The art of glass making dates back centuries. You might be wondering when people started collecting glass, though. And if those collections, including your collection of Fostoria glass, are valuable.
Like anything you might collect, prices for Fostoria glass depend on the piece’s rarity, as well as the condition. The price also depends on how many pieces of the collection were made. For instance, more water goblets than vases in the American pattern were produced. Prices for water goblets range from $4 a piece, while the vases sell for hundreds of dollars each.
Whether you already have a large collection of Fostoria, or you’re curious about the pieces you’ve picked up here and there, this article will introduce you to some of the most sought-after pieces and what they may be worth. It will also give you insight if you have a collection you’re considering selling.
If you’re new to the glass game, you may be wondering what Fostoria glass is and why it’s such a big deal. The Fostoria glass company started in the late 1800s in Ohio. Shortly after opening, the company moved to West Virginia. For almost a century, Fostoria created more than 100 patterns of glassware in a wide variety of mediums. Stemware, dinnerware, lanterns, you name it.
Fostoria glass weaved through a tough economy and war to become one of the largest glass producers in United States history. They were especially well-known for their pressed glass technique. Pressed glass is the art of pressing a pattern into hot glass, then letting it cool. Their etched patterns were also highly received. Both etched and pressed glass start the same, but different molds are used to create the finished effect.
The popularity of Fostoria brought about many copies, which is something to consider when you are researching its value today. It’s important to first authenticate that you truly have an original Fostoria piece.
Due to its popularity, Fostoria was often imitated. And when the company was sold in the early 80s, the process for creating the glass pieces was not the same as the original pieces. An original Fostoria piece will be worth more than more recent pieces. It will also be worth more than the imitation pieces that other companies produced.
Original pieces have a fire-polished surface, and the glass itself is quite clear. If you were to look at your glass piece under a black light, the original Fostoria pieces would have a warm yellow glow. You can also handle the glass piece, assessing its weight. Original Fostoria is heavier than more recently made pieces. Another way to ensure you are working with an original piece is to look at the seams. Most Fostoria pieces were created with three seams, with only a few exceptions.
Now that you have assessed if you are looking at an original Fostoria piece, it’s time to discuss the value.
It goes without saying that undamaged pieces and collections are worth more than those that may have chips or individual pieces. That is not to say that those pieces aren’t valuable. They may simply be on the lesser end. For instance, an individual butter dish could be worth anywhere from $15 to $100 depending on its condition, pattern, and the number of butter dishes made like it. You may also have a piece that is chipped slightly. But if that piece is rare, the chip will not affect the value as much as you think.
There are a variety of ways to determine worth. Ruby Lane, Etsy, and eBay all have glass listings. Each site has its own team of experts who validate listings and watch for red flags. Worthpoint, which offers a free trial period, will allow you to search for what items have been sold and what the item is worth. Still, the best way might be a face-to-face appraisal if you have an expert in your community.
The American collection by Fostoria was the most popular pattern. You can still find quite a few American pieces selling steadily when searching online. Other valuable patterns include Chinz, Romance, and Versailles. Most Fostoria pieces were created with clear glass. Still, it is worth noting that colored Fostoria typically sells better than clear. This may be due to fewer colored pieces produced, resulting in their rarity.
A set of fifteen Versailles water goblets can be found on eBay for $675, not in mint condition. This alone should help you understand the popularity of Fostoria pieces. An American clear Biscuit Barrel is slightly higher with a price of $699.
On Etsy, an American service for eight dinner set is priced at $4000, while two tea tumblers with the same pattern are $17.50. Meanwhile, a Fostoria Baroque Smoker set with original labeling is offered for $200.
As you can see, there is a wide range of pricing for Fostoria. It is important to read reviews of the seller, pay attention to the description, and do proper research before purchasing online. Having your glassware authenticated by an expert will support your list price and provide your buyers peace of mind when you’re selling.
You might be wondering why Fostoria pieces are expensive. As mentioned earlier, it truly depends on the piece’s rarity as to the value. As a whole, the Fostoria company has a strong foothold in the history of American glassmaking as it produced glassware for almost a century. The American pattern alone was the longest-running pattern produced in the United States at a whopping span of 68 years. The company’s ability to withstand changes in the economy, including The Great Depression and both World Wars, is a testament to its strength and ability to change with the times.
As such, many people believe the Fostoria glass collection is a symbol of American greatness and the ability to persevere, making its pieces worth more than a monetary number.
As you can see, the value of Fostoria is determined by the pattern and rarity of the piece. Unlike other collectibles, you do not necessarily need to have a full set, or a mint condition piece, to sell for a higher price. If you have questions about your particular pieces, it’s important to do your research. And as always, remember your piece may mean more to you emotionally than it can ever mean to anyone else. Our feelings for our most beloved collectibles are something you can rarely put a price on.