Friday, August 29, 2008

The Marks of Quality: Steuben Glass

Steuben Cintra Bowl is offered at 31 Gallery & Marketplace

by Daryle Lambert

Steuben is one of my favorite glass companies and because the mark is often difficult to find, these fantastic pieces are often overlooked by dealers. If you are prepared and have a comprehensive knowledge of the different patterns in Steuben, this won't happen to you and the next story of a great discovery of Steuben may well be yours.

Steuben Can Be in Marked Several Ways:

An acid etched clover-like mark with a ribbon running through it with “Steuben” written in the ribbon. This mark was used from 1903 – 1932.

The same clover-like mark in relief with “calcite” written on the ribbon. This was used from 1915-1932. These marks are rather small and can be easily overlooked.
Steuben also used “Aurene” or “Steuben Aurene” on its pieces from 1904 – 1932. Often you will find lamp shades with these marks.

All Steuben should have ground pontils (The bottom circle where the glass rod is snapped off from the pieces and polished smooth.)

Steuben should ring when you flick it with your finger nail. All good crystal will ring like this, and this simple test is a good test of quality.

The great thing about Steuben is there was a lot of it made so your chances of stumbling upon it are pretty good. Steuben also made many different types of glass, and in the early days, much of it was colored. Today, the modern pieces are usually clear.

Steuben was founded by one of the true pioneers of Art Glass, Frederick Carder. If you find pieces with “Carder” marked on them, you have found a real treasure. Not too long ago, I found a Steuben piece in a basement and purchased it for $20. I still have it, because my wife wouldn't let me sell it until now, and today it is listed in our market place.

To give you an idea on some of the values of Steuben, these listings from Kovel’s Price Guide will help. Candlesticks - alabaster stem and green foot $1610; Figurine - Excalibur, sword in stone $2100, Lamp - Acanthus Leaf $2415. I have no idea why Kovel's didn't list more expensive items in their book, but rare Steuben pieces can bring tens of thousands of dollars.

If you'll spend some time getting acquainted with Steuben Glass, you'll be able to spot this fine glass. I especially recommend studying the more rare pieces.

In our Blog a few days ago, our 31 Club Member, Julie, shared a photo of her great Steuben find. Today, it is offered in our Gallery & Marketplace. You can see it here.

Julie did one of the things I think is most important to do to be successful in the Antique, Fine Arts and Collectible business. She bought multiple items. One ended up being the real shining star, while the rest are far above average. The Steuben will sell quickly and more than recoup all of her investment from the entire lot she purchased. She can take some extra time getting a fair price for the others without having her money tied up.

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