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Posted 3 years ago

Email

Squeaker
(6 items)

Hi,

I am a collector of Vaseline and Art Glass. At one of my glass conventions another member brought this piece of furniture with his Vaseline Art Glass in it, and I fell in love with it. He told me it was a viewing casket and he got it on the East Coast some years before. As it turns out, he was moving so I offered to buy it from him and now it's mine!

In transit, a corner of the wood was knocked loose. I took it to a local antique furniture restorer for repair, (he was from Italy) and he was as amazed and bewildered as I was to who and when it was made. He assured me it was OLD....and it was a viewing casket. As you can see by the pictures it is a large piece. At both ends there are 2 wooden handles that can be pulled out about 3 feet from below the bottom in order to carry it. When someone would have been placed in there, they would have probably been on some kind of pillow or mattress that would have raised them up a bit. At the widest point the casket is 6' wide. Folks back then when much shorter.

I have since had appraisers in to see it also, and everybody throws their hands up with ?????

I was hoping somebody out there would perhaps know something about it, or at least turn me in the correct direction to find out.

Thanks in advance....

Squeaker Bootsma
Eastvale, CA
squeakerb@gmail.com

Unsolved Mystery

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Comments

  1. Hedgewalker Hedgewalker, 3 years ago
    Wow How Goth is that ?? Very Very Cool !
  2. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    What a way to go!
  3. Hedgewalker Hedgewalker, 3 years ago
    Amen to that vet ! I can only think of one better way to go off the top of my head.
  4. chevy59 chevy59, 3 years ago
    I love the fact that you have the CROSS in the center of the casket. It reminds of
    Psalm 46:10... Thank you for sharing!
  5. ozmarty ozmarty, 3 years ago
    To Die for !

  6. Squeaker Squeaker, 3 years ago
    Thanks to all above comments....BUT!!!! I really am looking for some information about this amazing piece of history.....
    ANYBODY??????
  7. Alfredo Alfredo, 3 years ago
    A shot in the dark. Your casket has carrying handles, which means it was meant to be paraded. Only Catholics parade huge viewing caskets, usually on Holy Friday, containing a life-size image of the body of Christ, and also use them to display embalmed bodies or remains of saints in churches, so the faithful can approach from all sides, and also parade them on Feast days. That is the only current use for them I know of, since when great dignitaries die, nowadays they are not lain in caskets.

    Nevertheless, I have often bemoaned the lack of a suitable space to exhibit my own Czech Vaseline pieces, which I enjoy at night, lights out, flashlight in hand!
    Yours is by far the best display I have ever seen!
  8. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    I agree with Alfredo. This is more than a viewing casket.
    The remains are meant to be viewed "in the round".

    The handles suggest that it would be carried to a place where people could file by in all directions. It could have been the body of an eminent person at a state funeral or it might be that of a "saint".

    There are some photos of Catholic displays of their saints at this site:
    http://www.overcomeproblems.com/incorruptables.htm

    But the idea that it was the body of an eminent citizen might lead to research of some American notables.

    The casket itself seems devoid of religious emblems but then so are the caskets used to display some of the saints in the above site.
  9. Squeaker Squeaker, 3 years ago
    I also agree with Alfredo and Vetraio50. I have looked, searched, googled everything I could find. The only difference between my casket and the "incorruptables" is mine is made of wood, and therefore not sealed very well.

    I think it was probably handed down from generation to generation within a a family of some prominence and wealth. Most people just laid their loved ones out on a table or such!! I cannot find any pictures of wooden and glass caskets. I am so hoping this will hit the eye of someone who will know exactly where it came from and when...

    Thanks for your very informed comments.
  10. ozmarty ozmarty, 3 years ago
    Hi the wood looks like walnut so European manufacture is a possability. The carving is not superfine so it would not have been for a dignatory or saint . My guess it was made for a Funeral Home for viewing of the deceased prior to burial or cremation. it is 20th century .
    As to it's worth what you paid for it plus plus plus ..now as soo many would love to have it !
  11. Alfredo Alfredo, 3 years ago
    On the contrary. Ornament would been out of place in a parading casket. We go back again to the Catholic renunciation of worldly pomp (which did not apply to stationary objects). I also favor an European origin for it. I bet it was imported. No matter, it has found a new use.
  12. kerry10456 kerry10456, 3 years ago
    I believe you can find another very similar to this one in The Conception Abbey in Clyde, Mo. They have one with a Holy Martyr on display. I've had it described to me from several people that have toured the Abbey.
  13. kerry10456 kerry10456, 3 years ago
    Here's a link to a Wood and Glass one.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tlehman/360449475/
  14. Squeaker Squeaker, 3 years ago
    @Alfredo... I also believe it to be European. I'm thinking late 1800's early 1900's, or older. You can tell by looking at the wood that it is very old.

    As to its worth Ozmarty.... I think you're right! I have been offered a lot for it, but I think I'll hang on to it for awhile. At least until I can get a bit more info.

    I have also been told that 3 of the side panels of glass have been replaced, as they are beveled and there was no beveling of glass back then, but one side is the original and has many bubbles floating in it. BTW, it is a VERY HEAVY piece.

    @ Kerry, I also found that link. That appears to be much newer because the wood looks exceptionally well kept and the style more reminiscent of something more modern.

    Thanks again to all that have chirped in!!!!
  15. Alfredo Alfredo, 3 years ago
    I know it's useless to say it, but do not sell it!
  16. Squeaker, 3 years ago
    @ Alfredo.....I wonder if I'll still have enough family left to "Parade" me down the street in it when I die!!! LOL My husband is WAY to big at 6' 8" tall!
  17. LFLucy, 3 years ago
    Hi Squeaker!

    Ever since I first saw the casket in your home I have been fascinated by it. I did a lot of searching on the subject and found out some very interesting info!

    Glass caskets were not popular here in the US until the the early to mid 1800's. So if it was made here, it wasn't made until that time. They were originally made by those from around Italy (and central Europe) as viewing caskets (not a coffin...(they could not hold the weight of staying intact in the ground) and were also used for long term interment of those deceased to be placed in a mausoleum or above ground crypt. It was thought that many chose those as they could not part with their dear loved ones and would often go to look in or visit with them.

    If it is in fact older than that it could have been brought here from somewhere near the central west coast of Italy as that is the style of those made in that area.

    The carvings on the casket, although simple, doesn't not indicate importance of the person put in it. Many incorruptible saints were originally put into simple caskets that were later replaced by more splendid ones in worshiping of those considered most holy. Being that it had handles meant for carrying it could have been used in religious ceremonies for viewing when taken out of the crypt and placed on an altar. Generally statues of the Holy Family were not placed into a glass casket as they were considered never to have died (except for Christ and he had risen and ascended) and ascended directly into heaven. So a casket was not needed to portray this, and most are paraded as in life in procession.

  18. Lisa-lighting Lisa-lighting, 2 years ago
    What a fabulous way to display your collection. May I ask how you are lighting your "jewel casket"?
  19. Squeaker Squeaker, 2 years ago
    Thanks Lisa,
    I have 2 black light tubes mounted on the front panel at the top. That's what makes the Vaseline Glass Fluoresce. I am having yet another "Antique ""Specialist"" coming this Friday to appraise all my antiques for insurance update purposes, and I'm hoping she might have a clue.
    Out of curiosity, why do you refer to it as a "Jewel casket"? I find that interesting as everywhere I look for information about this piece, they show those small glass boxes made for jewelry that resemble a see through casket and are normally made of some kind of metal.

    Thanks again for your interest....if I find anything more out, I will surely post it here. Wish me luck.
  20. Lisa-lighting Lisa-lighting, 2 years ago
    The lights are well placed aren't they. The jewel casket remark was my attempt at being punny esque. :O) The Jewels being your collection of vaseline glass and the Casket being just that. I have a few old jewel caskets but none of them are sufficiently large to accomodate my shades.
    I do indeed wish you luck with your hunt. I am some times think that the research is almost as lovely as finding the treasures we seek.
  21. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 2 years ago
    I couldn't resist having a peek, I thought it was unusual and if you call it a glass casket you don't get much for hits on Google. If you search for glass sarcophagus you get oodles of neat hits that are quite close to this one. One photo showed a guy (cardinal I think) laid out in one over in Croatia. I hope they didn't tell him it was just a test drive!

    The majority of the ones I found that were wood and glass were from the Philippines, in the sites that are sacred to Roman Catholic Filipinos. Our Lady of Piat, Santo Nino in Cebu, and the Black Nazarene in Quiapo.
  22. Squeaker Squeaker, 2 years ago
    Thanks again Lisa for your input....now I see what you were saying. My biggest wish before I die (and NO...I won't be placed in there for presentation!!!) is to figure out it's history. My quest continues.

    Squeaker Bootsma
  23. Squeaker Squeaker, 2 years ago
    Thanks fhrjr2 for your response and input.

    Yes, I have also tried the search you have suggested...to no avail. They all look quite similar, but mine looks a little more primitive, as in made perhaps for a particular family to be passed down through the generations. It doesn't have nearly the quality of the the caskets made in the era you are suggesting. But the age of it is certainly there.
    Thanks for your response.
  24. Alfredo Alfredo, 2 years ago
    Every Cathedral or Church I've ever been to has one or more of these exhibition sarcophagi, including San Pio's relics at the Cathedral in old San Juan, P.R.
  25. Squeaker Squeaker, 2 years ago
    Thanks again Alfredo....

    I can't wait to finally find out what this piece really is, and I feel we are getting closer. I will continue to keep everybody appraised of any new information I receive..
    The Hunt Continues, and I await it's results!!!

    Squeaker
  26. Zowie Zowie, 1 year ago
    hello I just love the way you have your collections set up. It looks really good having the light on your Uranium glass set. thank your for your display.
  27. Squeaker Squeaker, 1 year ago
    Thanks Zowie. It's one of those kind of pieces that you either REALLY like it, or you're totally creaped out!!!! Looks the best at night. We've even gone as far as re-naming the room from our "living" room to the "Viewing" room! Gotta have a sense of humor!

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