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California Sulphides


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I have some good material on these. It'll take me a bit to dig it out and summarize. I was hoping someone who knows the situation better than I would beat me to the punch.

But I do have some good info. I'll be back.

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My info will be from Baumann's Collecting Antique Marbles and from a scientific study reported in Antique & Collectors Reproduction News.

I'm not aware of any particularly strong controversy surrounding them. I thought that they were generally believed to be modern.

Anyone have a pic?

It'll take me awhile to get my notes together on this. I'm on my way out of the house now so can't even start yet. I definitely won't be offended if someone scoops me with the facts.

Later gators! -s

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Let me guess. some rare figures and colors started surfacing in the early 90's and collectors paid huge amount of money for them. 10's of thousands of dollars were exchanged in a short period of time and then someone figured out they were new construction.

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Let me guess. some rare figures and colors started surfacing in the early 90's and collectors paid huge amount of money for them. 10's of thousands of dollars were exchanged in a short period of time and then someone figured out they were new construction.

Fairly close - except that people were paying thousands for them as recently as last Fall, IIRC. Most handmade people new they were suspect as soon as they came out. I handled two of them several years ago.

They were "sponsored". Some of use know who the sponsor is. An artist didn't just cook them up on his own.

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Fairly close - except that people were paying thousands for them as recently as last Fall, IIRC. Most handmade people new they were suspect as soon as they came out. I handled two of them several years ago.

They were "sponsored". Some of use know who the sponsor is. An artist didn't just cook them up on his own.

Are you thinking of the marbles made by Norbert Geitner?

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could someone please explain the controversy over california sulphides. i checked the archives but couldn't find anything. thanks, jack

Hi Jack. :-)

Right or wrong, this is what I was remembering -- not so much a controversy over California sulphides. More a controversy about modern sulphides in general.

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Without going into the facets of this subject adnausium for the Scientific tests were considerable and only conclusive in that they made a determination that they were not 19th Century Sulphides. All the arguments against them again aimed at proving this one point. There's no doubt about that. I would say that there's nothing wrong about them being made in the 20th Century and there's no reason why they couldn't have been made as early as the 1930s/40s/50 as there is literature in the field of marbles stating that people collected marbles that early(Well, of course!) and also knew the comparative rarity of certain Sulphides. It doesn't take much imagination to realize that a glass maker with a marble interest couldn't have knocked out these unusual Sulphides.

I want to see ironclad documentation that gives up the person who made them especially if anything like fraud was their motivation.

I thought it was a crime at the time the Sulphides first arrived on the scene that not too long afterwards Rolf Wald was accused/suspected of having made them. There isn'

t a contemporary marble maker with more integrity. It was crazy the circumstances and the bad blood going back 'n' forth over these marbles.

I might add that some of the finest and most knowledgeable people in the field of marbles who have legendary collections consider the marbles legitimate. At the same time there were other equally as respected people in the field of marbles who considered them fraudulent.

Unfortunately the matter is ugly even today.

Re. Paul's and the ACRN's results and conclusions they are really one in the same in their Experiment source. Other separate test were done that in fact contradicted and questioned the earlier tests. I was at the Reynoldsburg OH marble meet the days that Paul was passing out copies of the ACRN newsletter(June 1994) with the article regarding the earlier tests. I truly understand Paul's deep difficulty with these marbles as the sulphide as a marble is his baby. I would feel hurt and doubtful, being he, not only because of my love for the marbles but my respect for the marble and my concern for the established types. I should probably make a Disclaimer here and state that I have never particularly warmed to sulphides. I find them a bit of a contrived marble. Hey! We all have out favorites!

Anyway, I didn't intend to go on like this but when I get started on the subject I get a little crazy! I need at least one example for some seriously planned/intended Destructive Analysis to be done at New York University by a noted Glass Professor. I would like to see current state-of-the-art brought to bear on these marbles. I do not believe that has truly been done yet even with the tests that saw it both ways. Even the MCSA in their official newsletter kept repeating that the matter was inconclusive. I believe it was stated as such(inconclusive) in their book treatment as well. Paul, of course, didn't hold back one iota in declaring his feelings about them....it was classic!

Anyway, enuff for now. David

P.S. I have practically all the Tests, the articles, the newsletters that touched on the subject all saved from the period subsequent to their arrival at the Los Angeles Marble Meet. Willing to send copies to seriously interested parties or anyone who would care to upload them for perusal. Personally I find the whole matter at this date inconclusive. Like I said, "Show me the money!" Meaning, show me your culprit who did these and was motivated fraudulently.

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Actually numerous locales were postured re. the provenance of the marbles: California where they first burst on the scene big time, Florida, the major Antique Meet in Brimfield, MA, Germany, and on and on. I think people started making up there own derivation information. You see something like this all the time on eBay even with full fledged legitimate marbles. Some basically non-marble person will get say some decent Akro marbles of particular distinction and as if it's epidemic they'll catch the compulsion to make up some haywire story about their acquisition. More often than not this is done with marbles of little or no distinction at all. Bloody amazing! David

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David, I'm really glad you replied to this, Thank you!!

I never really got involved with the CA Sulphides... Not only do I share your opinion of sulphides in general, but that whole controversy was WAYYYY over my financial head... I can sympathize with the same emotion as I do with the investors in the Bernie Madoff case. But, I'm NOT in their league!!! (Sometimes there are perks to that!!)

But, I was Bev's "vent" through it... I think I've sub-consciously "forgotten" a lot of it, because it was just such a terrible time!!

Of all the people still on most of the chat boards, I think you, Lloyd & I are probably the only ones who were "there" enough to be able to comment on it... And, like I said, I've blocked a lot of it out...

I have to admit... I would love to come across one that I could afford... Just to "have" one...

I think that's why they may be selling for a lot of money. Because the whole incident had such an impact, they have become "historical" in themselves!!

There was a short window of time when I probably could have gotten one for nothing (If I could catch it before it hit me!! LOL) But now... They may have created their own market.

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This thread should also not get confused with the most recent sulphide debacle. Craig Snider last year warned of sulphides being sold from Germany through ebay that Hansel had commissioned years ago but let the deal drop and the artist getting stuck with all the marbles.

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I was thankfully one of those who got to enjoy Bev. Brule's marathon phone calls and we sort of agreed to disagree re. the 1994+ Sulphide controversy. Oh, good point Clyde letting people know that this is an entirely different matter than the Lausha sulphides reproduced only a couple years ago and that sold for multiple thousands of dollars on eBay. I still have my notes on that Repro Symposium I did a few times back then including the examples I brought to it. Cathy Runyan-Svacina attended one of those sessions. I do consider it a crime the Lausha sulphide matter, the Peltier Comic Box repros and the Marble Tournament Metals all at this instigation of Hansel De Sousa. Hard to imagine what he could have been thinking. David P.S. As usual on the weekends I'll be out of here except for a small window early Sunday morning.

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The repro comic boxes are at least stamped the number of that with the number of the box. If someone buys those not knowing that they were not repro they need to study more. On the medals, I believe most if not all original medals were not made in silver. The silver repro medals have the "sterling" mark on them. This at least helps seperate the them from the old. The Lauscha sulphides are pure deceiving. No mark to identify fake. What's the artist going to do? Not sell them? Destroy them? Of course they're going to get sold with the proviso "I dont know much about marbles."

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It is very wise for someone to make sure they have facts before accusing individuals of something they do not know for sure. It is called hearsay and spreading it is something usually done by old ladies at the bridge table. Some folks get taken to court for less.

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