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Valuing Milk Glass
Many collectors enjoy looking for milk glass. It's the beautiful opaque white glassware that is made into everything from bowls and mugs to candle holders and barber bottles. This guide will help you identify and value a few of the milk glass pieces made by Westmoreland, Fenton, Indiana, and other glassware companies.
Take care, however, not to confuse milk glass with platonite glass. It was patented by Hazel Atlas Glass Co. in 1936 but used as early as the 1920s in making both dinnerware sets and a variety of kitchen glass pieces.
As a collector, it's important to do your research on any piece as values can change regularly. For the most up to date information on milk glass selling prices, be sure to check a number of online venues such as Ruby Lane, Etsy, and run completed item searches on eBay.Continue to 2 of 11 below.
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Ranger Joe Milk Glass Cereal Bowl Set
This fun set from the 1950s includes a Ranger Joe Ranch Mug and Ranger Joe Round-Up Bowl in milk glass with red lettering. It was also made with blue lettering. Had this set featured one of the more popular cowboy heroes such as Hopalong Cassidy or the Lone Ranger, it would have sold for a higher price.
- Condition: Excellent with minor wear to the red lettering.
- Size: Bowl 5 inches in diameter
- Selling Price: $12 (Morphy Auctions, 2013)
More recent online sales show similar asking and sale prices. However, sometimes a single piece from this set will sell for around $10 as well.Continue to 3 of 11 below.
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McKinley Milk Glass Plate
This early milk glass political plate features the profile of President William McKinley. It was made somewhere around 1900 and has an ornate open-work rim.
- Condition: Very good to excellent considering that cold-painted decor on items like these is very easily scratched and worn away.
- Size: 9 1/4 inches in diameter
- Selling Price: $30 (Morphy Auctions, 2013)
There are similar plates circulating as well in the political Americana market. One is another portrait of an apparently younger McKinley, one with McKinley and President Theodore Roosevelt, and another of William Jennings Bryan. Each is smaller than this piece.
The plates with the two presidents typically have a blue or green glaze around the outer edges and are just 5 1/2 inches in diameter. One of these sold in 2017 for around $20.Continue to 4 of 11 below.
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Milk Glass Barber Bottle With Painted Poppies
This is an example of a Victorian barber bottle. It includes the stopper, is decorated with hand-painted poppies, and inscribed "Water." This type of bottle was most often used to hold hair tonics concocted by barbers in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
- Condition: Excellent
- Size: 9 1/2 inches tall
- Selling Price: $120 (Morphy Auctions, 2012)
Milk glass bottles of this style and quality continue to sell for about the same price. There is a great variety available in different sizes. In general, they seem to hold their value well.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Jackie Robinson Baseball Glass
Baseball adds to the value of many antiques and collectibles. The more famous the player, the more desirable it is, too. That's why this tall glass made of milk glass commanded such a high price. It depicts the legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson on the front of the glass holding a bat with a facsimile signature and "Champion of Baseball" on the back.
- Condition: Near mint with no chipping or wear.
- Size: 5 inches tall
- Selling Price: $240 (Morphy Auctions, 2011)
Since this glass depicts the renowned Jackie Robinson, it usually sells higher than similar milk glass examples featuring other players. More recent auctions for this same piece show it selling slightly lower than this one did without the buyers premium. And yet, it has great appeal to both baseball and milk glass collectors, so this could fluctuate with either market.Continue to 6 of 11 below.
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Fenton Daisy and Button Hat
Delicate and tiny, at just 2 or 3 inches, these molded glass top hats are fun collectibles. They are sometimes sold as toothpick holders, bud vases, or "whimsies" if a particular purpose cannot be identified.
The glass hats came in a variety of colors, but most of these are transparent and not actual milk glass. While this 3-inch example was made by Fenton, other manufacturers produced them for decades around the turn of the 20th century as well.
- Selling Price: $10–$15 (eBay, 2006)
Depending on the size and pattern, the milk glass top hats continue to sell for around this price. It is important to be aware that reproductions are in circulation as well. Some of these sell for the same price as the originals.Continue to 7 of 11 below.
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Westmoreland Dolphin Compote with Matching Candlesticks
Whenever a matching set is kept together, the value—both aesthetically and monetarily—increases. This matched seashell footed compote bowl and candle holders were made by Westmoreland glass and feature classical dolphins (which actually look more like fish).
These mid-century sets are akin to glass console sets with low bowls that were popular during the Depression era.
- Selling Price: $50 (Austin Antique Mall, 2008)
More recent sales of similar sets have seen an increase from this one. It is not uncommon to see sellers listing the individual compote or the two candlesticks for $80 to $100.Continue to 8 of 11 below.
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Indiana Harvest Grape Tumbler
Drinking glasses are also known as tumblers among glassware enthusiasts. This particular piece was made by Indiana Glass Co. in the Harvest Grape pattern. They can often be found as a full set with six to eight tumblers and sometimes with a matching pitcher.
- Selling Price: $6 (eBay, 2006)
The sale price on a single tumbler of this pattern has remained constant. When you can find a full set in excellent condition, you might expect to pay around $40. With the pitcher, the set might sell for $75 to $100.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Westmoreland Ivy Ball
A magnificent conversation piece, these glass balls are very popular among collectors. They have a specific purpose, too. To grow an ivy ball, water fills the cavity of the ball and ivy cuttings are placed through the opening in the top. The ivy grows around the ball in a topiary fashion.
These were made in a variety of different types of glass and by many different glass companies, including Westmoreland, during the 1940s and '50s. They are typically 3 1/2 inches in diameter and just over 6 inches tall.
- Selling Price: $8 (eBay, 2008)
Since this particular piece sold, the ivy balls have seen an increased interest, particularly among collectors who love a unique vintage piece for decor. More recent listings show that their value has risen to around $35.Continue to 10 of 11 below.
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Westmoreland Owl Toothpick Holder
Figural toothpick holders were popular mid-century, including those made by Westmoreland like this adorable owl. They are typically 3 inches tall and just over 2 inches wide. Many different glassware manufacturers made them in a wide variety of colors, including green and blue transparent or semi-opaque glass.
- Selling Price: $15 (eBay, 2008)
The milk glass owls seem to be holding steady on their value, with many continuing to sell for $10 to $15.Continue to 11 of 11 below.
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Westmoreland Beaded Grape Covered Square Dish
This pattern is similar to Westmoreland's Paneled Grape, but with beaded edges. Covered dishes, or compotes, like this one were popular in the 1950s and '60s. They were made by many different manufacturers in an array of colors.
This particular piece has a slightly taller foot and a more squared bowl than many others. You'll find a number of these milk glass compotes that sit closer to the table and have a rectangular dish shape.
- Selling Price: $20 (eBay, 2006)
The value of footed milk glass compotes remains in the $20 to $30 range. Yet, it's easy to find them even lower than that.