How much monetary bite does 19th century sandwich-glass figurine have?
Question: This dark-purple glass bear jar was tucked away in my late grandmother’s drawer. No one in the family knows anything about it, except that it is old. A dealer told me it was probably “sandwich glass.” What does that mean, and how old is it? Is it better than a garage-sale item, and what is the value?
Answer: Your glass bear is a pomade jar and was made by the Boston & Sandwich Glass Co. sometime between 1850 and 1870. It is one of the many types of whimsical jars with lidsmade in the form of animal or reptile figures.
There was a time when glass produced by the company, in Sandwich, Mass., was known as the “Baccarat of America” for its lacy, pressed-glass pieces, dating back to 1826.
However, during its 65 years of operation, many other techniques were used, including blown-molded, cut overlay, ruby-stained and blown-molded opal. Its many forms included whale-oil lamps, vases, lacy-pattern cup plates, and figural candle sticks. The company also designed utilitarian objects such as jars and drawer knobs.
There were even toy versions made of adult-size pieces, in both colored and clear glass. Color always commands a higher price. Your bear could sell at auction for $200 or more.
To learn about your antique, send a photo, along with its history, size, any signatures and a self-addressed stamped envelope and $25, to Anne Gilbert, P.O. Box 740136, Boynton Beach, FL 33437.
This piece could be worth around $200 to a collectibles dealer.