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Assorted Marbles from Digging

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Marbles96 of 192Sulphide MarbleMy Crazy Cat Marble
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Posted 4 years ago


(67 items)

All these were found while bottle digging.

A marble is a small spherical toy usually made from glass, clay, steel, plastic or agate. These balls vary in size. Most commonly, they are about 1/2 inch to 1 inch (1.3 to 2.6 cm) in diameter, but they may range from less than 1/30 inch (0.111 cm) to over 3 inches (7.75 cm), while some art glass marbles for display purposes are over 12 inches (30 cm) wide. Marbles can be used for a variety of games called marbles. They are often collected, both for nostalgia and for their aesthetic colors. In the North of England the objects and the game are called "taws", with larger taws being called bottle washers after the use of a marble in Codd-neck bottles.
Alley or real - made of marble or alabaster (alley is short for alabaster), streaked with wavy or other patterns with exotic names like corkscrew, spiral, snake, ribbon, onyx, swirl, bumblebee, butterfly, and...
An orange and white toothpaste marble
Toothpaste - Also known as "Plainsies" in Canada. Wavy streaks usually with red, blue, black, white, orange.
Turtle - wavy streaks containing green and yellow
Ade - strands of opaque white and color, making lemon-ade, lime-ade, orange-ade, etc.
Oxblood - a streaky patch resembling blood
Opaque - a rather uninteresting marble, but popular. Comes in many colors.
Oilie or Oily - Opaque with a rainbow, iridescent finish
Pearls - Opaque with single color with "mother of pearl" finish
Lutz - antique, handmade German swirl, containing bands of fine copper flakes that glitter like gold. Erroneously thought to have been invented by noted glassmaker Nicholas Lutz. Medium-high value for antique marbles, depending on specific sub-type of Lutz design.
Onionskin - antique, handmade German swirl, with many closely packed surface streaks. Medium price range for antique marbles.
Clambroth - equally spaced opaque lines on a milk-white opaque base. Rare clams can have blue or black base glass. Medium-high value for antique marbles; rare base color valued much higher.
Cat's Eye or catseye - central eye-shaped colored inserts or cores (injected inside the marble)
Devil's Eye - red with yellow eye
Beachball - three colors and six vanes
Aggie - made of agate (aggie is short for agate) or glass resembling agate, with various patterns like in the alley
Bumblebee - modern, machine-made marble; mostly yellow with two black strips on each side.
China - glazed porcelain, with various patterns similar to an alley marble. Geometric patterns have low value; flowers or other identifiable objects can command high prices.
Plaster - a form of china that is unglazed
Commie or common - made of clay; natural color or monochrome coloration. Made in huge quantities during 19th and early 20th centuries. Common, not very attractive; thus almost no value.
Bennington - clay fired in a kiln with salt glaze -- usually brown, often blue. Other colorations fairly scarce. Fairly low value.
Crock - made from crockery (earthenware) clay
Croton alley or Jasper - glazed and unglazed china marbled with blue
Crystal or clearie or purie - any clear colored glass - including "opals," "glimmers," "bloods," "rubies," etc. These can have any number of descriptive names such as "deep blue sea", "blue moon", "green ghost", "brass bottle".
Princess - a tinted crystal
Galaxy - modern, machine-made marble; lots of dots inserted to look like like a sky of stars
Indian - antique, handmade German marble; dark and opaque, usually black, with overlaid groups of color bands; usually white, and one or more other colors. Can also have many colors like blue, green and scarlet. Medium price range for antique marbles.
Mica - antique, handmade German marble; glassy to translucent with streaks or patches of mica, ranging from clear to misty. Value depends on glass color.
Steely - made of steel; a true steely (not just a ball-bearing) was made from a flat piece of steel folded into a sphere and shows a cross where the corners all come together.
Sulphide - antique, handmade German marble; large (1.25 to 3+ inch) clear glass sphere with a small statuette or figure inside. Most common are domesticated animals such as dogs, cats, cows, etc.; then wild animals; human figures are scarce; inanimate objects such as a train or pocket watch are very rare and command high prices. The interior figures are made of white clay or kaolin, and appear a silvery color due to light refraction. A sulphide with a colored-glass sphere, or with a painted figure inside, is also very rare and brings a high price. Like other types of antique marbles, sulphides have been reproduced and faked in large quantities.
Tiger- Clear with orange/ yellow stripes
Swirly - is a common marble made out of glass with one swirly color.


  1. LOUMANAL LOUMANAL, 4 years ago
    Thank you for this fascinating description of things I played with in my youth! BOB
  2. valentino97 valentino97, 4 years ago
    Thanks for your expertise. I'm going to print this out and put it in my vintage research binder. Did you really find them all digging or is that a slang term I need to start using? "I was digging and found these bakelite buckles...."
  3. Manikin Manikin, 4 years ago
    I love marbles I don't know why but the have always fascinated me since a child . I saved a few I have dug up and did buy a few artist ones but by far a collection like yours is wonderful because you saved them for the future by finding them. I love all marbles just not the clay ones ! Thanks for all the info too :-)

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