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Carnival Treasures

The heading for this segment reflects the name used by American Carnival Glass Club for their color insert included with each quarterly newsletter mailed to their members. Various writers over the years have contributed their time, knowledge, and photos to the success and continuing use of this medium to provide highlighted information about the “treasures” connected to this obsession we all share.

Just as these iridized items we call Carnival Glass is considered by all of us to be “treasure”, so must we be grateful for the human element of treasure, which lends life and memory to all that we extend in promotion of the glass itself.

Byron Rinehart passed away  March 26, 1994. Grace continues to write her human interest stories for nearly all the Club newsletters from time to time. Together, they gathered a museum-quality-collection which to this day is unequalled in its content! When collectors can casually mention their red Holly plate, white Butterfly and Berry pitcher, and more “kitty-cat things than anyone else,” you are given to understand that they  have known what to collect for a very long time!

Ruth Schinestuhl of New Jersey, first wrote this story for ACGA following Grace & Byron's  54th wedding anniversary, celebrated in 1990,  having treasured each other for every one of those years!  We feel it is a story worth repeating. None of us can fully appreciate the present and the future, unless we honor the past., and those who have helped create the current pleasures we all enjoy!

We have known the Rineharts personally since the early `80's, have visited them several times, and recall vividly, the pride with which they showed us this highlighted vase, along with that spectacular red Holly plate, which to date, NO amount of money has been able to purchase from them~~not even the prime Holly collector himself, who has tried valiantly!

We sincerely hope you enjoy this “thumbnail sketch” of two famously popular WV collectors who have extended themselves and their collection to numerous visitors to their home. (Grace has the filled guestbook signatures to prove that!)

The Rinehart collection began when Grace spent $5.00 of her birthday money on a green Grape and Cable piecrust edge bowl. She hid it in a bureau drawer for awhile because she felt funny spending so much on an old dish. They have been participating members of ACGA since 1965. They attended their first Convention in Akron, Ohio in 1966. Byron served as Club President, Vice-Pres., and both have served on the Board. They have chaired souvenir committees and taken charge of responsibilities surrounding the hospitality room for several conventions. They are members of the ACGA Hall of Fame. Their firm support of carnival glass placed their membership with a great many carnival glass clubs around the world.

When visiting their home, Grace's love of kitty cat things is revealed as you look at the Fenton cats of all colors sitting beneath those handsome funeral vases on the mantel. Their vast collection of Kittens  carnival glass pieces is probably the largest in existence. It includes two KITTENS SPITTOONS - ONE IN MARIGOLD AND ONE IN BLUE.   They have created entire convention room displays composed of  just that pattern alone, for the enjoyment of attendees.

They have contributed to community efforts as well. Preservation of a West Virginia one-room school was of prime interest. Byron recalled his own experience in a one room schoolhouse, having to take a two day test at the age of 11 to qualify to enter high school. He did well and entered high school at the age of 12. Some of the many activities involved for the preservation group were to raise money to have the structure moved to a state park, the legalities of such an undertaking, and helping to set up the building in its new location.  A plaque displayed  at the completed project reads: “Part of the Past Preserved for the Future.”

One featured piece is an average amethyst  LONG THUMBPRINTS  vase. The reason this is part of their collection doesn't become apparent until you look at the base. When made at the Fenton factory some 90 years ago, a glass maker placed an Indian Head penny (1899) in the middle of the base.

Long Thumbprint vases in jack-in-the-pulpit shape are pretty scarce but are known in amethyst and marigold. The regular vases in this pattern can be found in malls and flea markets in heights of up to 12” in amethyst, green, marigold and an olive shade of green, most at very nominal prices. There are four rows of thumbprints around the trunk. Shorter vases sell for a bit more than the taller versions.

The pair of  red  8” FLORENTINE CANDLESTICKS by Fenton are also found in the Rinehart collection. At a time during the late 1960's, before carnival glass collecting had attained the large numbers of collectors found today, theirs was among the top ten collections in the United States. There remains no equal! In asking Grace to approve use of this storyline, her comment was, “ We never bought a single piece with only the idea that it was rare. We did buy some pieces at auction, if  we felt it was not bringing enough money!” She follows with: “It's a shame that a lot of the medium-priced Glass is not appreciated today.”

The KITTENS pieces are loosely called "miniatures". Banana dishes, or card trays, have two sides flared upwards. They are known in amethyst, blue, and what is called powder blue, along with marigold and vaseline.  Toothpicks stand 2-2 ½" tall and are found in marigold and blue. Vases extend to 3" in height and are more cylindrical in shape, having a slightly flared opening.

A flat plate in the Kittens pattern is 4 ½" in diam., known in amethyst, powder blue, and marigold. Cups and Saucers are usually found in marigold, but on occasion, we have seen examples of the individual pieces in amethyst and blue, as well.  Tri-Corner whimsey shapes are attractive variations of the saucer. Cereal bowls are round, about 3 ½" across, four ruffle bowls of 4 ½" are to be found in amethyst, aqua, blue, marigold and vaseline.

Six ruffle bowls of the same size are known in blue and marigold. Amethyst is a rare color for Kittens, blue is difficult. Most Kittens pieces have four sets of kittens; some have only two sets.
Note: A marigold KITTENS SPITTOON sold at auction in 2003 for $1100~~with a chip on the base. - A photo of this piece appears on the www. website should you care to take a look.

These pieces exemplify what their collection is like. When  Rineharts  add a piece to their collection, it is special, and you can expect it to remain in their possession. They are not likely to part with any of it.
Grace continues to stay in touch with hundreds of longtime associates in the Carnival Glass world, just as she has always done, sending cards for all occasions, and dozens of letters go out on a daily basis. This great lady regularly spends as much on postage, as some collectors do on a piece of glass. This devotion is testimony to her love of everyone, and as she emphasized in our phone conversation:

“The sweetest treasures of all, are the collectors themselves.”

Grace & Byron Rinehart
Grace & Byron Rinehart
Grace & Byron Rinehart with one of their Kittens displays at a convention.
Grace & Byron Rinehart with one of their Kittens displays at a convention.
A standard Long Thumbprints vase by Fenton
Fenton Amethyst LONG THUMBPRINT vase-11 in. tall
1899 Indian Head Penny
Fenton Amethyst LONG THUMBPRINT  vase-11 in. tall
8 in. Red Fenton Florentine Candlesticks
KITTENS Toothpick
8 in. Red Fenton Florentine Candlesticks
KITTENS Toothpick
KITTENS Cup & Sauce
Kittens Tri-Corner Whimsey
KITTENS Cup & Saucer
Kittens Tri-Corner Whimsey
Guess you could call this a Kitten Cup & Saucer too (smile).
Three Dancing Kittens

Dean & Diane Fry ~~ 3/04

“Your love for your neighbor
is proof of your love for God.”

Should you care to contact the Frys, their email address is:

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