in Identifying Many Confusing New Items
Item listings in this shop are intended to be viewed for educational purposes, only. Items in this shop are not for sale.