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CINDERELLA COMES OF AGE
The late Don Moore wrote articles about Carnival Glass up until the time of his passing in the early `90s. He was a great supporter of our efforts with getting the San Diego Club up and going. We feel privileged to have been a part of the California scene during the time when Don was at his height of interest in promotion of Carnival Glass.
His humor and straightforward approach was key to his personality! He did have “a way about him”. An early meeting with him at an auction in Burlingame, CA brought this direct reply when he asked what we had come to buy? What that piece was, escapes me now, but I'll NEVER forget his jovial response, i.e. “That's MOST unfortunate because that is what I have come to buy!” And buy it he did! (smile)
For years he smilingly chided me with this: “I can always steer my Northern friends away from what I intend to purchase (at auction), but I have no control over what you are going to do!”(referring to Diane). On the other hand, his generosity could be overwhelming. During a long ago HOACGA Convention auction staged by Tom Burns and Company, the room was filled to overflow capacity, with Don and Connie on one side against the wall, and Dean & I on the opposite side of the room. We were throwing bids at a gorgeous Christmas Compote. Then a bid was tossed into the arena from across the room. This went on for some distance when Don stood up, asked to see the compote, and in the process, asked who was bidding? When told it was the Fry's, he sat down and bid no more! That was nice of him, since this was our first attempt to purchase one, and at that time in his collecting career, he may possibly have already owned and sold a few. (smile)
He was instrumental in my speaking before the Northern California Convention in 1988, further indicating his determination that all four Clubs in the great State of California SHOULD work together. In recent years, the San Joaquin Club has joined the Northern Club for successful Conventions. Don would be very pleased about this development, as well.
Don was the gentleman who had introduced me and the existence of the newest Club in San Diego while we were in the ICGA Business Meeting -July 1985. We had held the initial San Diego meeting in June 1985.
On the occasion, when he and Connie were down from the San Francisco area to present a program called, The Basics of Shape and Color, a 90 minute video tape was recorded of this Sept. 1986 meeting. That Club meeting was attended by 83; a remarkable number, when we consider that some current Conventions have slightly more than 100 attendees present!
Don and Robert Grissom, Pres. of HOACGA had come to some disagreement about HOACGA taking possession of Don's writings to publish a book to benefit HOACGA. Don reclaimed his articles and published the book we display the cover of here. He requested that the book be introduced at our Club meeting, so we made arrangements for that, sending out notices to that effect in order for attendance to be as great as possible.
Early that Sunday morning before the Meeting, Dean & I held a breakfast at our home for the Moore's and any of the local and visiting members who cared to attend. Don and Dean were talking about things in general after we had eaten that morning. Among other topics, the problem of getting advanced collectors to sit down and write about the Glass, in order to encourage new interest. (Dean was telling me about the conversation later.) He said he asked Don who he felt would carry on and continue his dedication to that task after he was gone? Don quickly replied, “Why, Diane will!” Diane has and will continue to do so as long as I draw breath! Don was an inspiration to many collectors, and so it is in his memory, that I devote this tribute, using his former article as a basis. History repeats itself in many different ways.
All monies derived from sale of the Butler Brothers Reprints we compiled and sold in 1994, plus proceeds from an auction of carnival glass we listed in Fallbrook, CA, just north of San Diego, which Dean personally auctioned off at a Club meeting, finally provided sufficient funds to stage our first Combined Convention with the Southern California Club in March 1995.
The “tip” about that available collection came from the kind and helpful Frank M. Fenton!
Sadly, Don had passed away some three years earlier, but had he still been among the crowd, he very likely would have been our initial Banquet Speaker. As it was, Jerry & Carol Curtis presented a tremendous program for a large crowd of nearly 200!
With the progress made from writing regularly in periodicals; i.e. articles for Club newsletters, glass magazines, etc., we are developing a regular scheme of inserts for this www.carnivalglass101.com site. As Dean takes the pictures, and I write up the postings each week, my mind drifts back to subjects covered in articles written by others over the years, as with this one written by Don in 1990, not too long before his passing.
The gist of his written content discusses the “rags to riches” story of how the formerly snubbed and at times maligned, Carnival Glass we all love, has finally gained favor and respectability! Indeed! “Cinderella came of age and into her own.” One of the most fascinating factors surrounding this glass is that people either really like it or they do not. There seems to be little or no middle ground of toleration for it.
When the first Carnival was made by the Fenton Art Glass Co., Williamstown, WV in 1907, it was a hit. It was bright and attractive, and also cheap. The art glass it was made to resemble was too far out of reach for the average housewife, but this new and colorful iridized glass was in a price range affordable to most anyone who liked it. True enough; some of the early Carnival left a lot to be desired, and many people, dealers included could only think of it as “that orange stuff”. Their eye could not encompass the wide range of colors and quality items which command “Tiffany” prices today. It is this category of Carnival which is in such demand by an ever increasing cadre of collectors.
It doesn't have to be a rare or expensive piece to be beautiful and appreciated!
$125 will still buy a stunning bowl, compote or small plate.
A part of the allure and ever increasing popularity of Carnival is the fact that it is truly a slice of Americana. It was copied and imitated by England, Sweden, Australia and a host of other countries but it is strictly an American phenomenon and a tribute to our turn of the century artisans. If there ever was a “poor boy makes good” story, this has got to be it. Frank L. Fenton really created a winner!
As we bear in mind that the earliest pieces of Carnival Glass are approaching their century mark, organized hobby/collecting has broadened its interests into cyberspace. Imagine that! Even Don would be amazed at the expanded scope of maturity and acceptance we have managed in the years since his passing.
Mrs. Hartung published her first book on Carnival in 1960 and her first price guide in 1962. The first collectors' clubs were formed in the same time frame. Twenty-five or thirty years is nothing in the life of most collectibles. We've come a long way in a very short period of time. And who's to say? This may just be the beginning. Most satisfying of all is the fact that we no longer need to apologize for being Carnival Glass Collectors!
Cinderella may have lost her glass slipper, but in the process, has brought us to search for ever brighter and increasingly interesting objects of delight!
Here we list prices realized for the ten examples in Don's original article of 1990.
It will be interesting to see whether Cinderella has stubbed her toe over the past 15 years. Let's take a look.
01. Amethyst Honeycomb and Hobstar vase. Sold at auction in July 1987 for $6500. (Don is the one who
dubbed this vase a Millersburg production when he purchased it in 1987.) (Please see our article on the
subject. You may locate it from the Alphabet letters provided on our Home Page. Just click on H. )
Two were purchased in an Ohio auction - 2004 - for $20,000 the pair.
02. Sapphire Peacock and Urn master ice cream bowl (Northwood). Sold privately for $9500 in July 1989.
One sold at auction in 2003 for $10,099.
03. Aqua Opal Acorn Burrs punch set (Northwood). A bowl and base with no cups and minor damage sold for
19,000 privately in 1989. Dean & I had seen this complete set sitting on the dining room buffet of
Hartung's home in Kansas along about 1983, discovering later from previous visitors that few had ever
been invited into her private quarters to see her precious collection. When entering her front door, you were
taken directly down to the basement from the front hall where the “glass for sale” was located. This
approach bypassed her living quarters entirely. Don Moore acquired the set which had belonged to Mrs.
Hartung and at Don's passing, the set was reported sold for more than $30,000.
04. Aqua Opal Poppy Show plate (Northwood). This plate sold for $15,000 in 1989 and resold privately for
$20,000 several months later.
Two sold over e-Bay in 2004.--- $25,099 and $27,878.
05. Green Mitered Ovals vase (Millersburg). Sold at auction in April 1990 for $4,500.
One sold in 1999 at auction for $6,250.
06. Amethyst Peacock and Urn chop plate (Millersburg), Sold privately for $5,000 in 1987. Would bring twice
that if offered today.
A marigold Peacock and Urn chop plate in radium sold for $16,000 in 2003. There is only one known
07. Green Thistle plate (Fenton). Sold at auction March 1990 for $3,000.
$3250-1999, $4000 and $4400 in 2003, with an electric green one selling at auction in 2001 for $6300.
08. Blue Lily of the Valley water pitcher (Fenton). Sold at auction April 1990 for $4000.
A pitcher and 6 tumblers sold for $5000 in 2003. We have seen this set. It is perfect and fantastic, and
should bring twice that figure in a large auction. A pitcher alone, of this caliber has sold for $6000. A pitcher
with a crack at the handle brought $1600 in April 2005.
09. Aqua Opal Grape and Cable pie crust edge bowl (Northwood). Sold at auction for $3000 in 1988 and
privately for $3500 in March 1990.
$2900 -1999, $3750 - 2000, $1600 - 2001, $3000 - 2002 and $1100 in 2003. Prices reflect condition of
10. Aqua Opal Three Fruits plate (Northwood). Sold at auction July 1988 for $3750.
Many have sold since 1999, ranging from $3300 to $7500, depending upon condition. (Chips, cracks, poor
Looks as though Cinderella is still tripping the “light fantastic”…………with or without her slipper. (smile)
“ Iridescence Is The Essence”! That's what Carnival Glass is all about! Not rarity and not price!
Collecting Carnival Glass for the joy of looking at it, rather than the prestige of what that consists of should be the endeavor- the mark of a TRUE collector.
The 100th Anniversary Fenton Catalog displays a delectable array of the glass slippers they have become famous for over the past 100 years. Should you care to investigate, the Fenton Gift Shop can be reached: 1-800-319-7793 to purchase a Collector's Copy at $9.50. It comes with a price list and order form.
Diane Fry - 6-05
Should you care to contact the Frys, their email address is:
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