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Real or Repro? Turning an ear to authenticity of Greentown Glass

Sometimes the information we seek can be found in the most unexpected locations. Ask the Experts evaluator Dr. Anthony J. Cavo demonstrates this in his latest assessment of a Greentown Glass dog head toothpick holder.

QLove your little publication. The yearly “Finds” just absolutely fascinate me. I wonder how it would feel to actually find “a find”. Imagine my eyebrows shooting up to my hairline when I spied that glass dog head toothpick holder in the April 13, 2016 issue. Not enough information appears on that piece. However, it looks like there is a fine line from the front to the back of the head. Plus, there is a similar line from right to left (like it was poured in four pieces and then put together).

Looking to Authenticate Dog Head Toothpick Holder

My dog head is light tan with the same “lines.” I am enclosing some poor pictures of the one I have. (Old film taken by an old woman – 75 in April – with a cheap camera.) Wish you would take a look at said pictures and give me an opinion? Also, the bottom of the piece is recessed with just the rim being raised all the way around.

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Realizing you cannot answer all the mail you receive and noting that the pictures being sent are poor for publication, would someone just scribble a note on the bottom of this letter and send it to me? I am enclosing a SASE for your convenience in high hopes that before I die, I will learn that I HAVE FOUND A FIND! Of course, it could well go the other way, but just think of the excitement being able to bring this information to my Sunday school class or to my luncheon with friends.

Thanks for listening, in any event.
— B.P.
Haleyville, Alabama

Dog-Head Holder Part of a Short Legacy

AGreentown Glass dog head toothpick holders are scarce as is all Greentown Glass. This type of glass comes from the Indiana Tumbler and Goblet Company of Greentown, Indiana. The company was in business for just six short years (1894-1903). The end is the result of a devastating fire that ceases production.. Then in 1899 the company was sold to the National Glass Company.

The figural dog head toothpick holder is one of the more difficult figural toothpick holders to find; they were made for a short period of time between 1901 and 1902. The dog head toothpick holder was made in several colors. This includes chocolate (brown slag glass), Nile green (an opaque green), blue, frosted clear and clear.

The St. Clare Glassworks in Elwood, Indiana reproduced the dog head toothpick holder during the 1960s. Although St. Clare typically marks their products, the dog head was one of the reproductions they did not mark.

Mother's Advice: Turn to Ears to Authenticate

There is, however, a way to determine the original from the reproduction. Early on in my antique career, my mom taught me something she learned from a glass dealer who specialized in Greentown Glass. When it came to the dog head toothpick holder, she said to remember the term “earmarked.” This tip is easy enough as it is a well-known term. It seems the original and reproduction differs in the tip of the ear, which is deeply indented in the original and uniformly rounded in the reproduction.

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I was able to examine the ear on your dog head by manipulating the contrast on your photographs. It appears that your dog head has the indentation seen in the original pieces. Based on the poor quality photographs provided I would have to say that yours is an original chocolate glass.It is worth in the $300 range.

Next Steps

I would advise you to contact the Greentown Glass Museum, Greentown, Indiana [; (765) 628-6206] with better photographs, especially of the ears, to determine without a doubt that your piece is original.

About our columnist:
Dr. Anthony J. Cavo is an honors graduate of the Asheford Institute Of Antiques and a graduate of Reisch College of Auctioneering. He has extensive experience in the field of buying and selling antiques and collectibles; at age 18, he became one of the youngest purchasers and consigners of antiques and art for a New York auction house. Mr. Cavo is an active dealer in the antiques and collectibles marketplace in the U.S. and abroad.

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