I receive quite a bit of email at What’s Up? Publishing. While many readers write to me about the general content of our publications I also receive specific questions about antiques inspired by my monthly antique column.
I usually set those questions aside with the intent to answer them later. This particular photograph arrived in my inbox several months ago and I was struck by the remarkable similarity of the look of this tumbler to Moser glass. The Moser Glass Company was founded in the mid nineteenth century in Bohemia. Nowadays we call that part of Europe the Czech Republic. The problem is that Moser Glass is hand blown , gorgeous cut crystal. The tumbler in the photograph is molded glass, meaning the glass gets its shape from a mold. It does have beautiful heavy gold decoration reminiscent of Moser Glass.
After pouring through a number of reference books and searching online as well as searching my memory banks, thinking back on all the decorated glassware I’ve seen over the years–I’ve come to the conclusion that the green glass tumbler is very likely early 20th century, Eastern European, and created in imitation of the more costly Moser Glass. As to value– a single one of these glasses would retail in an antique shop for approximately $35. A set is always more valuable and can increase the worth of the individual glasses (presuming they are all in excellent condition with no chips or wear to the decoration) by as much as 25%.
My initial interest in Moser glass started quite by chance when I owned an antique shop. Often at auctions, groups of items are put together in a box lot. Among my box lot purchases with an interesting piece of glass- a narrow neck vase that varied in shade from deep green to clear crystal. The body was engraved with a floral motif. Averaging out the cost of the various items in the box I estimated the vase cost us one dollar.
I put $35 on the price tag, feeling proud of how much profit I’d make when the vase sold. It sat in the shop. No one was interested. My father-in-law suggested raising the price. I changed the price to $68 and still it sat on the shelf.
One day, while redesigning our window display, I decided to put the vase in the window in a prominent position. Maybe this time it would sell!
Sure enough, I arrived at the store one afternoon and one of my sale clerks told me how someone had seen it in the window and hurriedly bought it, asking very few questions.
That fall I was exhibiting for the first time at an antique show in Washington D.C. The dealer across from our booth looked at the name of our shop, “Rare and Beautiful Things.” He told me, ” I think I purchased a piece of Moser glass from your shop this past summer. I sold it quickly to a collector.”
I took a look in his booth. He had several pieces of Moser. The least expensive piece was $600. Maybe I hadn’t made the huge profit on my one dollar purchase that I thought. However, he showed me where to look for the etched signature on the bottom of the glass. (My piece had been signed and I didn’t even know it.) So I learned a great deal and I certainly got a fair return on my dollar.
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