Enjoying ‘the good life’ with depression glass

Editor’s Note: In the original printing of this article we mistakenly stated that the National Depression Glass Association National Glass Museum is located in Kansas City, Kan. It is actually located in Wellington, Kan. Also, the acronym for the association is NDGA not NCGA as was referenced in a section of this article. Our deepest apologies for these errors. ~Antoinette, Content Manager, Antique Trader

A selection of 170 of the most popular patterns of American glass dinnerware manufactured from the 1920s to the 1970s is included in “Warman’s Depression Glass,” 6th edition, making it an invaluable asset to collectors, appraisers, auctioneers and anyone trying to identify Depression-era glassware.

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Ellen Schroy

Filled with more than 600 color images, the new edition now includes many new photos of prized selections from the National Depression Glass Association National Glass Museum in Wellington, Kan. Long-time Depression-glass specialist Ellen Schroy once again authors this celebrated resource for collectors. She takes the time to answer questions for Antique Trader readers.

Antique Trader: It has been a few years since the last edition of “Warman’s Depression Glass Identification & Price Guide.” What market changes have you observed since then, and how are they reflected in this new edition?

Ellen Schroy: Probably the most noticeable change to the depression glass marketplace is the shift from a set “book price” mindset to one where dealers and collectors are meeting in a more “free market” climate. Personally, I think this is great, giving more collectors a better feeling that they are acquiring collectible glassware at a fair price — fair to the buyer, but also fair to the dealer who has sought out the glassware, cleaned it, identified it and then marketed it. The other shift is less printed depression glass pricing, such as the ads formerly placed in publications such as Antique Trader and The Daze. Gone, too, are several of the online websites that were essentially online antique malls devoted to depression glass. However, today’s collectors can still connect via social media through blogs and several excellent online websites.

A.T.: Each pattern now includes at-a-glance manufacturer and color information in data boxes that dealers and collectors will find quick and easy to use. What other features in this edition are you most excited about?

Schroy: One of the greatest features of this new 6th edition of “Warman’s Depression Glass” is the addition of many new photographs. Being able to show details, shapes, as well as color, is an important tool for correct identification.

Aunt-Polly

Sample page spread from Warman’s Depression Glass, 6th Ed.

A.T.: What did you want to accomplish with this new edition?

Schroy: This 6th edition of “Warman’s Depression Glass” brings up-to-date pricing as well as solid identification, manufacturer information, production dates and known colors. Devoted collectors will notice that some prices went up as well as going down, representing the fluid nature of this marketplace in 2014. Trust me, verifying that prices have remained stable is actually easier than tracking what has caused changes. For example, is it a pattern that is more popular in a certain geographic area? Is it that a pattern has become more widely available or more scarce?

A.T.: “Warman’s Depression Glass,” 6th edition, includes a lovely foreword by Pam Meyer of the NDGA National Glass Museum, which seems like a natural pairing.

Schroy: The NDGA National Glass Museum opened its doors and fabulous collection to Warman’s readers in this edition. The generosity of Pam Meyer in allowing access to the photographers has been outstanding. Because their collection is extensive, we were able to add shapes and forms via new photographs. Plus, Pam and her husband also manage several depression glassware shows across America, so they are really in touch with the dealers and collectors. Her insightful foreword reflects this personal touch.

A.T.: What features are exclusive to “Warman’s Depression Glass”?

Schroy: From the first edition of “Warman’s Depression Glass,” our unique thumbnail gallery

Warman's Depression Glass, 6th Ed. by Ellen Schroy is available at KrauseBooks.com for $20.51 (27% off retail price). Shop Now>>>

Warman’s Depression Glass, 6th Ed. by Ellen Schroy is available at KrauseBooks.com for $20.51 (27% off retail price). Shop Now>>>

and detailed line drawings were designed to help collectors and dealers identify the myriad depression glass patterns. Each drawing was based on observations made by artist Jerry O’Brien, who studied the plates I provided to him. Some designs were easy for him to understand, like the geometric American pattern, while detailed patterns, such as Cherry Blossom, caused him to really work, drawing in every leaf and detail. “Warman’s Depression Glass” also pushed the definition of depression glass to include patterns from the 1950s, 1960s, and now 1970s that today’s collectors are interested in.

A.T.: What key points would you say are essential for potential collectors to know before delving into buying depression glass?

Schroy: Today’s collectors of depression glass have so many opportunities to amass sparkling collections. This durable, American made glassware is sturdy enough to have lasted for generations.  Careful attention to knowing what forms are available in one’s desired pattern will assure that reproductions won’t sneak in. But, perhaps that is not so bad an idea, since a reproduction is less expensive, it can fill in the collection until a vintage piece is acquired. By collecting with a sharp eye for color and sparkle, beautiful forms can be added and used to create a lovely table. Depression glassware was made to be used. Several colorful patterns are usually found on my kitchen counter, used almost daily because they were purchased as real bargains at auction or yard sales.  Even washing them by hand makes me smile, how many desserts have these little plates seen? If only they could talk and tell us of the parties they have seen, or the gossip they heard great-grandma’s card parties. Lemonade is definitely sweeter and iced tea more refreshing when served in a vintage glass, with or without a spring of mint on the side.

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