Why buy a repro when you can get the real thing?

My eyes just about bugged out of my head.

Glancing through a mail order catalog recently there they were: More than four pages worth of “vintage charm for your home.”

A major national catalog retailer has picked up a line of reproduction “Depression-era glassware” and has it on sale for just a few bucks. The glassware is in the more popular colors of Depression glass and there are also some pieces usually found made of milk glass, such as hens on nests and assorted candy jars.

These are the pieces that it took five pages in “Warman’s Depression Glass, 5th edition,” to illustrate.

The real troubling part is that the prices the new reproductions are selling for are the exact same prices for the originals that can be found at your local shop or county auction. I some cases, the originals can be found even cheaper. An EAPG footed candy dish selling for $5 online looks very similar to the reproduction selling for $11 in the catalog.

Sure $11 isn’t much. And to most people an $11 reproduction doesn’t represent the greatest threat to the antiques business. But it’s something to take seriously.

Isn’t it funny how often dealers and collectors can be heard lamenting the state of the antique market? Yet, major retailers are turning to our hobbies to make a quick buck when times turn tough. One would think a few knock-offs here and there would reaffirm our trade, but in the case of mass produced reproductions it only hurts.

Maybe these reproductions will catch the eye of more young collectors who will then start searching out new pieces and eventually discover the real thing. Plus, the repros further open the chasm.

The trouble is, the reproductions make it all that more difficult to sell authentic pieces and educate a customer on what makes the piece worth copying in the first place.


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