Posted 12 months ago
I started collecting like a lot of people do. My wife and I went to garage sales and flea markets. We both liked miniature glass vases and pitchers. You know the ones, brightly colored, some crackle, some not. Hey, for $4-$12 you can hardly go wrong. They looked so nice together that we purchased a small display cabinet to show them off under a light. Somewhere along the way we picked up some vases in Amberina. Then we discovered Burmese and Peachblow. Then it was contemporary iridescent art glass. It was around this time that I got up the nerve to try eBay. Selling and buying (I had to support the habit somehow). The new iridescent glass started coming in, a few per month. Then a few per week. At some point in my daily searches I came across this very cool-looking iridescent vase. I had heard of Loetz, but didn't really know a thing about them, just that I liked iridescent glass, and they made loads of it. I knew it was fairly expensive, but when this one appeared, with all its wounds, I just knew I wanted it. I placed a bid and ended up winning it for a mere $53. One of the ring shaped handles had been knocked off and was mailed in an envelope along with the vase. When it arrived I knew it was something special. The first thing I did was to glue the handle back on with some super glue. I placed it front and center in my display case. I think that was in the year 2000. I have kept it all these years, and have no plans to part with it.
After that one, I started studying about Loetz glass. I bought a few more pieces of "Loetz" on eBay, some of which I still have. I was contacted by a fellow eBayer and glass enthusiast, and we started talking about the glass that we both loved so much. Well, it turns out that most of my other "Loetz" was not Loetz at all, but Poschinger, Kralik, Rindskopf. Now I needed to learn as much as I could about not just Loetz, but the other makers as well, so I would be able to tell what was, and what was not, Loetz. I have Alfredo Villanueva to thank for contacting me that day, and helping to create the monster that I have become today. Who better to learn from that the author of those articles on the Loetz website. Thanks, Al.
What started as a part time hobby turned into almost an obsession. Al said "buy the books before you buy any more glass". OK, I saved the money up to buy books, some that cost as much as 8 pieces of my glass. I had a lot of Rusticana back then, when you could buy one for $30-$50. I studied the books, I searched online for Loetz, and Alfredo would test me on it, showing me a link to an auction and asking me what it was. That was the best way to learn, and the internet is a huge tool in the process. What did people do before internet? Most of the books on the subject were far from 100% accurate. People learn the mistakes and spread them. So I would say to anyone that is new to collecting anything, find the best documentation that you can, and study it. Figure out which websites are accurate and visit them often. Listen to people whose opinions you know you can trust. Ally yourself with other trusted collectors, and ask the hard questions, even if you are afraid they might make you sound like a novice. We all were novices once. In the process, you will learn how to learn. The rest is just enjoyment of your hobby. After 13 years, I love collecting my glass even more than I did when I first discovered it. A hobby should be fun. If it stops being enjoyable, then move on to something new. Collectors tend to collect throughout their lives. We change our interests over the years, but we seldom lose our enthusiasm.
Since I retired, I have more time to spend with my books and my glass. The overall plan of my collection has changed a few times, but I like to think of it as "upgrading". Besides, who needs 30 Rusticanas anyway?
I have made a lot of good friends along the way, and some I have met in person. But most are long distance friends, connected by the internet and a common interest. You know who you are.
And no, the Tricolor is not for sale, but "it really does display nicely".