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Rediscovering Cats-Eye Marbles

Cats-eyes can be beautifulDespite the intial "Wow!" factor when cats-eye marbles first flooded America in the 1950s, within 20 years the entire world of marbles had seemingly drowned in tidal waves of generic, green-tinted cats-eye marbles. If you saw one you saw them all, so naturally nobody really cared to play for keeps with them.

Undoubtedly, cats-eyes quickly became the slingshot ammunition of choice.

But here and there some nice varieties popped out of various foreign and domestic factories. Recently as I dug through the 54lbs of marbles that I purchased (more than half of which were cats-eyes), I found some real gems. And as I peered at these in the sunlight, I began to rediscover the beauty of cats-eye marbles.

Good cats-eyes have a strangely organic vitality to them, like ancient bugs trapped in amber; others look like leaves or exotic fungi. Some are like wispy butterflies trapped mid-flight in a dream, while others look like colorful blowing ribbons frozen in time. They don't all have names and this adds to the mystique.

So here is what I suggest: If you have a portion of the world's inexaustible supply of cats-eyes, take them outside on a nice day and start letting the sunlight guide you back into the real beauty of some of these marbles.

You may also want to bring your slingshot along, just in case.Cats-eye Marbles Side View

4 Responses to “Rediscovering Cats-Eye Marbles”

  1. Tom Says:

    Nice one! I just love this lot of cats, you take some great shots, I will try and take some pics of some of my favourate cats and email them to you some time soon.

  2. admin Says:

    Thanks, Tom! I have to credit my father, who is retired and a former US Navy photographer, for taking the pictures. It is really hard to capture the beauty of these because the camera tends to highlight the otherwise small flaws depending on the light source. I’m eager to see your pictures. I’ve got a few St. Mary’s that weren’t shown in this bunch and I know there are some really nice multicolor hybrids out there.

  3. darbi Says:

    Hi I’m Darbi, I recently got a box of my grandfathers marbles. I have been researching trying to find out what I have. I know I have handmade cat’s eyes and so many more. Trying to find a place in kc, mo to have someone help me figure out what I have. If you have anyone in the kc area who is willing to help me let me know please and thanks

  4. George Says:

    Hi Tom, nice story and information. I love marbles, have been collecting marbles since I was a kid. Where can I purchase 45lbs. of marbles? I have purchased them, but in small bags. Any information will be appreciated. Thanks.

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'Wet mint' describes a marble that looks as new as the day it was made, so shiny it looks wet.