Treasure Found?

Did you know that many vintage cereal boxes have worth? That cereal boxes are collectible?

Some of you may know that my husband and I moved this year and we dutifully packed box after box of collectibles and antiques. Unbeknownst to me, my husband had been flattening and saving cereal boxes for years, until now.

I was more than a bit surprised when I opened a heavy box to discover a 12″ stack of cereal boxes. My first thought was…..Is he nuts? I mean really, cereal boxes?

Always remember, though, that almost everything has a buyer. From cereal boxes to vintage paper punches and literally everything in between and so I started to research.

Kellogg’s “The Sponge Bob Squarepants Movie” cereal box, dated September 25, 2005, sold for $32.00 plus $7.35 shipping.

No, not yet vintage but very, very close.

Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, dated January 25, 1997, sold for $20.00 plus $7.20 shipping.

Well, this is going okay as I continue checking sales on cereal box after cereal box.

I found many of the boxes to be worth $6 or $7 but there were a few good ones in the pile. They will eventually all go on Ebay and I will try to remember to let you know which ones were truly winners and which were losers.

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American Brilliant Cut Glass; 1876 – 1917

American Brilliant cut glass in Starlight pattern

In about 1876, deposits of high grade silica were discovered in the United States.  This discover led to glass-making formulas that were a much higher grade than what was found in Europe at that time.  In addition, cutting wheels driven by natural gas were introduced which were a great improvement over the steam driven cutting wheels that had been the standard up until that time.  These two events changed the glass industry and brought about a period known as the Brilliant Period of American Cut Glass.

All glass that is slated to be decorated by cutting is known as lead crystal.  Glassmakers added up to 50% lead oxide which made the glass soft enough to cut without it shattering. The cuts are deep and sharp and reflect and refract the light in astonishing ways.  The surface of the glass is highly polished and the clarity of the lead crystal is stunning.  The glass is thick, up to 1/2″.

So, how do you recognize glass made from the American Brilliant Period? 

One of the best ways to learn about the Brilliant Period is to visit a show so that you can see and handle pieces in person.  If this is not possible, here are some tips for identifying American Brilliant.

Take a look at the glass itself.  Remember, not all quality is the same, even within the American Brilliant Period.  Hold the glass up out into the daylight, if possible, and look through it.  It will not distort the object you are looking at through the glass. It should be perfectly clear and there should be no swirls or shadows.

Study the cuts.  Cutting was done with a steel cutting wheel and then the marks from the wheel were erased using a stone wheel.  The design should be accurate, even and symmetrical. Hobs are uniform and in the case of rayed pieces, the rays are of equal length and meet precisely in the center.  The craftsmen who made these pieces were highly skilled and shortcuts were not taken.

Polishing was an art in itself.  It was hand-polished using a wooden wheel.  Now, true, some turned to acid polishing and if done correctly, could produce the same results.  The pattern should have sharp edges, not rounded.  Errors in using an acid bath resulted in a pebbly or grainy finish.

Lead crystal is heavy due to the lead content and you will immediately recognize the weight if you were to compare a leaded item with one that is not.  The lead crystal will also ring when tapped gently.  It is almost bell-like.

The United States Comes Into Its Own

The period from 1885 to 1905, American cut glass surpassed European glass cutting standards, with its own style; complex and dramatic.  No more was there one or two motifs that covered the piece but intricate designs that were truly a signature of American Brilliant.

The use of a long-wave black light in a dark room will also help you to confirm that what you have is cut glass from the Brilliant Period.  Because of the manganese used in old glass to neutralize the iron, it will fluoresce green. Modern glass will not…it will be pink or purple.

Shop for Cut Glass in our store.

Daye is a seasoned collectible and antique dealer and collector. She not only shares much of her research but also anecdotes about her life and adventures. You can read more about A Day in the Life here. She also hosts JunkboxTreasures which is a research site.

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New Beginnings

Daye Salander

This year my husband and I made a huge change – we moved from the Seattle area to Dexter, Missouri. It took almost six months to pack and 23,000 pounds later we were on our way East.

I won’t even go into the trip itself for it was a trip thru hell and back but we made it, finally, and the movers deposited over 500 boxes of our stuff in the garage and house and yes, we are still digging out.

It’s time to get back to work though and I’m so looking forward to it. I took a pretty good hiatus from collectibles and antiques but that is behind me…Yay!

Of course, as luck would have it, my blog on vintage was about 10 years old and somehow thru transitioning to another server, I lost the blog. Honestly, that truly upsets me because it got good traffic and it was established. Guess not any more for this is my first post on my new blog.

I will be updating old blog posts and re-posting them here as well as doing new research. I will also be working on my research website which is along with my new store which will be opening soon.

I look forward to hearing from new friends and old.

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