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My first piece of Loetz. Who would have known what it would morph into.

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Loetz Art Glass1846 of 2264Loetz Pfauenauge "Peacock" VaseLoetz Federzeichnung Decor Vase (Octopus)
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    Posted 9 years ago

    (134 items)

    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".

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    1. kerry10456 kerry10456, 9 years ago
      From what I've seen here on CW, that "Loetz" becomes an addiction ;-)
    2. SteveS SteveS, 9 years ago
      Thanks David
      Nice picking ...and a pretty good repair on the handle to ...
      Half the fun is the exploration component ... into the unknown ... finding and fitting the pieces to the jigsaw ...
      If it was just a matter of cataloguing piece against patterns in a book it would be much more dull ... I am pretty sure I would not be here ...
      ... Kerry ...
      More a quest with an obsessive component than an addiction ...
      Certainly no need for withdrawal with the great postings here on CW ...
    3. GretchL GretchL, 9 years ago
      Well, I'm a little partial, as I am the wife of whom Dave speaks. ;) However, just wanted to take the opportunity to tell you all how proud I am of my husband. His knowledge just blows me away and he not only knows a lot about the glass, but many things. His talent never ceases. He is one of the most gracious and kind human beings I have ever met. And now I see he is a pretty good writer, too!!! I am also very proud of our collection. Unfortunately, I am not so knowledgeable, but Dave has taught me a lot. His friend and mentor, Alfredo, is also one of those creative and wonderful people that we have had a chance to meet as well. So the glass has brought us much more than just beauty to our lives and home. Anyone who comes into our home ALWAYS says it reminds them of a museum. :) They also say it is warm and creative and comfortable. It makes us happy and feel joy to hear when others enjoy it, too. Yes, I am a bit sentimental, but I encourage all of you who collect the things that you love: It is more than the item itself. It is about the beauty it brings to your life, the people you meet along the way with the same loves, and the beauty that it brings to others when you share your love of the art. Thank you, Dave, for bringing so much beauty into our home....with the vases...and with the people that you've met along the way. xo
    4. dlfd911 dlfd911, 9 years ago
      Thanks Al. I learned how to do it through necessity. And thanks Gretch, for being there for me through all these years, and not just turning a blind eye to my buying but actually being excited when new things come through the door.
    5. Lisa-lighting Lisa-lighting, 9 years ago
      Thank you! What a wonderful thread. You really nailed the idea of collecting and all that it brings to our lives. The wonderful people, the endless knowledge, the beautiful things and the joy, and the joy, and the joy of it all.
    6. LoetzBuddies LoetzBuddies, 9 years ago
      David I know exactly what you mean by "Ebayitis". It has ruined by bankbook.
    7. dlfd911 dlfd911, 9 years ago
      By the way, I try not to use super glue anymore for repairing glass. When it dries, it turns white and is visible on or in the glass (I have used it to stabilize a crack, so it won't continue to run). Now I only use clear 1-minute setting epoxy that I buy at the home store. You have to hold pieces together for a bit, but what I do is mix the 2 parts of the epoxy, and let it sit for 30 seconds, then apply it to the pieces and hold them together. Waiting will also allow some of the air bubbles that are trapped in the epoxy to come to the surface. Another thing I have done with it is to paint a thin coat on a rim that should be fire-polished but was ground to repair chips. This is not an attempt to fool anyone, just to make it appear more as it originally would have. All you have to do is shine a UV light on it to see the glow of the epoxy repair. I bought a Marie Kirschner vase with 4 wrapped tendrils on eBay some years ago. My light showed the two of them had had their tips replaced with epoxy, and then painted to hide the repair. The seller obviously knew about it and gave me a full refund without question.
    8. Justanovice Justanovice, 9 years ago
      I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the above! I am only just starting out with the glass (have collected many things in my life so far) but already I am struggling to find a place for the new arrival(s)! I hope I refine my taste soon!!! Lol!! I will have to 'find' a neglected Loetz that has gone unrecognised in order to afford it! But I am enjoying collecting the glass and learning along the way! Thanks to the CW crew.
    9. RhondaCorvallis RhondaCorvallis, 9 years ago
      I enjoyed reading your story very much, thank you for sharing ;)
    10. cobaltcobold cobaltcobold, 9 years ago
      Dear Dave, thank you. This is impressing and even a little frightening. Collecting can become an obsession. And the intenet makes it possible to get your drugs with much more efficiency than ever before so that you have much more occasions to spend your money and to assemble a consistent and beautiful collection. Two questions: How do you manage to dominate you passion and not to spend too much? Do you have a monthly budget? And what will your collection become after your death? Will you give it to a museum?
    11. dlfd911 dlfd911, 9 years ago
      I'm glad you asked those questions. I thought about going into it in the above post, but didn't think anyone would want to read such a long story, so I stopped where I did. I was still working on a fire department when I started collecting glass. In fact, I would usually ask the sellers of the auctions I won to mail it to my office at the station, so if they needed to be signed for I would be there to do it. Otherwise it meant an almost daily trip to the post office after work. By the time I retired, I had accumulated an assortment of around 350 pieces of Loetz, Kralik, Rindskopf, Pallme-König, Harrach and Heckert, with a few contemporary pieces leftover from my days of buying Correia, Lundberg, Orient & Flume, and modern Pairpoint. I stopped at that point because I had planned on moving out of Rhode Island and to Indiana, where I could better afford to live on my pension. I would pick up an occasional piece from time to time, but nothing like when I was working and had the means to buy more. I really didn't have a plan, other than to stick to Bohemian glass, and mostly from the Art Nouveau period.

      Space was a bit of a problem. I had 2 large display cabinets filled with glass, my mantel, a large shelf in the dining room, and the top of the kitchen cabinets, along with pieces on every other horizontal surface. I knew I didn't want to look like I was a hoarder, so I devised a plan to first sell off most of my non-Loetz glass, except for certain pieces that had special meaning to me: Our first pieces, and pieces that were given to us by friends as gifts. I also gave some away to our friends. One thing I enjoyed doing (and still do) is when someone comes to our house and shows a real interest in the collection, I'll watch how they react when they see certain pieces. Then I'll often hand one to them that they are particularly fond of, and tell them to keep it. Not the Loetz in the cabinets, but the others that I still have around the house. I have whittled the numbers down to around 250 now. I have sold some or traded with fellow collectors from time to time.

      I changed my plan from just "collecting Loetz" to wanting to have one of every decor that I could find (and afford). Selling offsets the cost of buying, with the added benefit of creating much-needed space in the cabinets. I have been thinning out the shelves by selling and trading decors of which I have multiple pieces. I still like to have one of every color of Papillon, Diaspora, Spiraloptisch, Rusticana, etc., but I will keep only one Nautilus, Astartig, Asträa, unless of course I find rare variants of a decor.

      I have always been frugal, if you can believe that. I seldom pay "market value" for anything. That helps me keep from going overboard with my buying. I'll bid on something, but won't go beyond a certain point. If I get it for a low price, fine. If it goes higher, I'll wait a bit longer to buy one. On occasion I can find a really good deal on something by doing many searches on eBay throughout the day. I love the "Buy it Now" feature, as well as the "Make an Offer". These have both saved me a lot. My goal as a collector, rather than as an investor, is to have a collection that meets the requirements of a plan that I set for myself, while at the same time not requiring me to tap into my savings. So if I buy a Cephalonia for $5 (oh yes, I did), then I see it as a painless addition to my collection, rather than imagining how much profit I will get for it when I sell it.

      As a lot of you know, I like to share my knowledge with others, so throughout most of the course of my collecting I have kept a website. First it was just photos of my glass with the name of the decor under each. Then I started to learn more about them, and added year of production, Production Number if known, Ausführung or Phänomen genre number, and even some bit of description about the decors. Every piece of glass on my website was once in my collection. Most of them still are. I purchased an insurance rider to cover my glass, and keep an inventory list in the form of a Word document, with hyperlinks from the inventory number that open a photo of each piece. It's easy to do, and really orderly. One other reason for the list is that if I should die before Gretchen does, she will know what each piece is, along with its approximate market value. We have discussed the issue of what to do with it all when I am gone. If we had a museum in the US that had a large quantity of Bohemian glass, including Loetz, I would like to donate it, with the exception of any pieces that Gretchen would prefer to keep. But presently we don't have a museum like that. Large museums, like New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, have a fair amount already, but they keep it in storage and only bring it out when they want to create a display on the subject for a month or perhaps only a couple of weeks, then they put it back into storage for what could be years. I would not want to think of my glass gathering dust in a basement or attic. So we decided that she would keep the ones she wants, and either sell the rest herself, of contact one on my closer collector friends and see if they would help with the process. That way it would be someone that knows the market, knows how to recognize condition, and would even get first pick of pieces they want from the lot.

      I do keep a monthly budget, and I usually stay within that budget. If I overspend this month, I'll buy less next month. Tax refunds and bonuses are real windfalls. The only exception is that when I am offered something that I need that is very hard to find, and for a price that I will likely not see again, I buy it. I've been fairly good about sticking with my plan. If I buy a decor that I already have, because it is a better, more interesting shape, I will sell the other. I want to avoid redundancy at all costs. After the excitement of a new arrival wanes, I always ask myself if I stuck to the plan when I bought it. So far, the answer has always been "yes". So I don't see it getting out of hand. And I no longer have glass filling up every horizontal surface in my house. Sorry if I got long-winded again, but you are right, Cobaltcobold, those questions need to be discussed and answered by anyone who is a dedicated collector of anything.
    12. dlfd911 dlfd911, 9 years ago
      Thanks for the loves, everyone.
    13. cobaltcobold cobaltcobold, 9 years ago
      Dear Dave, I am really touched that you answered in such a length. Yes, it's true that one has to think about these questions. My collection is only rudimentary until now and not very systematic. But there are good pieces in it, and I won't have a real successor to take it over. So, your idea to stay in contact with other collectors is very important. It's sad what you say about the museums. And the Corning museum? Museums really can give a public sense to collecting, but they should alo do something about it. I often think that they didn't understand until now which possibilities of cmmunicating with collectors an organize knowledge they get with the internet. I am also impressed that you managed to discipline yourself in the budget question. It's a dangerous question!
    14. cobaltcobold cobaltcobold, 9 years ago
      By the way: I just presented a piece which could be Pallmé-König:

      Could be another house, too. Id on't have knowledge in this period. So, if you'd take a look I would be grateful.
    15. dlfd911 dlfd911, 9 years ago
      I don't really know much about Corning, so I can't comment on that museum. Perhaps someone else knows more about it.
    16. antiquerose antiquerose, 8 years ago
      ~ ~ Internet Friends ~ ~

      Some people just don't understand
      How you can have friends in a far away land.
      Some may come from France, California,
      Pennsylvania or Spain,
      But no matter where they are from,
      The friendship remains.

      Some are close and even from your home state,
      Some are on earlier, others are on late.
      An internet friend listens, suggests,
      And may complain,
      But no matter where they are from,
      The friendship remains.

      Some internet friends have never met,
      And others met just once,
      Some have joined one another for dinners,
      Others have for lunch.

      You are my internet friend,
      We have a wonderful time.
      Of the friends on the internet,
      I'm glad you're mine.

      Please stay in touch,
      Our conversational chats are divine.
      I am glad I am your friend
      And also that you are mine!

      (( Quoted from: ))

      Lovely Story!!
    17. AnneLanders AnneLanders, 8 years ago
      is this David David?
      If it is I think you are a terrific font of knowledge.
      And a great help to those collecting and starting out.Very generous with your time too...
      I sent you an email earlier I will write another when I have a sleep.

      Cheers and thank you again...
    18. dlfd911 dlfd911, 8 years ago
      Hi Anne, yes, that's me. You're too kind, but thank you. I had plenty of help early on in my collecting, and I like to pay it forward when I am able. My mind is not as sharp as it once was, but I have lots of books :)
    19. Lisa-lighting Lisa-lighting, 8 years ago
      Dear Dave,
      If this is your mind not being as sharp at it once was, I'll take it. ;o) Your generosity is only out done by your modesty. ;o) Thank you for all you share.
    20. Walburn Walburn, 3 years ago
      Love your continuing love of art glass. Thank you for sharing your story!
    21. dlfd911 dlfd911, 2 years ago
      I was notified yesterday about the passing of my long-time friend Alfredo Villanueva. He will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.

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