This example is a new reproduction figural candlestick in the form of a dolphin. At first glance it seems very similar to similar genuinely old dolphin-themed glass patterns. Various well-known glass manufacturers of the past made a dolphin or fish form candlestick, including Boston and Sandwich, Cambridge and Portieux Vallerysthal. But this clear and frosted glass dolphin candlestick holder is actually modern. Unfortunately, when items like this are found at a local auction or flea market all to often they will be mistaken for (or portrayed to be) antique glassware.
There are characteristics that can help to identify this type of cheaply-made new 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 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.
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 would not have been practical - nor well received.
2. New reproduction glass pieces may be made from batches of molten glass that contain impurities and will 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.
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 or decorative effect 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. Also see item ID: 2007RP000277 to view an example of this same candleholder in pink glass.
Measures about 7 1/2 inches tall.
Illustrations and Characteristics for Help in Identifying Many Confusing New Items
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