Depression glass was mass produced during the 1920s through the 1950s and was marketed mainly in five-and-dime stores. It is now such a popular item among collectors that many imitations exist — and it’s not always easy to tell the difference. Seven different companies manufactured Depression glassware, but none of them imprinted an identifying maker’s mark on the items. Fortunately, there are some good indications that Depression glassware may be authentic. Following are three things that you should consider when purchasing Depression glass.
Signs of Wear
Depression glass was made to be used, and that means that many authentic pieces will show considerable signs of wear. Because it was made from thick glass, it did not chip or break easily, but it was easily scratched. Examine the surface carefully for telltale scratches before making a financial commitment to purchasing any given piece. Although the absence of scratch marks does not necessarily mean that the piece is a fake, it’s rare for a well-used piece of Depression glass to be completely scratch-free. Most Depression glass was produced during the Great Depression and was heavily because it was inexpensive and plentiful.
History of the Seller
If you see Depression glass among the items for sale during an estate liquidation, the chances are fairly good that it’s the real deal, particularly if the inventory of items come from the private home of someone who has lived there for a long time. A significant amount of the remaining Depression glass in the U.S. is still among the families of those who first purchased it during the height of its popularity. The estate liquidation company should be able to give you a clear idea of the history of the seller.
Seams and Ripples
One of the surest indications that a piece of Depression glass that you’re interested in purchasing is authentic is if its exterior features seams and/or ripples. Because Depression glass was manufactured cheaply and quickly, vertical raised seams often developed along the sides of cups and bowls. Ripples are frequently found on the bottom of some Depression glass and were the result of the erosion of aging factory molds.
None of the preceding things are sure indications that a piece of Depression glass is authentic, but they are good places to start. Although rare, it’s possible for a piece of Depression glass to be completely scratch free and feature no ripples or seams. If you have doubts or questions about the authenticity of any given piece, contacting a professional who provides antique appraisal services is recommended.