Famous Last Words
“FAMOUS LAST WORDS” --- OR --- Endearing Statements
by Diane Fry
History surrounding the forerunners of current day collectors of carnival glass create interesting provenance. During the ‘70’s and ‘80’s when this habit was pursued for the sheer beauty it offers, little consideration was given to future valuation beyond the possibility of a “return on the dollar spent”. Future speculation as to investment possibilities had not entered the spectrum.
Amusing statements made by individuals over the years have endeared them and the memory of their contributions toward the future of this Glass we continue to enjoy. Foremost in value are the friends and acquaintances made along the way. Prices may have become serious commodities over the years, but a smile and good conversation with those of like interests place all of us on a level of enjoyment we all appreciate.
While many of today’s collectors will not recognize the names associated with their statements, we hope you will find them interesting “for whatever they are worth”.
Ivan Mitchell was a man who always sat on the front row of an auction and bid with determination! His choice during a HOACGA Conv. Auction was a teal or aqua colored Tiger Lily water set, not easily found. Ivan was the successful bidder, but upon finding some damage, returned the set (within the acceptable five ensuing bid items.) John Woody, the auctioneer, promptly opened bidding for the set over again, with Don Moore, a prominent collector of an earlier era, entering a fast-paced bidding process. Ivan turned to see who the bidder was, and began bidding with fervor, being the winning bidder for the second time!.........Woody asked what changed his mind about the damage, and Mrs. Mitchell spoke up saying, “I guess it healed itself!” ………. That brought the house down!
Don Moore was a willing speaker, called on to present many a program and banquet presentation for conventions, before his passing in 1991. He enjoyed telling funny things about his wife, Connie’s participation in the hobby. One such story told of her nudging him repeatedly during his bidding process. He said, “I thought she was encouraging me to place another bid, only to find out later, she thought I should STOP bidding!”……….
During a banquet presentation for ICGA Convention held that year in Cedar Rapids, IA, he said he had spent so much money at the auction that day, that he wasn’t sure he could get it all packed into their small car for the trip back to CA……..so, if anyone noticed a little old lady running alongside a small car on the highway, perhaps they could give her a lift, realizing there was no room for her in their car…………….correctly placed priorities, hm?
As I have said repeatedly, the writers of books and articles of educational value promoting the pleasurable accumulation of carnival glass are to be congratulated for their devotion to task. Documentation of any source comes under scrutiny on a repeated basis. As years progress and new information is gained, many times the earlier version of thought must give way to newfound evidence. Stimulation of interest is the result, with absolutely NO intent to disqualify nor negate any earlier research. Advent of additional collector evidence over many years since the earliest writings by Marion Hartung and Rose Presznik has created alterations to that first recorded history. New findings become profound evidence that, as a group, collectors have a distinct advantage today, benefiting from virtual instant knowledge, by way of the internet. This is a very good place to state that should any beginners find their way into some of the books written by the two pioneers mentioned above, the statement by Rose Presznik that red Millersburg glass can be found, is not correct. During the past 40-50 years of looking, NONE has been found!
Some of the statements made by Mrs. Hartung no longer are accurate. Hastening on, allow me to further state that there are no perfect books written……Between the time of research, editing, printing, publishing and distribution, a period of as much as two-three years can have lapsed, making some information outdated. Please consider this in your learning process………No book can be taken for absolute gospel! Only through personal discussion with other collectors on a regular basis, and in reading current articles in Club publications, can one remain current.
Anyone who has collected carnival since the ‘70’s and ‘80’s will fondly recall John and Lucile Britt. Their room at every convention held a lovely display and plenty of sale glass. Their articles graced most of the Club newsletters, and they could always be counted on for advice and help in identification, along with a stroke of humor. We were seated next to an entry door into a large auction room at one of the conventions, when John came in and asked if we’d seen a little old gray-haired lady anywhere (referring to Lucile). Dean replied, “Well, John, just which one are you looking for?” In a roomful of gray heads, it quickly became a moment to share a good laugh!
In a discussion, some years ago, about the possibilities of purchasing carnival glass from one source or another; John Resnik said, “They’ll buy glass from the Devil if he has a piece they want.” I thought it amusing at the time, but this was said in a day before E-bay!.......In reading a recent complaint from a man who said he had been “taken” twice in one month for “bait and switch” merchandise, that former statement rang true! Why DO some individuals seize every opportunity to deceive? One contention in favor of buying directly from a seller during a convention or an auction, is hands-on inspection. The best alternative to that, is to purchase from a well-known, respected individual with a good reputation for selling good glass.
The name of John Muehlbauer is well known in carnival glass circles. He has been collecting since before 1980, because he was well versed in qualifications which make for an exceptional piece of Northwood, at the time Dean & I began collecting. (As you may have noticed, the surface colors/iridization on many examples made by Northwood are not equal, or the same color all over.) John explained to me while we were in a preview line to examine auction glass on one occasion: “Hold the piece in one hand, turning it in a circular motion. If the surface colors follow equally, then you have a good Northwood specimen………” VERY good advice for all Beginners, whether you decide to follow it or not!
In conclusion, let me state that Frank M. Fenton has promoted the best interests of carnival glass over long years of producing the various Club souvenirs for conventions. His attention to detail in their production, along with accommodating the required dates for each occasion leave no doubt that his support is steadfast!
Should any of you have the opportunity to visit the Fenton Museum on the second floor of the factory, just above the showroom area don’t fail to do so. Frank has accumulated some of the finest examples of not only early Fenton carnival glass, but some of the other early manufacturers’ wares, as well. He has become a collector over the years, furthering his interests in developing wares for current day market.
~~~~ Diane Fry
A Few Words on Vaseline Glass · A Lesson in Toxic Issues · A Personal Reflection into Fenton Past · America the Beautiful · Beginners Journey · Brocaded Roses by Central Glass · Don Grizzle and His NW Jardiniere · Famous Last Words · Fenton Dragon & Lotus · Fishscale & Beads · Frank M. Fenton · Grapevine Lattice · In Memory Of George Loescher · Lattice & Points/Vining Twigs · My First True Love ~aka~ Cosmos & Cane · My First Days of Carnival Glass Collecting · Popularity VS. Actual Rarity · The Different Millersburg Peacock Molds · The Myths and Mysteries of Straw Marks · The Stuff We Prize is Just on Loan · Thoughts From Fay · What A Message · Wholesale vs. Retail
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