If you love the look of antique glassware but aren’t sure where to find quality pieces, you’re not alone. Many people have difficulty sourcing great antiques on their own, but there are many resources available today that can help you make better decisions with confidence. Whether you’re looking to buy at an auction or from your local antique shop, here are some tips to help you find the best antique glassware at the best price!
Antique glassware has become extremely popular over the last several years, with many collectors scouring antique stores and flea markets to find that one piece that will complete their collection. While you can certainly buy antique glassware from antique stores, flea markets, and auctions, there are certain pieces that you’ll only be able to find at estate sales of people who passed away and left behind their beautiful glassware collections. In this article, we’ll discuss what to look for when purchasing antique glassware and why these items are so sought after by collectors.
Once you get the hang of what to look for when you’re shopping for antique glassware, it’s easy to find great pieces at an antique shop or flea market, or even in your own home! But if you don’t know how to spot quality pieces, you might end up with an expensive dud, so it’s important to have some basic tips on how to tell good antique glassware from bad antique glassware. Don’t worry—we’ll cover it all right here!
Step 1. Learn about antique glass
If you’re new to antique glass, start by learning about different types of glass that were used in antiques. You may already know that leaded glass and Depression glass are popular collectibles, but there’s a lot more out there besides just those two varieties. For example, you can find pieces made with flint glass or opalescent art glass. If you have access to an internet connection at home or in your office, check out sites like The SEO Antiques for some useful tips on where and how to hunt for antique bottles and related items.
If you don’t have easy access, take time at your local library or book store and get yourself a few books about collecting old bottles. Step 2. Figure out what you want: Before you go looking for antique glassware, figure out what it is exactly that you want to look for. Do you want something specific? Are there certain colors or patterns that appeal to you? Do you prefer drinking glasses over vases? Once you know what it is exactly that interests you, it will be easier to search for antique pieces. And remember, if money is tight (or if it isn’t), don’t buy anything until after Christmas and New Year’s Day—that’s when most people clean house and unload their unwanted stuff! Look online at auction sites like eBay as well as flea markets and garage sales before spending big bucks on antique glass.
Step 2. Find out what you’re looking for
Before you start your search, there are a few things you need to consider. Does it have sentimental value? Will someone pay a lot of money for it? Can you find a similar replacement or is it one-of-kind? Is it collectible and has any value as an antique or vintage item? Is there any historical significance associated with it? Once you’ve answered these questions, then do some research into specific glass pieces. For example, if you’re looking for an antique lightbulb glass, learn how that particular item was used and what shape variations were popular at different points in history.
Step 3. Research your potential vendors
The internet is a great place to start, but don’t stop there. Search out antique shops in your city, or reach out to friends and family who might have an interest in glassware. You never know what you might find—and you’ll make a new connection or two in the process. (Bonus: Someone might even have an old set just sitting around, waiting for a buyer.)
If you’re like most people, though, you’ll be buying your wares online. There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping online. First, search out antique shops that are familiar with shipping glass items safely—they should be prepared for fragile items and package them accordingly. Not only will you want your glassware in one piece when it arrives at your doorstep, but also you need it to get there at all; there’s nothing more disappointing than spending hours hunting down a beautiful set of old glass only to have it break on its way home from the post office!
Step 4. Get to know your potential vendors
At your weekly antique market, you’ll meet many vendors. Everyone will know each other, so it won’t be hard to get tips from successful sellers and find out what a fair price is for an item. It’s a good business practice to offer items at a lower cost than others do, but still a fair one – you want customers coming back. In fact, if you start offering really low prices on your goods and don’t have a reputation for great customer service, people may not want to buy from you anyway! Always aim for customer satisfaction. If they’re happy with their purchase and their experience with you as a vendor, they will tell their friends about it.
Step 5. Ensure quality by examining the glasses yourself
The best way to make sure you’re getting quality antiques is to go look at them in person. It’s easy for sellers to misrepresent items in photos, but it can be almost impossible for them to hide issues if you’re holding an object yourself. Look for chips, cracks, breaks, and warping (in old glass, you should only see evidence of one or two of these things; a piece that looks like a mosaic may have had repairs done). Make sure there aren’t bubbles between pieces of glass—unless you like that kind of thing! Another thing: Pay attention when objects are lit from different angles. You can often tell how transparent/translucent glass is by how much light passes through it.
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