To help fight fraudulent sales of glass on eBay, we thought it might be useful to understand some of the ways dishonest dealers manipulate buyers into thinking they are getting a piece of first-run or original glass (e.g., Fire King), when in fact the buyer is getting either a reissue of the original, a cheap reproduction, or a fake. We offer a few tips for protecting yourself. We hope this helps.
WHAT IS REISSUED GLASS
Glass is called reissued glass when it is made in the original company's molds. For example, "Fire King Charm (Fire King Charm)" was a pattern made in jadite and other colors by the Anchor Hocking Glass Co. in the 50's. In the late 90's, Hocking started making some of the Charm pieces in crystal (not an original color for Charm). They called the reissue "Union Square" (Hocking Union Square). It is a true reissue by the original company. Hocking only made it for about 4 years. There is always confusion when there is a reissue. Honest dealers identify this as a reissue and usually try to give an approximate date of the reissue. Some dealers will still insist on calling the new glass "Charm," rather than "Union Square," and create an illusion that it is original. The more fraudulent seller says that this new piece is an unheard of, extremely rare piece of Charm that they found at an estate sale (the ultimate cop-out statement), and that's why it's not in the reference books.
Actually, in some instances a reissue can become valuable in time, if it is made by the original company and it has has a short run. Crystal Union Square might be one of these. However, many reissues never gain the popularity of the original run, such as 1976 reissue of Madrid by Federal, or Hocking's revival of Manhattan, known as Park Avenue.
What if the original molds got sold?
If the molds have been sold and a new company starts making the same pattern, it is called a "reissue by _________ (the new company's name). For example, we, The Anchor Hocking Glass Museum, have 80 Anchor Hocking molds that have been given to the museum or purchased by us from former employees or their families. We also have batch formulas for Anchor Hocking's Forest Green, Royal Ruby Glass and others, some of which we have published:
Anchor Hocking's Forest Green Glass by Philip Hopper (sometimes to get these links to work better, after they open, click on the "Search Item and Description" box, and this will expand the search).
If we began making glass in the original molds, using the original formulas, we still could NOT call it Anchor Hocking Forest Green glass. Our glass would be called a "reissue by the Museum." If we called the new glass we were making "Anchor Hocking Forest Green Glass," it would be misleading and fraudulent. I'm sure that Anchor Hocking's Legal Dept. would have something to say about it!!!!
When reissued glass is sold on eBay, this all becomes very confusing, because company's often sold their molds to other companies. For example, some of Westmoreland's old molds were purchased by a company named Barnes glass (Edna Barnes). Barnes removed the WG mark and put their trademark on it - a B in a circle: Barnes glass. Barnes then subcontracted with Mosser company to make their glass for them: Mosser glass. What do you call this glass? Since Mosser is actually making the glass, it could be called "a reissue by Mosser," but since Barnes has their mark on it and is contracting with Mosser, it most likely should be called "a reissue by Barnes." What it can't ever be called is Westmoreland Glass. WG has been out of business for years and had nothing to do with the production of this new glass. However, the Westmoreland name is much older and better known than Barnes or Mosser, so a lot of this reissued glass is being sold as Westmoreland on eBay. (We've noticed a shift to calling the new imported jadeite Westmoreland, since the heat has been on for calling it Fire King or the other earlier companies).
WHAT IS A REPRODUCTION?
A reproduced piece of glass is an imitation of an original pattern. The intent is malicious from the start. The motive is money. Many of the glass reproductions are made in SE Asia and imported by wholesale glass warehouses. Reproductions abound on eBay. In the past two years there has been an explosion of reproduced items, especially jadite. For example, see reproduced jadite Mayfair (Open Rose) pitcher, or jadite Mayfair (Open Rose) cookie jar. The Mayfair pitcher and cookie jar are appearing in jadite, cobalt blue, ruby, forest green and amythest. Hocking didn't make Mayfair in any of those colors. Mayfair was made in pink, blue, green and yellow. Be careful of the 37 oz pink pitcher, as it has been reproduced as well. To our knowledge, only the 37 oz pitcher has been reproduced, not the 60 or 80 oz ones.
Look for a much crisper pattern on the original, and ask the dealer to send you a picture of the bottom. The original has a distinct Hocking circle on the bottom. Again, the more dishonest dealer often uses the tactic of calling the odd colors a "rare" variation of the Mayfair (or Open Rose) pattern. Many times you will see a pitcher and 4 glasses. These are almost always reproductions.
Reproduced jadite items are being called Fire King, McKee and Jeanette, and some of the pieces are so closely copied that we have done a double take, especially when the new "beehive" drippings jars and salt/pepper shakers first came out. jeanette shaker. The real ones have a distinct "bead" of glass around the neck that the lid screws down to. The new ones have a shorter neck and no bead. The lids on the new ones are short, flat and shiney. The old originals "balloon" out at the top and were duller.
Also, be careful of McKee Roman Arch shakers which are coming out of the woodwork (Roman Arch shakers). Note added 10/19/07: The reproduction Roman Arch Shakers now have two new versions - red dots on white, and jadeite with scottie dogs. Rosso's have a whole line of items with a scottie dog and for Christmas, a cardinal, decaled on them.
We saw a reproduction of a McKee refrigerator dish that had us really confused until we began to notice small variations from the original. There is a good "Guide" in this area of eBay written about the differences in the McKee pieces.
Fraudulent dealers shamelessly advertise these as being made by the older glass companies, when they know very well they have bought these items from wholesale importers. Of course they always say they were found at estate sales. Luckily, these greedy bottom dwellers glut eBay with their cheap reproductions and it becomes readily obvious that there are way to many of these items to be authentic. This is a good clue to watch for. Also, find a dealer that you feel certain is selling reproduction items and watch what they are selling. This is how I find the latest import items!!! Those folks in TN have been especially helpful.
The problem is further compounded by eBay's lack of response to hundreds of glassware hobbyist, enthusiasts, authors, experts, and a whole hoard of knowledgeable eBayers who have tried to stop the more guilty perpetrators. That is why there are so many guides in the Pottery and Glass section dealing with fraud.
We have recently written an illustrated guide to spotting fakes and fraudulent auctions on eBay, the problem has been so ignored by eBay (Guidebook on Fraudulent Misleading, and Confusing auctions on eBay). In it we are able to show many of the jadite items that are reproduced to resemble original glassware. Many of these reproductions are also made in delphite, forest green, royal ruby, cobalt blue, etc.
WHAT IS A FAKE?
A fake is an item that was never made by the company the dealer claims made it - e.g., Fire King, Jeanette, McKee. The fake may be close enough in some characteristics to seem to be made by the company. Good examples of a fake are the new jadite ribbed ball juice pitchers (jadite ribbed pitcher) and the jadite melon ball pitcher (jadite melon pitcher). Since Anchor Hocking never made these pieces, the seasoned collector knows the difference, but the newer collector is a prime target. Hocking made a melon-style pitcher, called "Pillar Optic" in ivory and crystal, but never in jadite. The fraud continues today, - just search those two links and you will find those pitchers listed as Fire King, Anchor Hocking, or miscategorized in the Fire King glassware category to "mislead" the buyer into thinking it is Fire King. (Note: if the link produces no finds, click on the box marked "search title and description" to expand the search.)
Hocking did make a "swirl tilt ball pitcher" in jadite, royal ruby, crystal, and ivory. The museum has a very, very rare pink one. Only the Royal Ruby one is common. Search under Royal Ruby swirl pitcher (royal ruby swirl pitcher) and you will see what the "real" Anchor Hocking swirl tilt ball pitcher should look like!
*****We just found an ad from Gibson Overseas, Inc., which shows the new melon ball pitcher, along with some other jadeite items that have appeared on eBay. We now know who made it. Gibson didn't come into being until 1979. They made the melon/pillar pitcher somewhere after 1999 (and that isn't vintage by most standards!!!).
The sneakier dealers puts the fakes in the Fire King category, but never mention Fire King in the title or in the body of the auction!!! I confronted one dealer just recently on her auction and she said she had identified the pitcher using the Keller and Ross jadite/delphite book. I wonder why she didn't cite the book in the auction to substantiate her claim? Answer: It isn't the same pitcher!! Look for items put in a category like McKee, but auctions that never mention the word McKee otherwise. This is almost assuredly a reproduction or fake.
A great variety of fake jadite jadeite kitchen glassware abounds on eBay. New syrup pitchers, reamers, salt/pepper shakers, cannisters, drippings jars, and cakeplates are being auctioned as old jadeite. Our friend Rick Hirte calls some of these things "Fantasy Items" they are so far from the style of the original companies.
The lowest of the lowest fraudulent dealer is the one who labels every piece of glass anything that sounds good. There are some dealers who consistently call their items Heisey, Cambridge, Brilliant Glass, Fostoria, Murano, or whatever it takes to sell. The dealer always claims it was bought at an estate sale, and when confronted, states that the estate sale called it _________(whatever name they gave it). Of course they never put the latter part in the auction.
I ran an auction specifically to reveal one dealer's fraudulent behavior concerning an Anchor Hocking Fairfield egg plate which she was calling Fostoria and selling for $50-100 at times. EBay would do nothing, and they shut my auction down 3 times, but she finally stopped listing it.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF?
If you want an original piece of glass and don't want to end up with a reissue, reproduced, fake or fantasy item, it is best to invest in a good book or go to the library and do a little research on your favorite glass: Books on Westmoreland, Books on Fire King, Jadite books by Keller and Ross, or Depression Glass books by Mauzy.
Search eBay "Guides and Reviews." There are a large number of articles written about fraudulent glass sales in many different categories (e.g., Fire King, McKee, Murano, etc.).
Always ask questions if there is any doubt. Ask the seller what book the item is described in, and if there are any company marks on the item. Most kitchen glassware from the earlier companies has been thoroughly documented. Ask the seller to guarantee the item to be genuine, and if you can get a full refund should you find out that it isn't authentic. Then you have it in writing through eBay correspondence.
Search for wholesale glass sites online and you will easily find places selling pages and pages of the imported glass and pottery items that are currently on eBay. I just saw the August release of new imported items on one glass site and I suspect eBay will be flooded with Keystone cobalt beater bowls very soon. Clue: search the internet for Helen and Philip Rosso Wholesale Glass and Pottery. You will see all the new imports, as well as the NEW Mosser and Fenton. There are brand new Black Memorabilia - cookie jars, cast iron items, figurines. All of these items are being sold on eBay as "old," "Vintage," and "McCoy."
If you are a new glass collector, stick to pieces that carry a company mark or logo until you feel more confident in your knowledge. Do some eBay searches and see if dozens of the same piece are appearing all at once in a variety of colors (e.g., Reamers). If there is a lot of difference in the description of a specific item (some are calling the same reamer Fire King, some call it Westmoreland, some call it Mosser), then the chances are high it is a fake.
Complain to eBay!! Did you know that at the bottom of every auction is a button called "Report this item?" Click on it and a menu comes up to select from. There is a category for fraudulent listing. Click, click away!! If eBay gets flooded with reports of fraud to the extent that it is flooded with reproduction and fake items, they may get tired of the fraud and do something about it!!!
Lastly, join an online glass group! It's loads of fun and you meet wonderful people there - I found a husband!! I learned more by belonging to an online group than I did reading books! I had a group of 80-90 people that I could ask a question and immediately get an answer. You then have the power of 90 people saying it's new or legitimate. Ebay has a very active glassware chat group.
We hope this has helped with the confusing world of reproduction and fake glass. If you have suggestions for adding to, or improving this guide, please let us know.
IF YOU FOUND THIS GUIDE HELPFUL, PLEASE VOTE "YES" BELOW TO HELP US KEEP SPREADING THE WORD. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!
IF YOU ARE ONE OF THE SCAMMERS WHO SELLS WHOLESALE IMPORTED GLASS AS GENUINE FIRE KING, McKEE OR JEANETTE, PLEASE VOTE "NO" TO HELP US FIGURE OUT HOW MANY OF YOU THERE ARE!!!
Barbara and Philip Hopper
Anchor Hocking Glass Museum