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Vol. 16 December 2003
Part II in the Series
American the Popular 201
From the Editor...
by fostoriack, photos by amxjewel
Welcome to American the Popular 201, the second installment in our series on identifying Fostoria American.   In August 2003 we gave you background on American and a reference for identification. To recap, almost all American has at least three mould marks.

In this issue we have tips and opinions on the legitimate reproductions pressed near the end of the company's life.  As a follow up to the first installment, we cover the mould mark exceptions on common pieces. In a later issue, we'll have photos of the rare pieces we mentioned as exceptions.

"Is This a Reproduction?"
To answer, let's talk about glass generally.  Fostoria American is not Depression glass. It' s elegant glass. Quality is paramount in elegant glass and is defined by
finish and clarity. Both are crucial.

A good
finish comes from a good "fire polish." Fire polishing is the reintroduction of a fresh piece into the furnace to soften edges and smooth surfaces. Equivalent to running ice under water, elegant glass should look silky and smooth.

Clarity, the other distinction, is dependant upon the glass formula used to produce molten glass. Fostoria called uncolored American "Crystal." The highest quality "Crystal" American pieces
resemble inert water.

"New" vs. "Old" American
After Fostoria "proper" was sold in 1986, the moulds were purchased by Lancaster-Colony. They contracted with Dalzell-Viking and continued to press American. The "new" American was sold, quite legitimately, under the same name. People seem universally concerned about owning a piece from this era. Ideally, if one has the knowledge to discern a newer piece from an older piece, opt for an older piece.

However, quality being equal, telling which piece is older is difficult. Regardless of what a dealer may say, it is more difficult still, to find someone honest to do this for you. Quality "new" American will sell or make a nice addition to your collection. Age is not as important as quality. I have seen 50-year-old pieces of poor quality. Unless the piece is rare, a 70-year-old piece of low quality American is mostly valueless.  Through Fostoria's history, pieces such as these did slip through. The phrase "they don't make 'em like they used to" doesn't always apply.

The last years of the company (pre 1986) -- and the Dalzell-Viking years, were not the best years for quality, though, a few of the Dalzell pieces are nicer than some of the later pre 1986 pieces.

So, "Is it a reproduction?" -- unless you are the curator of a glass museum, the question is unimportant if the answer is not obvious in the piece itself. One could say, "late pieces generally tell on themselves," but more accurately, "poor pieces always do."

Regarding the Dalzell-Viking pieces or even late Fostoria "proper" pieces-- If you have a reproduced piece that is indistinguishable in quality from an older piece, it really doesn't matter much that it is newer. The prices you see in reference books regarding new vs. old are quite dependent on quality.
Happy Holidays
from all of us at GPSA!


From our family to yours, we send you holiday wishes for peace and joy in the coming year.

Fostoriack and amxjewel have presented us with a wonderful holiday gift - more information on the beautiful Fostoria American Line.

Diantiques Plate of the Month is the most incredible color I've ever seen!  Check it out!

And, Rat's back!  Our favorite techie is back with more info to keep your computer eBay-ready!

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Photos...

are the property of the author of each article unless credited elsewhere.
But, Is It Old?
If you are going to be stubborn about this (and I know some of you are), here are some pointers for finding old American.

1. Check your piece in BRIGHT light. I find the later pieces often have a green, blue or beige tint. It is VERY subtle. Better yet take an older piece with you and hold them up to the sun one in each hand.

2. Look for the handy stand-by "ground bottom" but check for wear as well. REMEMBER, correct mould marks, ground bottoms and wear all mean nothing  Look for quality. If it's ugly no one cares if it is old.

3. Does it sit level? Is the piece, and its parts, symmetric?

4. Any useless globules of glass anywhere?

5. More than anything, check for color. There shouldn't be any. If you've found a great deal on a piece you've seen more than once or twice and it's not flawless quality think twice before buying it.
Mould Mark Exceptions
As we discussed in our first piece, there are a few pieces that require further investigation beyond the number of mould marks.

1. The glass handled cake plate has only one rival. Note the correct handle in the photo. Both have only two mould marks.

2. All plates (except saucers) and all punch bowls all have cubed (rickrack) edges.

3. If you can see mould marks, all plates and punch bowls have three in addition to the cubed edges.

Three sizes of new relish boats.  You'd have to handle these ---  the only way to tell is glass quality
The correct handle for the center-handled
cake plate is shown at left.  It is a ring with cubes, rather than the plain loop of the Indiana copy, right.
A newer cake pedestal  -- this one has poor fire polish and it's  lop sided.  It's not a good one - but it's identical in shape to a good one.
A 14 inch torte, a 8.5" inch dinner plate and a saucer---  poor quality tells you these are reproduced.
A reproduced wedding bowl-- only glass
quality defines a reproduction
on this piece.
Next Time
Taking the mould mark information from the last article along with this month’s tips, you now have a firm background of the benchmarks of recognizing American:  mould marks and quality.

Next time, based on what we now know about moulds and quality, we will look at some specific American pieces and we will have further definitions for look-like pieces.   Come back and see us again!
Some reproduced bowls--  all poor quality but identical in shape to good ones.
Plate of the Month
by Dianetiques
There are only a handful of English porcelain makers whose production lasted for over two centuries. Of these, certainly the Minton porcelain factory, which gained notoriety for excellence and artistry ranks among the world's finest.

      Thomas Minton began his factory in 1793, and quickly became a major rival of Josiah Spode.  During the early period of production from 1798 – 1816, the wares were often unmarked.
  
      After a brief lapse in porcelain production, Minton revamped its operation and began creating lavish Victorian style items in the Coalbrookdale style made famous at Coalport. Rich, baroque and lavish ceramics with high-style painting and gilding were shown at the finest exhibitions during the mid Victorian period. During the post 1850 years, Thomas Minton’s son Herbert successfully compelled the Frenchman Leon Arnoux as art director. Thereafter, the influence of the French taste, and in particular, Sevres, can be found in the sumptuous colorations of the pieces.

     Of particular merit is the use of bold turquoise blue. The apparent beauty of the color turquoise in contrast to bright white along with the vivid,  jewel-toned enamel colored flowers and glowing gold detail make this featured plate quite beautiful.

     Mintons (known after 1873) developed a rather ingenious, though not unique, system of marks called ‘cyphers’ from 1842-1942 thus enabling the identification of the exact year and month of production. This plate, which is impressed with the cypher for 1871, also shows the letter “F” for the month of February.

     Measuring approximately 9” ½” in diameter, this cabinet plate has lovely polychrome naturalistic hand painted flowers arranged in artful curved swags around the center. Three cartouche medallions showing great rococo detail and more hand painted flowers are bright with gilt highlights. The basket weave, reticulated effect around the cavetto gives this plate a lacy filigree appearance that is formal and elegant. Like Worcester, Derby and Davenport, Minton or Mintons china is world class in taste and appearance, making it appealing to collectors the world over.

Enjoy!
Striking color makes this Minton plate a standout
A close-up look allows an opportunity to see the fine details of this exceptional plate.
Impressed marks on the back of this plate date it to 1871.
Don't You Wish You Had One of These?
This Bing & Grondhal Christmas plate recently sold on eBay for $3,550.00. 

It was issued in 1895 and is the first in the series.  The plate is called the "frozen window" plate by collectors.

Other pre-1900 B&G Christmas plates have been selling in the $1,000 range.
Rat's Back!  Rat's Back!  Rat's Back!  Rat's Back!  Rat's Back!
Monthly Computer Advice to Keep You Up and Selling
Rat's Tech Tips
by Rat's Attic
    After a 2 month remodel of life I’m glad to say that it appears Rat’s Tech Tips is now going to be back for awhile. This month I am going to be giving you information for Win XP and for those of you with Macintosh I have not forgotten your emails and will be doing Macintosh for next month and would appreciate any Mac users out there sending me an email with what version you run so I can try to get something in the next article to help with most versions. Now on with this month’s article and I hope you like it.

     SECURITY is paramount in today’s internet world with cable and DSL offering round the clock access to the internet, many of us leave our computers online all the time. With this in mind I’d like to focus on a FREE program from Microsoft that will help you in this area. First off, how secure is your Pc? How safe is the data that you store on it? Do you keep personal and private information, like banking details or names and addresses of contacts on your machine? How easily could others get hold of that data?

     Online tax returns such as turbo tax store our tax returns which as we all know contains ALL your information such as social security number, ages of kids , home address etc. - everything the ID Theives would LOVE to get thier hands on.

     The chances are that you keep some sensitive data on your computer.  It is also probably far too easy for someone who knows what they’re doing to get their hands on it. With unmetered internet connections we spend more time than ever online – time that someone else could be scanning your computer. Always – on internet connections are becoming more and more popular, but along with the convenience of having uninterrupted online access comes a need to be ever vigilant. Last year, several high profile viruses laid many company’s computer systems open to attack, and passed sensitive information on to others.

     So how can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? Well, the quick and not too comfortable answer is that you can’t completely secure your system, as virus writers are always looking for ways to make popular software vulnerable. However, you can protect yourself against known threats. A good, up-to-date virus checker will help lessen the threat of viruses, but it won’t stop unsavory characters finding ways to crack Windows XP and Internet Explorer’s security.

     To close all known security holes I recommend Microsoft’s Baseline Security Analyzer. This was developed by Microsoft to find any security problems your PC has, so you can do something about them. Basically what this program does is after you download it ( http://www.microsoft.com/downloads  (MBSA) )and install it contacts Microsoft’s web site and downloads the list of patches etc that has been released (this takes about 5 minutes on a 56k connection) and upon completion will scan your registry ensuring that all fixes are in place and all known holes are closed. Should it find a vulnerability it will notify you and help you in closing the door.

     Always make sure that you have the built-in firewall active on your network connection and I personally also run a router which provides hardware firewall in addition to the software wall provided by Microsoft. If needed I can do an article explaining how to get, setup and use a router with details on what they do etc. I am going to try and change this article section around somewhat in the future and would appreciate any questions from you the readers so that this section addresses concerns that YOU have and help that is needed.

Happy Computing,
Rat
SHAZAAM!!
GPSA sellers are still listing  year-end clearance items  until December 31st.  All items start at an opening bid of $1! 

Don't miss this opportunity to pick up a bargain from one of our reliable GPSA sellers!  All sellers abide by the GPSA guidelines found on our
home page.

To see Shazaam listings at any time,
click here.  Check back often - sellers will be adding items over the next several weeks!
The following eBay sellers became GPSA members this month.  As members of the GPSA, they have committed to upholding the standards of the
Glass & Pottery Sellers' Association
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Archived Issues
November 2003
Thanksgiving, Transferware, Mystery Plate
October 2003
Egg Cups, Paperweights, The Plate Story
September 2003
Blenko, Sentiment China, Floyd's Mug
August 2003
Fostoria American, Chintz Plate, Pig Banks
July 2003
Candlewick, American Sweetheart, Dresden Plate, $16k Carnival Glass
Do you have an idea that you would like to share? A suggestion for a future article?
If so, please e-mail us at
G_P_S_A@hotmail.com
May 2003
Shawnee Minis, Dresden MA Plate, Eggs in Your Computer
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