Saturday, September 27, 2008

Finding a Mark on Leaded Crystal

This Lalique Bird Vase of one of four affordable Lalique Vases in the 31 Marketplace.

Before you invest in good leaded crystal glass, it's a good idea to handle many high quality pieces and become familiar with the weight and designs of the better ones. It's easy to get fooled today, and we don't want to let that happen to us.

Good leaded crystal can have marks, and it's a good idea to become acquainted with them. Often, all clear glass looks alike, but it isn’t. In your study, these differences will become apparent.

It would seem easy to say, all that's necessary to recognize this quality glass is to look at the bottom of each piece to see the mark. But truth is, there's an influx of what I call "copycat" pieces on the market today, and unless you're familiar with marks, you could be fooled.

Some of the best cut glass that was ever produced is marked. At a house sale, I often have taken a piece from one room to another trying to get just the right light on a glass item so that I could pick up that faintest piece of a mark, such as a Lalique, Steuben, or Baccarat mark, and even cut glass. I've often had difficulty finding one.

These companies usually marked their pieces by acid etching the mark or by signing them with an electric marking process. Often these marks are almost invisible to the naked eye with out proper lighting or magnification.

Once at an estate sale, I spotted a huge frosted glass frog sitting on a card table. I must have picked it up and put it back when I couldn't find a mar on the bottom, just like scores of other people did, during the day. I searched the rest of the sale a while and didn't find anything, but my mind wouldn’t let me forget that frog.

I went back to the room where the frog was and examined it once again from top to bottom. Even though this frog seemed so special, I still couldn't come up with anything. I put it back and headed to my car. Before I opened the door, I stopped dead in my tracks. That darn frog was bothering me, so I went back into the house, picked the blasted thing up and told myself I was going to find that mark or it's going to kill me. Believe it or not, there it was, as clear as day -- "Lalique." I immediately took it to the check out and the woman told me $25. I paid very quickly, before I could crack a smile or bust out laughing.

Once I started the research, I discovered that this little frog was quite valuable. I put it on eBay. It was hard to wait so many days for the auction to end, but it finally did and I netted $625 for myself.

There are a lot of people that don’t know the rare pieces made by these companies from the common ones. When you do, it will give you a tremendous advantage over them. Stay with the best names in the clear glass, because the copycats, as I have called them, have very little value in the secondary markets.

A lot of glass is also overpriced, and this is where discipline is needed. Don’t ever over pay for anything you buy, even if you can make a small profit. At the 31 Club, we set our goals at doubling the price we pay for each item, at the very least. And remember, look carefully for a mark. Make sure you bring a pen light and have a magnifying tool with you. And -- become familiar with those rare items that may not be marked.

Be sure to visit our web site for more information about how you can register for membership in the 31 Club and start becoming an expert buyer and seller.

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