Open salts are curious little items to many collectors and antique sellers, but the makers and even the patterns are often widely recognized. I'll share some salts from my collection and see if many of these patterns or makers are familiar.
Here's a great Tree of Life salt that I just sold on eBay. It's one every collector wants, and most EAPG people will recognize the pattern.
First I'll show some EAPG, although some of these patterns may not have had complete services made and not deserve the name of pattern glass.
I've recently become interested in the States Series patterns by U.S. Glass, issued in a variety of forms from 1897 to 1903. An article in The Pioneer in 1998 by Bob and Carole Bruce says that there were 42 states in the Union by 1903, but a few states from that group have not so far had patterns identified with their names. Only a few of these patterns seem to have been made with open salts, but I have three, from left to right, Washington, Massachusetts in an odd salt/toothpick turn-over combination, and Illinois. (Pic. 1 left)
These three fairly large old pedestal salts may ring some bells. On the left is Jacob's Ladder by Bryce/USG 1885-95, sometimes called Maltese; in the center Tulip with Sawtooth, Bryce, Richards & Co. from around the 1850s; and on the right Buckle, which Ruth Webb Lee says was by Gillinder in the 1870s, also called Banded Buckle and Diamond Rosettes and copied by others. (Pic. 2 right)
From a setting pattern sometimes called Good Luck come these two horseshoe salts, a master and an individual. You may be able to make out the word Luck at the mouth of the larger horseshoe. They were made by O'Hara Glass, circa 1890. (Pic. 3 left)
This large lidded “salt” in the Sawtooth pattern is thought to be the sugar from a child's set, but salt collectors like these because there are so few covered salts. It was made by several New England factories around the 1860s to 1890s, and nobody is sure who made this version. It stands 5 1/2” to the top of its finial and is my tallest “salt.” (Pic. 4 right)
Here are two interesting shapes. The handled one is Scroll with Flowers, although the six-pointed star in the center design and the designs around the rim look vaguely Masonic to me. There is a scroll floating out from the star, and the handles have a floral design. The maker is unknown and it is dated from 1880. Other shapes besides the salt are known such as a mustard pot and egg cup, which this may be. Beside it is another one that only may be a salt, dimensions are so close with individual sugars, sauce dishes, egg cups, to name a few. It is a pattern called variously Viking, Bearded Head, and Old Man by Hobbs, Brockunier, circa 1876. You can see the head on each of the three feet. He certainly has a beard, nicely detailed, and there is an odd sort of head gear that could be a Viking helmet. I really love all these old pieces and marvel when I get one in excellent condition at 100 to 140 years old. (Pic. 5 left)
In painted designs, Mt. Washington, Crown Milano and Wavecrest all made some lovely salts. Many were painted by Smith Bros. Here is a group of four showing all but Wavecrest, which I'm not lucky enough to have found in an affordable example yet. On the left is an individual sized Mt. Washington in the Prunus design, and next to it is a master Mt. Washington in the most popular pansy painted design. These are all made in white glass and painted on the outside in various pastels with flowers added in gold or colors. The salt at the back showing its bottom has a rare Smith Bros. mark, identifying them as the decorators. The salt with four low feet and a swirl pattern in the white glossy finished glass is Crown Milano. All of these date from around 1900. (Pic. 6 right)
Elegant Glass Salts
Moving into the era of elegant glass of the Depression Period, here are three from Cambridge Glass Company. They appear in many salt collections although Cambridge listed them as nut dishes. To my knowledge, only in Candlewick did Cambridge list salt dips, oddly one at 2” and one at 2 1/4”. The larger one is surely a nut dish. In the picture here the blanks are similar though size is slightly different on the one in Cambridge's red called Carmen and the clear one with the Chantilly etch. The shell is Caprice shape in a pink called Royal Tuscan. There are also some Cambridge swans that can be used as salts. (Pic. 7 left)
I haven't included pictures of some of the more easily recognizable shapes like Cambridge Candlewick or Fostoria American although these salts are in my collection. I have omitted salts by more recent glass makers like Boyd, Mosser, L.G. Wright, and Summit, who deal mostly in reproductions. Westmoreland and Degenhart have some nice older salts that are in my collection, but both made newer salts that were basically produced for the flea market trade. As in many other areas, use of molds of salts from older companies and new copies confuse the market.
Porcelain and Pottery Salts
I've shown only two group pictures to give a glimpse into porcelain and pottery salts from well-known companies, many foreign. In porcelain the group shows Noritake in the back row in a shape commonly called celery salt because these were made with a matching larger dish to hold celery. There are surely hundreds of salts marked Noritake or Nippon. Next to it is an English salt from Aynsley China. In the front left to right are Dresden, Meissen, and Royal Copenhagen. (Pic. 8 left)
On the left in the pottery group is a Torquay ware, from the south of England, in a motto salt. The motto reads Oelp yerzel tu salt, not any dialect I recognize! In the center is a Moorcroft small dish with the Anemone design. On the right is a Wedgwood salt with plated rim, judged pre-1890 because it has no England mark. (Pic. 9 right)
There are many utilitarian pottery salts still being made in Europe for use in the kitchen to hold small measured arounts of salt, soda or spices. I often spotted them on the counter in that lovely cooking program from a couple of seasons ago called “Two Fat Ladies.” Martha Stewart offered a glass salt in her line of kitchen ware sold, if I remember right, at Target.
You can see, I think, how salts can lead a collector into many areas of pottery and glass. I hope to do another article one of these days on all the different materials found in salts, where I can include my favorite form, blown glass. Here's a teaser picture for that article! This beautiful canary colored salt is an old one, blown by pipe or mouth into a mold. It fluoresces brightly and rings like a bell. It's probably American from around 1850 and is rare.
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 photos provided for this article are from the personal collection of nvilla or with permission from the owner.
I stumbled across the Wisconsin Pottery Association site one day while Googling for information on a couple of different things. I was looking for information regarding Gouda Pottery, which my son collects, and also for information on the Ceramic Arts Studio which was based in Madison, Wisconsin. My passion is glass, but the amount of information available on this site fascinated me and so I took a stroll through several of the links just kind of browsing around.
The first link I found of interest was GinFor’s Antiques. I’ve known Forest for a while through a different group but the amount of information he has on West German Pottery is astounding. Then I wandered on to the links for the Ohio potteries; what a wealth of information I found here, including a little bit about a sugar bowl I have been trying to ID for some time.
From there I browsed my way though the California Pottery information and finished up reading about the Chipstone Foundation. I’d spent the previous Saturday at the Milwaukee Art Museum and discovered that the Chipstone Foundation had lent the Museum many different pieces displayed in their Decorative Arts exhibits and it was most interesting to be able to read a little more about the foundation that had supported the various types of media found in the exhibits. So take a wander through the links and learn a little more about a lot of different potteries and dinnerware producers—it’s a wonderful way to spend a rainy afternoon. And who knows you may be able to identify that elusive piece of pottery that isn’t marked.
Opalescent glass is one of my favorites. I love the way glass makers kissed the edges, points and patterns with opalescent highlights. I’m also drawn to amber glass; there’s not as much competition for this color in the glass collecting world! When I happened upon a Fenton Cameo nut bowl at a local Goodwill Store about 5 years ago, I was hooked!
I bought the nut bowl to figure out what it was. Sometimes I see a piece of glass that I just have to take home and identify. By the time I determined it was a Fenton Cameo, #847 Nut Bowl, I had grown attached to it and I couldn’t part with it. I have since added about 20 pieces to my collection.
Fenton Cameo amber opalescent is a root beer or caramel colored glass with a creamy beige opalescent treatment. It was produced with very little pattern, other than ribs and panels to define the shapes. I haven’t found any other amber colored or opalescent glass that compares to the richness and elegance of this glass, in my opinion, of course!
Fenton only produced this glass for two years in 1926 and 1927; although references identify a couple of pieces made in 1929 and 1938. There were earlier trials of the color around 1916, but I haven’t located any of those pieces—yet. Fenton reintroduced the color in 1979 and produced it in patterned pieces through 1982. Fenton references identify about 45 different pieces of Cameo made in the 1920s, mostly decorative and serving pieces.
Finding additions to my collection has been a challenge. Many eBay sellers don’t know what it is, describe it only by color and rarely attribute it to Fenton. When it is correctly identified, I’m usually faced with a bidding war or a price outside of my budget! But, searching for amber, peach, pink, tan, brown, beige, caramel (and misspelled as “carmel”) opalescent glass occasionally produces a find for me.
My favorite piece is the 17 inch #1563 Oval Handled Bowl. It was described as an amber glass fruit bowl when I bought it on eBay for $9.00!
My husband wonders why I have duplicate pieces. I think that must happen when the price is right and my resistance is low—but I repeat what a gentleman once told me about tools. When I asked him “How many tools does one need?” his response was “All of them.” That usually ends that discussion, at least until another box arrives in the mail.
While I search for these elusive pieces, I have fun picking up other amber glass and mixing and matching pieces with my Cameo.
The references I use most for Cameo are Whitmyer’s “Fenton Art Glass, 1907-1939” and a couple of amber glass fans in the GPSA and on the PGP Board.
Last month, one of our members wrote about her love of collecting head vases. That got us interested in the head vase market. We were delighted to see this sale. This vase is considered the “holy grail” of head vase collecting by many collectors. It is known as the Teen Love Head Vase. This vase was offered by eBay seller glassrings. It sold for $1,524.99. Our congratulations to glassrings on the fabulous sale! Two other head vases sold for over $1,000 during the same time period—a teenager with sunglasses on top of her head and another wearing a heart shaped necklace.
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!
- Using Cardboard Strips - Cardboard strips can be used in many ways for packing. To keep items from shifting, cut cardboard strips slightly larger than the width and length of your box. Bend the ends to form tabs. Tape these to the top of your wrapped item. Put the items in the packing box and tape the tabs to the sides of the box.
- When packing multiple items such as glasses, cups, vases, etc., put cardboard strips between the items to keep them from moving or touching each other.
- If you have a super color you want to capture in transparent glass, try photographing in front of a window, but tape a piece of wrapping tissue on the window first. A clear acrylic riser is great for using as a platform so the piece is silhouetted against the paper. A sliding patio door is good for this, as you won’t have to deal with a smaller window frame in the way.
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!
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The following eBay sellers became GPSA members in September 2004. As members of the GPSA, they have committed to upholding the standards of the Glass & Pottery Sellers’ Association.
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