I have not posted in quite a while so here are a couple of interesting recent items from the marble collecting world.
In July 2015, a Peltier collector paid $5,600 for a single comic picture marble featuring Smitty, a comic strip character popular in the early- and mid-20th century. If you are wondering why anyone would pay that much for a blue 5/8" marble with a smudged looking transfer of a comic strip character who retired in 1973, you don't know Peltheads. Peltier collectors are ravenous and there just aren't enough Pelts to go around. In this case I suspect they fought so hard for this marble due to its extremely rare blue and red color combo. Personally I have no interest in the comic marbles which is another way of saying I am not a true Pelthead, but I sure wish I had a few to trade.
Also in July, a lucky person purchased 765 Akro Agate Sparkler marbles from an estate sale. Sparklers are scarce and rank among the prettiest and most colorful machine-made marbles of the 20th century. You could call them cats-eyes from another dimension. I can't remember this many being found at once. A few gems from this trove have already trickled onto eBay, leaving collectors salivating for the next batch.
In September, Morphy Auctions will host another auction featuring toys, marbles, and dolls. No online catalog yet, but as always expect to see some amazing marbles.
Morphy Auctions will be featuring a fantastic assortment of marbles for auction on May 30th and 31st, 2015. The lots include many beautiful and unique handmade marbles, such as the 2 3/8" transparent banded swirl pictured here, which has a pre-auction estimate upper range of US$10,000.
Also included in this auction is a rare American sulphide political novelty marble made for the McKinley presidential campaign by the J.H. Leighton and Co. glass factory using ceramics from the American Marble & Toy Co.
With so many lots in this auction, you might get lucky if you can register now and bid online.
You can also view the digital catalog online but the photos are not as high-resolution as the online catalog. The digital catalog also offers a PDF download option (bottom left icons in the flipbook).
California, here it comes, the ninth annual Orange County Marble Show featuring a wealth of antique and contemporary glass art marbles.
Saturday, March 21, is the big day of the show starting at 9 AM through 3 PM. Be there early if you want dibs on the mibs!
This year's venue is the same:
For room reservations, call (714) 626-7830
The Center Ballroom on the ground floor will be the location of the 43 vendor tables.
Contact Rich Shelby at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, and be sure to spread the word and remember this is California's only big marble show. Even if you do not collect vintage marbles, there are many glass artists offering unique, beautiful works of glass art that make exceptional gifts.
As a lover of chocolate and of marbles, I was delighted to stumble upon these marble truffles by French Chef Yves Thuries at my local Costco warehouse. I promptly purchased them as part of an office white elephant gift exchange, secretly hoping I might win them back.
According to the box, Mr. Thuries created these truffles with inspiration from the marbles of his childhood. They are very round and polished, measuring about 15/16". From a marble collector's perspective they resemble a mix between the 19th-century polished foil clay marbles and the more recent Vacor de Mexico "Galaxy" marbles.
It turns out the co-worker who won these truffles was not a big eater of sweets, and the box ended up in the office lunch room. We quickly consumed the delicious chocolates and I managed to keep the box for myself as a new storage container for my 1" marbles.
This fascinating article from Harper's Young People describes marbles as they existed in America in 1883.
It brings up the sad reality that child labor in Germany made these marbles so affordable to Americans. 30 years later, early American marble manufacturers would appeal to Congress to raise tariffs in order to compete with the cheap German labor.
Today when we say "marbles" we generally mean glass marbles, but in 1883 marbles were alleys and glass marbles were novelties:
Then comes a very large and beautiful class or variety of alleys known as "glass marbles."
It also mentions contemporary nicknames for German-made marbles, such as the "snow-flake" which based on the image appears to be either a cloud or mica marble.
This article had me asking myself why don't we spell "pee-wee" as they used to, "pea-wee"? As the author says of them:
They are comical little chaps no larger than a good-sized marrowfat pea.