Treasures: Glass items in antiques store were actually new
Dear Helaine and Joe:
I am very interested in some satin-glass articles I acquired around 1954 in an antiques store in Kansas. I have been told the glass is in the "Cabbage Leaf" pattern. The items are 6-1/2 inches tall and are unmarked. I understand that glass of this nature is not in great demand, but I would still like to know about my goblets.
There were some wonderfully whimsical Victorian and early-20th-century pressed-glass patterns, and today's collectors can find items such as a butter dish with a bullet-shaped finial and an eagle and shield on the cover or a covered small pitcher with a sleeping-swan finial and a full-figured swan that forms the handle.
There are pieces with squirrels eating nuts, and monkeys -- well, monkeys doing monkey business -- even one with a girl riding a bicycle. In the "Cabbage Leaf" pattern, the body is shaped like three-dimensional cabbage leafs that have well-detailed veins and are stipple or frosted.
The humor is found on the covered pieces that have rabbit heads for finials. For years, no one seemed to know who made this pattern originally, but now it has been identified as the product of the Riverside Glass Works of Wellsburg, W.V.
This company was founded in 1879 and the first glass was produced in 1880. The factory burned down in 1886, but was quickly rebuilt. In the late 19th century, it became part of the National Glass Corp. and was known as "Factory 15." Unfortunately, the company's assets were sold in 1907 when National Glass went bankrupt.
Riverside's most famous pattern is probably "Croesus," but "Cabbage Leaf" is also very important. Collectors of American pressed-pattern glass prize the "Cabbage Leaf" items made by Riverside (probably in the 1880s and 90s), which include a pitcher, a rabbit plate, a compote, a leaf-shaped pickle dish, a celery vase, cake stand, a cup, an egg cup and a covered cheese dish.
But alas, no goblets in this pattern were ever made by Riverside. These had to wait for the L.G. Wright Co. of New Martinsville, W.V., which reportedly started making them in the 1950s and continued until the '80s. So, basically, there is no question that the two goblets owned by B. R. were essentially brand-new when she bought them in that Kansas antiques shop in 1954.
L.G. Wright made the goblets in several sizes -- water, wine and juice. The 6-1/2-inch size quoted by B.R. makes the large piece a water goblet, and the smaller example is probably a wine glass. These can be found in frosted/clear blue, clear, green and amber glass.
The L.G. Wright reproductions are not nearly as nicely made as the "Cabbage Leaf" pieces made by Riverside. The reproductions are said to be "thick," "poorly pressed," with "light and blotchy" stippling, and with veining on the leaf that is "faint, smooth and deformed."
There is still some collector interest in the L.G. Wright pieces, and I found a water goblet that sold this year for a little more than $40 (and the retail value may be a bit more). The smaller piece is selling for less, at around $20 to $25.
Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson are the authors of "Price It Yourself" (HarperResource, $19.95). Contact them at Treasures in Your Attic, PO Box 18350, Knoxville, TN 37928. Email them at email@example.com.