The Fenton Art Glass Company has produced a variety of animals since shortly after their 1905 formation. 2005 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Fenton Art Glass Company, one of the few USA companies that still produce handmade glass.
Fenton has made thousands of animals over the past 100 years, and with this year there are 100 animal molds. One of the first was a turtle flower block produced in 1925. The Turtle Flower Bowl (pictured) was produced in 1929 and others soon followed. While many folks are familiar with Fenton’s Hobnail, Burmese and Cranberry Glass and their multi-hued, handpainted baskets, not nearly as many people are familiar with the multitude of animals that Fenton has created over the years. So with that in mind, and as a result of the increasing popularity of the animals, the idea of a database where all Fenton animals ever produced could be found was conceived.
Animal Database History
The database is not a product from the Fenton Art Glass Company, although Fenton has been extremely supportive. Initially it was the result of intensive hours of research by one woman. Sharon Bragg had the vision and passion to share this Fenton animal information with all collectors. In Sharon’s own words, “The genesis of this database began in 1996 when I visited the Fenton factory for a week of research on the animals produced in Fenton's regular catalog line. This was before I owned a laptop computer, so my tools were a legal pad and pencils. I had expected to do the research by looking at all the pretty photos in the Fenton catalogs. Not so: Frank L. Fenton handed me his own personal 3-ring binder that contains all of the Price Lists, and said If we made it, we had to sell it.”
And so began a journey that was to extend over 7 years, many thousands of miles and is still an ongoing effort. The Animal database contains entries of Fenton in-line (regular catalog), Special Orders (including QVC), and Fenton Gift Shop Exclusives. You can also find animals that have been produced for the different Fenton collectors groups. All three: National Fenton Glass Society (NFGS), Fenton Art Glass Collectors of America (FAGCA), and Pacific Northwest Fenton Association (PNFA), have commissioned pieces from Fenton for their collectors. Figurines made to order for specific retailers such as Lenox, Cracker Barrel, and Hallmark can be found as well as those made for specific individuals and dealers like Levay, Mary Walrath, and the B&B Shoppe.
Currently there are nearly 2,200 database entries listing most of Fenton’s animal offerings. Many of the entries are accompanied by photos of existing pieces. Most have been provided by avid collectors. Sharon will be the first to tell you that this is a labor of love for many Fenton collectors. Volunteers proofread the entries and tested the database. There are dozens of folks who have taken photos of their personal collections to share with other interested members of the Fenton community. John Gager, owner of the Fenton Fanatics website, has been gracious enough to designate space on that site to house the database. Linda Dees was interested enough to spend hours of time working on the construction of the database with additional input from John, and many, many others contributed in a variety of ways.
The database went online in January 2004, and it continues to grow. You can find photos of Fenton’s 437 different cats, 322 bears, 118 butterflies, and 63 ducklings. You’ll find pigs, puppies, penguins and a positive plethora of pachyderms with trunks both up and down...97 of them, to be precise! You can search by simple terms or by designers. You can identify which color(s) your favorite animal comes in or which decorations are missing from your collection. You can also discover that even within a decoration all are not the same. Remember each piece is handpainted and while there is some consistency of design there have been many interpretations over the years. Violets in the Snow is an excellent example where rarely are any two animals the same. You can enter the date and find all the animals produced in that year. The database provides information on what the issue (original retail) price was and how it was retailed.
What kind of questions might you like to ask? Did Fenton ever make a unicorn, the answer is yes. How many different bird shapes has Fenton made? Which designs did my favorite designer create? Answers to all of these and many more questions can be found in the animal database. All information found in this database is substantiated by the research of the documents made available at the Fenton Factory. So now that the database is up and operating it’s there for everyone to use. Jump right in and search for your favorite piece at: www.fentonfan.com and click on the animals database selection on the left hand side of the page.
You can help!
You may run across a few animals without pictures. Or you may have that elusive piece that everyone has been trying to locate. Let Sharon Bragg or John Gager know. And then you, too, can join in the fun and contribute a photo or a piece of information that will make the Fenton animal database better for all collectors.
More information can be found about Fenton Art Glass at the Fenton web site.
PLEASE NOTE: The database photos can be printed for your own collection files, but are not to be used for any Internet auction listings, websites, or any other commercial purposes. The database is intended for educational purposes only. The photos provided for this article are from the personal collection of FanofFenton or with permission from the owner.
by paddyandmax Max
I guess I just spend too much time Googling around trying to ID china patterns! I have a box of restaurant ware I’m working on and came across Bees Knees Restaurant China Date Codes and thought it had a lot of neat info. I noticed a lot of date code questions from our GPSA members and on the eBbay Pottery, Glass & Porcelain board and the Bees Knees site had a number of charts all in one place, rather than having to go to a different site for each manufacturer.
by the lovely Valerie
How does a collection begin? In my case, I began noticing lady head vases in the 1970s, about a decade after their heyday. To me these little figures were fun because they represented the idealized view of women in the 1950s and 60s. By the time I started collecting these, that view seemed old fashioned and out-of-date, and to tell the truth, a little silly. As a result, these little vases made me smile and I began buying them for a quarter or 50 cents whenever I saw them. Today, these vases sell in the $60 to $100 range when perfect, with rare ones selling in the $300 to $400 range. But it’s not their increased value that keeps me collecting these little beauties. The truth is, they still make me smile!
This Enesco (1) vase measures 5" and features flowing hair typical of 1960s vases.
Relpo (2) vases are known for their beautiful details - notice the fine facial features and the fun feather decoration on the hat.
The daisies on this Napcoware (3) 6" vase are a dead giveaway to its 1960s origin.
I love this vase because it was found with its original flowers! Most head vases were used by florists for arrangements. This Inarco (4) vase, however, comes with a bouquet of plastic roses made just for it! The original tag calls them Fleur-Ever Flowers and brags that “this bouquet is made of durable polyethylene that will bring you many years of enjoyment.”
These 3” Inarco (5) vases are typical of the more commonly found vases. The one on the right was the very first vase in my collection.
This fabulous folk art bowl is unsigned but has been attributed to Arie Meaders. The Meaders tradition was begun in 1893 at Mossy Creek, Georgia, by John Milton Meaders, creator of the famous Meaders face jugs. His son, Cheever, took over the business in 1920. Cheever's wife, Arie, participated in the family tradition by making fun animals and birds like this fabulous chicken. This piece was sold recently on eBay by the seller mhicks111 for $2,950.
For more information: http://www.meaderspottery.org
The Folk Pottery of the Cheever, Arie, and Lanier
by Michael Crocker and W. Newman Crouch Jr.
It happens every day! You anticipate receiving an item you won at auction. It arrives, and you open the box to see...pottery shards or slivers of glass!
Have you noticed how some auction photos just seem to scream “BUY ME!” while others are so fuzzy and far away you’re not sure what is being offered?
We share a few practical tips on photo taking and packing to help you get that item safely to your buyer! Our GPSA website offers a more in-depth look at valuable packing and photo tips. Please visit and have a look around!
- Newspaper - Not highly recommended for shipping. Do not place directly in contact with your item. The ink can adhere to the surfaces of your items, especially bisque and other unglazed surfaces. Newspaper is not a great shock absorber. If used, it should be fresh, crumpled or shredded. Newspaper loses its shock absorbability quickly.
- Styrofoam Egg Cartons - These can be used to hold items inside a box in place or when double boxing, place these inside a larger box. Cut off the tops, they are not as strong as the bottoms. Just put a layer upside down on the inside bottom of larger box. If space permits, set in the smaller box and fill in around the smaller box. They are free (if you eat eggs!) and don’t add any weight.
- Learn to use the cropping tool in your photo editing software. This tip involves a picture straight out of the camera at 2048x1536pixels. The picture on the left has been resized to 400x300. The one on the right is resized to 225x300 after cropping. Which one would get more attention in your auction?
No reserve clearance sales, less than ONE DOLLAR!
GPSA sellers are still listing clearance items. All items start at an opening bid of 99¢. 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.
Find a bargain! Deals and Steals!
To see Shazaam listings at any time, click here. Check back often — sellers add items all the time!
We’re so happy to have you join us!!
The following eBay sellers became GPSA members in August 2004. As members of the GPSA, they have committed to upholding the standards of the Glass & Pottery Sellers’ Association.
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