You open your china cabinet or breakfront and realize you have more glassware than you’ll ever use. Should you store it somewhere? Sell it? Is it your grandmother’s crystal? What is it worth? If you plan to sell your crystal glassware, here are a few things you need to know first:
Is It Real Crystal?
Before you think about selling your heirlooms, you need to determine whether your glassware is truly crystal or just cut glass. Finding out who the manufacturer is, the age of the pieces, and whether it’s rare are important factors as well.
Tests to Tell the Authenticity
There are a few tests to know whether you own authentic leaded crystal. First, hold it up to sunlight. Sunlight will create a rainbow as it passes through, acting like a prism. The next test is the “sound” test. Real crystal will make a ringing sound when lightly tapped just under the rim of the glass with a spoon. If it just “thunks”, it’s glass. Another test for sound is this: Run a wet finger around the rim of your stemware or bowl. Glass will not make a noise, while crystal will ring or sound musical.
The final test is the weight test. Because of its lead content, genuine crystal always weighs more than glass. In addition, crystal is usually made much thinner.
Identify the Marks
After ascertaining your glassware is truly crystal, the next way to determine its value is to identify where and when it was made. In order to discover the manufacturer, turn over the bowl, vase, or glass and look at the bottom. There is often an acid-etched mark, a sticker, or a symbol on the base which can help you figure out who made it.
Go online or check in a book of crystal identification to compare if you find a logo or symbol. For example, to identify Fostoria crystal, look for a stylized “F”. Waterford may have an image of a seahorse on a sticker or an etching of the full Waterford name.
Does your crystal bowl or vase have a pattern carved in it? Even if you haven’t found a manufacturer’s mark, knowing the pattern may help determine its age or who made the crystal. There may be a pattern name on the bottom of the piece. If so, you can use that to figure everything out, which will lead you to knowing the value.
If there is no name or mark on the bottom of the crystal piece, make a rubbing of the pattern. Just lay a piece of tissue paper over the bowl and rub with a pencil. Compare the pattern to photos in books or online. If you can see the pattern clearly, taking a picture may work also.
The best way to determine value – especially if you are unable to identify the manufacturer – is to talk with Showplace Estate Buyers. It is their job to recognize patterns and makers, know the value of pieces, and even help you sell your collection.
Showplace Estate Buyers can help you with your crystal collection. Call today!
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