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Trophy Agates

Three trophy agate marblesSeveral hand-faceted agate marbles in my collection have a flat area ground into their surface. Why would anyone vandalize these prized marbles of old?

The obvious answer is that somebody did not want the marble to roll anymore. That strikes me as sacrilegious, like permanently clipping the wings of a bird.

It then dawned upon me that this was not an act of vandalism, but a careful and deliberate act of veneration.

I call these marbles trophy agates. Their flat spot indicates special attention paid by its owner. It also proves these marbles were retired from active duty, but not thrown into a drawer and forgotten. Instead, they were modified to be displayed and admired, perhaps on a desk, workbench or mantle.

These were prized shooters and lucky marbles, some no doubt passed down from generation to generation. Their scars tell of countless battles fought, won, and lost. Most were likely trophies in the common sense of a prized memento; others were trophies from playing for keeps.

At some point in their history these cherished trophies lost their prominence. As their caretakers passed away, these marbles were tossed into junk drawers and shoe boxes, all but forgotten for decades, until they surfaced again in a family estate sale.

If you’re lucky you might find one of these tiny monuments. When I do, I place them on my mantle and restore them to their rightful place. If their owners had not vandalized them, I would never have known how special they were.

That’s not something you will hear a collector saying about any other type of marble.

Three trophy agate marbles displayed

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In his youth, the Emperor Augustus was reported to have played a game like marbles with Moorish boys.