Fenton Art Glass Identification and Value Guide

Fenton Art Glass

For more than 100 years, Fenton art glass was the largest manufacturer of handmade colored glass in the United States. Fenton glass works are renowned for innovative glass colors as well as hand-painted decorations on pressed and blown glassware.

The many different colors were the work of Jacob Rosenthal, a famous glass chemist who is known for developing chocolate and golden agate glass. In 1907, the Fenton company was the first to introduce carnival glass, still a popular collector's item. Other leading collectibles included hobnail glass (with raised spheres on the surface on the glass) and milk glass, an opaque glass. It is called "milk" glass since the most popular color was white.

In 2011, the company closed its glassmaking facility. Since its closing, Fenton glass molds are being used by another glassmaker in Ohio to produce "Fenton" stamped products and collectibles, which continue to be sold in the Fenton Gift Shop in Williamstown, West Virginia.

As with most collectibles, factors that affect resale price include the rarity (a limited run), the year of manufacture, the condition of the piece, and the color variety.

Pieces that sell on the lower end of the spectrum may show wear marks or may have a crack or chip. If you buy online before the purchase, make sure you ask about any signs of wear and tear.

Keep in mind, online buying does come with shipping costs. Depending on the item, shipping might cost $10 to $25 more. For this reason, estate sales, garage sales, flea markets, and antique shops can sometimes get you the best deal on an item.

Fenton Rose Pastel Hobnail 4 1/2-inch Vase

Fenton Rose Pastel Hobnail 4 1/2" Vase
ca. 1954-1957 Fenton Rose Pastel Hobnail 4 1/2" Vase. -Pamela Wiggins

A Fenton hobnail 4 1/2-inch vase can go for $15 to $50. The older it is, the higher in cost. Opalescent or iridescent glass can be worth more.

Hobnail glass was popular in Victorian times, then, it was called "dewdrop glass." When Fenton introduced it in 1939, it became a hit. Pre-1958 Fenton milk glass is said to be easily distinguishable because it is less dense, less opaque, than their milk glass made from 1958 onwards. Also, the Fenton logo was introduced on milk glass from 1974 onwards, with a tiny number "8" below the word Fenton for pieces made during the 1980s and a tiny "9" for pieces from the 1990s.

To verify your piece is a genuine antique (prior to 1960s), look for the "ring of fire" by holding it up to a natural light source. Older milk glass was made with iridized salts and should produce a halo of iridescent reds, blues, and greens in the sun.

Fenton Autumn Acorns Bowl

Fenton Autumn Acorns Bowl. - Pamela Wiggins

Fenton's carnival glass was first marketed as the "golden sunset iridescent assortment" in catalogs. In 1907 when these pieces first sold, they cost 85 cents. A Fenton autumn acorns bowl averages for about $65. You can find some selling for as much as $150. 

The rage for carnival glass in the U.S. continued for ten years (1908 to about 1918 ). When the market for carnival glass slumped in the twenties, lower-quality carnival glass was given away as prizes at carnivals, hence the name.

In online descriptions now, it is either called "carnival glass" or "marigold." Earlier Fenton specimens, up through 1920, can fetch a high price. 

A clue that lets you know something about the actual age of the carnival glass is the imperfections you may find. If you notice embedded tiny air bubbles or carbon dirt specs that can be a sign of older carnival glass. These imperfections do not affect the aesthetics, in fact, these can bring up the cost a little by vouching for the glass art's authenticity.

Fenton Rose Crest Cornucopia Candleholder

Fenton Rose Crest Cornucopia Candleholder
ca. 1946-1948 Fenton Rose Crest Cornucopia Candleholder. -Pamela Wiggins

A Fenton cornucopia candle holder can go for $20 to $30. If you have a pair, you can charge a little more. Some pairs can sell from $50 to $100. And, if you have the matching bowl, you can sell the three-piece set for upwards of $100.

Fenton Crimped Bowl with Dolphins

Fenton Crimped Bowl with Dolphins
ca. 1929-1931 Fenton Crimped Bowl with Dolphins. -Pamela Wiggins

A Fenton crimped bowl with dolphins can be used as a candy bowl or beautiful centerpiece for a Victorian-era home. You can find prices online ranging from $25 to $125. Certain colored glass, like cobalt blue, can fetch you a higher price or cost you more if you are the buyer.

Fenton Black Rose Bowl

Fenton Bowl - Black Rose
ca. 1953-1955 Fenton Bowl - Black Rose. -Pamela Wiggins

Fenton black rose bowls can sell online for $65 to $75. Prices fluctuate as demand increases. If you hold on to your Fenton glassware and check back frequently, you may find the price can go up to $100 or $115 for the same piece several months later.

Fenton Cranberry Hobnail Vase

Fenton Cranberry Hobnail Vase
ca. early 1980s Fenton Cranberry Hobnail Vase. -Pamela Wiggins

A Fenton cranberry hobnail vase can go for $20 to $40 depending on the size. Another factor that can bring up the cost is if the piece has the maker's mark or retains the maker sticker.

Fenton Orange Tree Compote Footed Dish

Fenton Orange Tree Compote Footed Dish
Carnival Glass Fenton Orange Tree Compote Footed Dish. -Pamela Wiggins

Depending on the year it was made, if you have a Fenton orange tree compote footed dish, you can get $10 to $30 if you were to sell (or buy) this dish online. 

Fenton Butterflies Bon Bon Dish

Fenton Marigold Butterflies Bon Bon Dish
Carnival Glass Fenton Marigold Butterflies Bon Bon Dish. -Pamela Wiggins

You can find a Fenton butterflies bon bon dish online for $10 or for $50. If the piece is in never used and in mint condition, then the cost mounts. 

Fenton Daisy and Button Hat 3-inch

Fenton Daisy and Button Hat. - Pamela Wiggins

The 3-inch Fenton Daisy and Button Hat are sometimes sold as toothpick holders, bud vases, or "whimsies." The pattern on the vase is called "Daisy Button," made of hobstars and starbursts. You can find these vases selling online for $10 to $30. The highest-priced ones are made of a mix of transparent and opaque glass and were made circa 1910.

Fenton Smooth Rays with Scale Band Marigold Bowl

Fenton Smooth Rays with Scale Band Bowl. - Pamela Wiggins

A Fenton marigold bowl with a distinctive scale band pattern can tell you something about the age of the piece. Certain years used different banded patterns. There are stippled rays, smooth rays, and medallion designs. Collectors determine the value of one pattern over another depending on the supply available for resale.