Posting Number 3353 Date: 02/03/20 Return to Posting List
Since you asked for contributions and recollections of members' introduction to Carder Steuben, I'll add my reminiscences. When working in Washington in 1969, I was invited to a party in the Maryland countryside, and the kitchen of this old farmhouse was lined with cupboards that left a foot or two gap between their tops and the ceiling. Packed densely were colored glass vases, bowls, and candlesticks - perhaps a hundred in number, all dusty and coated with cooking grease. I was told by the hosts, a young couple, that they were all Steuben Glass, inherited from a grandmother. (Oh, to have been blessed with such a grandmother's largess..!).
ÿNow, as one raised in upstate New York, I knew of Steuben Glass (and still have family in that county). It had always been the de rigueur gift for any wedding, anniversary, or graduation (though, alas, what graduate today would want that rather than a new iPhone...?). So, in response, I declared that it could not be Steuben, as I knew of only clear crystal from Corning.
By 1976 I was in the other Washington, and was in a great auction house in Seattle, looking at the items for next Monday evening's auction.
There I saw an amber vase (#2909), at 14 inches and marked with an acid STEUBEN. Mr. know-it-all was again expostulating to the auction house worker that this could not possibly be Steuben, because it was colored, and Steuben is clear crystal. Standing next to me at the display case and viewing the items up for auction was an imperious woman, Mildred, and she proceeded to set me straight, saying: "Young man! I suggest you purchase a book by Paul Gardner, and you will discover that this is indeed Steuben". (I can still hear her admonishment!) Both chastised and intrigued, I made the book purchase, and read it cover to cover before the Monday auction. I was fascinated and absolutely hooked, to the point that I successfully secured that #2909 amber vase, my first piece of Carder glass, and his great oeuvre remains my weakness to this day.
At that time, Seattle was a hotbed of Carder Steuben, there being three or four very wealthy and experienced collectors in the vicinity, and with the ready-made market, Carder glass from across the country gravitated to the Seattle shops - oh, for those old brick and mortar stores!
Those local dealers were my great Carder educators, to the point that I became spoiled with the breadth and scarcity of pieces available. In one, in particular, I might suddenly find three Florentia pieces and a pink and blue lace glass vase, one week, and then a recently arrived ACB vase and red Aurene lamp the next week, to replace the previous week's prizes that had already disappeared into the hands of local collectors within the week.
ÿThat education and exposure to the real thing is no longer there to school the novice. For Tom and Jerry, plus a local dealer I still see on the Antiques Roadshow, I owe an educational debt I can never repay. And as my collection grew, I vowed to make my pieces available for viewing, to pass along the exposure I was given in my early collecting days. One of my earliest visitors was Paul Gardner who gave me encouragement to continue my meager collection, and was impressed that I had already managed to secure an Edison plaque, an item which he said that even he did not possess.
Regards to my fellow addicts,
Click to view image one: 2909.jpeg
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