UPCOMING EVENTS

  • 04/26/15 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   04/24-26/15 - Rock Island Auction Company...   04/26/15 - All Points Auction Company...   04/26/15 - Jack's Bid Board, LLC...   04/27/15 - Pook & Pook, Inc....   04/27/15 - C & M Auctioneers...   04/28/15 - Conestoga Auction/Division of Hess Auction...   04/28/15 - John Hums Auctions...   04/29/15 - Sellersville Auction LLC...   04/29/15 - Diefenderfer Auction Co., LLC...   04/30/15 - Pandur Auction Services, LLC...   04/30/15 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   05/01/15 - Rowe's Auction Service...   05/01/15 - Hardy's Auction Service...   05/02/15 - Carl E. Ocker...   05/02/15 - Maurer's Auctions...   05/02/15 - Hardy's Auction Service...   05/02/15 - Cabin Fever Auctions...   05/02/15 - Sullivan Auctioneers, LLC...   05/02/15 - Ron Rhoads...   05/02/15 - Keystone Auctions LLC...   05/02/15 - Gallery at Knotty Pine Auction Service...   05/02/15 - Dotta Auction Co., Inc....   05/02/15 - Horning Farm Agency...   05/02/15 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   05/02/15 - Blums...   05/02/15 - George Miller IV Auction Co....   05/03/15 - All Points Auction Company...   05/02-03/15 - Rich Penn Auctions...   05/01-03/15 - Morphy Las Vegas...   05/02-03/15 - Dean R. Arner...   05/03/15 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   05/04/15 - Boltz Auctions...   05/04/15 - H & R Auction...   05/04/15 - Robert H. Clinton & Company, Inc....   05/05/15 - Wehrly's Auction Service, Inc....   05/05/15 - Wehrly's Auction Service, Inc....   05/06/15 - Wilson's Auction Gallery...   05/05-05/07/15 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   05/08/15 - Stephensons Auction...   05/09/15 - Pook & Pook, inc....   05/09/15 - Horst Auctioneers...   05/09/15 - Howard B. Parzow...   05/09/15 - Richard Opfer Auctioneering, Inc....   05/09/15 - Pook & Pook, Inc....   05/09/15 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   05/09/15 - Forsythes' Auctions. LLC...   05/09/15 - Hardy's Auction Service...   05/09/15 - JR's Auctioneering...   05/09/15 - Pa OnSite Auction Co....   05/08-09/15 - Bertoia Auctions...   05/15/15 - Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   05/15-16/15 - John Hess/Conestoga Auction...   05/30/15 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   06/05/15 - Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   06/06/15 - Hardy's Auction Service...   06/13/15 - Hardy's Auction Service...   
  • 04/26/15 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   04/24-26/15 - Rock Island Auction Company...   04/26/15 - All Points Auction Company...   04/26/15 - Jack's Bid Board, LLC...   04/27/15 - Pook & Pook, Inc....   04/27/15 - C & M Auctioneers...   04/28/15 - Conestoga Auction/Division of Hess Auction...   04/28/15 - John Hums Auctions...   04/29/15 - Sellersville Auction LLC...   04/29/15 - Diefenderfer Auction Co., LLC...   04/30/15 - Pandur Auction Services, LLC...   04/30/15 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   05/01/15 - Rowe's Auction Service...   05/01/15 - Hardy's Auction Service...   05/02/15 - Carl E. Ocker...   05/02/15 - Maurer's Auctions...   05/02/15 - Hardy's Auction Service...   05/02/15 - Cabin Fever Auctions...   05/02/15 - Sullivan Auctioneers, LLC...   05/02/15 - Ron Rhoads...   05/02/15 - Keystone Auctions LLC...   05/02/15 - Gallery at Knotty Pine Auction Service...   05/02/15 - Dotta Auction Co., Inc....   05/02/15 - Horning Farm Agency...   05/02/15 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   05/02/15 - Blums...   05/02/15 - George Miller IV Auction Co....   05/03/15 - All Points Auction Company...   05/02-03/15 - Rich Penn Auctions...   05/01-03/15 - Morphy Las Vegas...   05/02-03/15 - Dean R. Arner...   05/03/15 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   05/04/15 - Boltz Auctions...   05/04/15 - H & R Auction...   05/04/15 - Robert H. Clinton & Company, Inc....   05/05/15 - Wehrly's Auction Service, Inc....   05/05/15 - Wehrly's Auction Service, Inc....   05/06/15 - Wilson's Auction Gallery...   05/05-05/07/15 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   05/08/15 - Stephensons Auction...   05/09/15 - Pook & Pook, inc....   05/09/15 - Horst Auctioneers...   05/09/15 - Howard B. Parzow...   05/09/15 - Richard Opfer Auctioneering, Inc....   05/09/15 - Pook & Pook, Inc....   05/09/15 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   05/09/15 - Forsythes' Auctions. LLC...   05/09/15 - Hardy's Auction Service...   05/09/15 - JR's Auctioneering...   05/09/15 - Pa OnSite Auction Co....   05/08-09/15 - Bertoia Auctions...   05/15/15 - Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   05/15-16/15 - John Hess/Conestoga Auction...   05/30/15 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   06/05/15 - Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   06/06/15 - Hardy's Auction Service...   06/13/15 - Hardy's Auction Service...   
  • 04/26/15 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   04/24-26/15 - Rock Island Auction Company...   04/26/15 - All Points Auction Company...   04/26/15 - Jack's Bid Board, LLC...   04/27/15 - Pook & Pook, Inc....   04/27/15 - C & M Auctioneers...   04/28/15 - Conestoga Auction/Division of Hess Auction...   04/28/15 - John Hums Auctions...   04/29/15 - Sellersville Auction LLC...   04/29/15 - Diefenderfer Auction Co., LLC...   04/30/15 - Pandur Auction Services, LLC...   04/30/15 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   05/01/15 - Rowe's Auction Service...   05/01/15 - Hardy's Auction Service...   05/02/15 - Carl E. Ocker...   05/02/15 - Maurer's Auctions...   05/02/15 - Hardy's Auction Service...   05/02/15 - Cabin Fever Auctions...   05/02/15 - Sullivan Auctioneers, LLC...   05/02/15 - Ron Rhoads...   05/02/15 - Keystone Auctions LLC...   05/02/15 - Gallery at Knotty Pine Auction Service...   05/02/15 - Dotta Auction Co., Inc....   05/02/15 - Horning Farm Agency...   05/02/15 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   05/02/15 - Blums...   05/02/15 - George Miller IV Auction Co....   05/03/15 - All Points Auction Company...   05/02-03/15 - Rich Penn Auctions...   05/01-03/15 - Morphy Las Vegas...   05/02-03/15 - Dean R. Arner...   05/03/15 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   05/04/15 - Boltz Auctions...   05/04/15 - H & R Auction...   05/04/15 - Robert H. Clinton & Company, Inc....   05/05/15 - Wehrly's Auction Service, Inc....   05/05/15 - Wehrly's Auction Service, Inc....   05/06/15 - Wilson's Auction Gallery...   05/05-05/07/15 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   05/08/15 - Stephensons Auction...   05/09/15 - Pook & Pook, inc....   05/09/15 - Horst Auctioneers...   05/09/15 - Howard B. Parzow...   05/09/15 - Richard Opfer Auctioneering, Inc....   05/09/15 - Pook & Pook, Inc....   05/09/15 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   05/09/15 - Forsythes' Auctions. LLC...   05/09/15 - Hardy's Auction Service...   05/09/15 - JR's Auctioneering...   05/09/15 - Pa OnSite Auction Co....   05/08-09/15 - Bertoia Auctions...   05/15/15 - Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   05/15-16/15 - John Hess/Conestoga Auction...   05/30/15 - Concepts 1 Auction House...   06/05/15 - Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   06/06/15 - Hardy's Auction Service...   06/13/15 - Hardy's Auction Service...   
An Introduction To Marble Collecting

April 23, 2015

An Introduction To Marble Collecting

By Shawn Surmick

One of the hottest up-and-coming collectibles to grace the antiques and collectibles market over the past decade has been marbles. Those miniature glass orbs that you probably didn't give much thought to as a kid are now being looked at as miniature works of art. Today, some of the most popular contemporary marbles are made by talented glass artists and sold as works of art. Meanwhile, the hobby of collecting vintage and antique marbles continues to grow. Handmade glass marbles made from the last two centuries remain the most sought after while machine-made marbles manufactured before the year 1960 continue to set new records at auction.
The origin of marbles dates back to ancient times when polished stones were used before the first clay marbles were introduced. Marbles have been found in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii and even in the pyramids of Egypt. Handmade glass marbles became prominent in Germany during the 1800s. Their popularity quickly spread, and by the early 1900s, machine-made marbles were being manufactured in the United States. Mass production allowed marbles to be sold at a much lower cost, allowing anyone with just a few cents to own them. As a result, their popularity spread and the game of marbles developed into a legitimate pasttime. Akron, Ohio, became home to prominent marble manufacturers like M.F. Christensen, who perfected the ability to mass-produce colorful machine-made glass marbles. This lasted up until the late 1950s and early 1960s, when foreign manufacturers were able to produce generic marbles in bulk, thus allowing a glut of low-quality marbles to flood the market. These marbles were quickly nicknamed "cat's eye marbles" due to the way they look. As a result, these kinds of marbles have no collectible value. Today, companies in Mexico, China, Taiwan, and even Japan continue to crank out generic glass marbles that can be found for less than a dollar a bag. Meanwhile, contemporary artisans continue to make high-quality glass marbles as an art form. These typically sell for over $50 each and are made by talented artists such as Jody Fine, Josh Simpson, Eddie Seese, and other well-known artists. These kinds of marbles are not to be played with and are coveted solely as works of art.
Several auction houses have started to cater to the growing roster of marble collectors, with Morphy Auctions (located near Adamstown, Pa.) being the most prominent. Their bi-yearly toy and marble auctions continue to set new records with a lot of enthusiasm being generated with each passing sale. The most expensive marbles are handmade marbles in near-mint or better condition. Some of these marbles can sell for five figures, with the rarest of the rare selling for over $10,000 each! Machine-made marbles are also starting to set new records with some of the most colorful specimens attracting bids in the hundreds to thousands of dollars each.
Unfortunately for beginning collectors, the hobby of marble collecting can appear very complicated. Due to increased prices on the secondary markets, a slew of fakes and reproductions have entered the market with the sole intent to deceive even the most hardcore collector. To a novice collector, it can be very difficult to tell the difference between a genuine machine-made marble from the early 1900s and one being mass-produced in China right now. There are also literally hundreds of different kinds of marbles made by a plethora of manufacturers. Some of the nicknames given to these marbles can be downright daunting to a beginning collector. With marble names such as onionskins, swirls, guineas, transitions, sulphides, and diaper folds, the hobby of marble collecting requires a lot of study and caution on the part of the collector. Luckily, there are multiple resources aimed at helping even the most novice beginner.
For those wanting a book on identifying marbles, Robert Block has published one of the best books on the subject aptly named "Marbles Identification and Price Guide." The book can be purchased at most booksellers or through Amazon.com. If a novice collector just wants some information on identifying marbles and learning about them, two websites come to mind. The first is www.marblecollecting.com, which is a good resource for the beginning collector. The second is www.morphyauctions.com, where any collector can view past auctions and look at the sold price of any marble. This has proven extremely valuable for collectors who like to keep abreast to any price trends or simply track the estimated sale price of various machine-made and handmade marbles.
Marble collecting is an incredible hobby that provides a lot of opportunities and challenges to the dedicated collector. If a novice collector can get past the learning curve required to enjoy this hobby, the rewards can be vast.

entire article