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This question was asked on LOM

Refering to a CAC slag.

The question I came away from the BMCC show with is in

the rant I just posted

What is the value of a mintish one?

Now that's a funny question!

I don't want to rain on any ones parade, but.

Having just spent 3 days at the Rare Gem & Mineral show.

aka known as the BMCC show.

If it isn't MINT it isn't worth &@%#.

At least that's what I took away from the show.

A marble with 1 ONE factory flaw this size of

fly poop!

Is now considered less than mint & not worthy of entering a collection.

As collectors & preservers of history ( marble collecting )

from my point of view.

Have become so critical of CONDITION> That, when looking at a mib

any mib.

First we are struck with the colors the configuration of the pattern.

That's a GOOD thing.

Then after the wow & the ooh!

Comes what? A 20x loop and a light brighter than any made

in the 1800's to the 40's 50's.

The time frame the mibs in question are from.

At that point the loop & light are used to look for?

The tiniest of flaws wether it be as made in the factory.

Or the slightest subsurface sparkle. That may or may not have been

in the glass from the factory. Or caused on the playground when

one mib collides with another. It may or may not be a factory as made

blow out. Or could it be that God forbid,the damage was caused on the playing field??

It matters not the cause of these flaws or minor imperfections that appear

at 20x 's what the naked eye can see. To the perfectionist.

A flaw is what is it is. A flaw.

Rendering what, at first, was a thing of beauty & a toy, worthless.

Not worthy of entering a pristine collection. So as to not drag it down to the level

of mediocre. Reguardless of the price?

Is it that we have lost the ability to see the beauty in these glass spheres & accept them as what

they are?

Or have we become so critically minded that we are blinded,only to the $$$ value.

of these toy's?

So, when you ask the question. What do you think a near mint one is worth??

Make sure the person doesn't have his or her loop.

They aren't going to see it the same way you do.

Because one mans near mint, or mint minus. May be worthless.

By the way, I had a great time at the show. Saw some wonderful one of a kind mibs.

And in a few cases a few of a kind.

Saw some old & dear friends. And hopefully made a few new ones.

Of course that may change after I post this.

I do recall reading in a marble book.

When someone tells you that a few chips don't matter.

He has a few chipped marbles for sale!

Case in point.


Absolute mint is pretty strong ince it

does have a flaw.


It's just my observation.

Ya throw the dice & ya takes your chances.



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Ill go with,"It is what it is",refering to a factory flaw.Ill let the "value",based on condition,be determined by the customer.Most of the time,a "customer",is not so anal.Its only logical to me,becuase if someone is that hard core on the condition,they are probably not the person who is actualy buying.

If you only collect "perfect" marbles,I bet you dont have any.I personaly have never seen a "perfect" marble,by my own measure.Come to think of it,I have never seen a perfectly round marble,,,,,,,,,

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Most collectors are willing to accept more damage on the old handmade marbles than on the newer machine-made marbles. That's probably only because it's so hard to find any perfectly mint handmades (contemporaries aside). It's just supply and demand. As long as there's mint ones out there, that's going to be what collectors (the ones with the $) are after.

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Ill go with,"It is what it is",refering to a factory flaw.Ill let the "value",based on condition,be determined by the customer.Most of the time,a "customer",is not so anal.Its only logical to me,becuase if someone is that hard core on the condition,they are probably not the person who is actualy buying.

If you only collect "perfect" marbles,I bet you dont have any.I personaly have never seen a "perfect" marble,by my own measure.Come to think of it,I have never seen a perfectly round marble,,,,,,,,,

I have noticed this too in selling - only mint gets the top dollar - which is how it should be - I mean why should a marble with a chip get the same value as a marble that is pristine??? And mint is ranged from 9.0 to 10.0 and I have almost NEVER seen a 10.0 marble - they almost always have some as made defect or other surface flaws. esp if you get out the 20x loop -

I downgrade to 9.2 or so for tiny pinpricks and little hits if the glass is not missing and I do down grade for major as made anneals or pits because those detract from the surface beauty just as much as a regular chip does.

Most of the marbles that are available to collect at a decent price are non-mint examples that have some flaws and where do you draw the line? IMO - that is where the pattern and beauty of the marble comes into play - a non-mint Superman for instance with a dull straight ribboned plain pattern will get less that a non-mint one with a wild bold swirling pattern.

So the beauty of the marble does still come into play - at least as far as I have seen.

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This might be strange to most of you, but I actually prefer a marble that is not mint...I really want to see it has been used what it was made for (not completely damaged ofcourse, but a few chips, moons and scratches). Being an archaeologist I just love to see the wear that an object accumulated over the many years...for example, I like a medieval suit of armor where you can see the hits of swords and scars of battle more than armor that has stood there in the corner of a castle. And the same goes for marbles IMO.

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I'm not sure I could ascribe fully to the archeologist's affectionate attachment to certain damaged marbles but I sure as heck like BigJohn's marble with the crater. That's big enough to dive into. Of course 'as made' requires a measure of value adjustment; I sure as heck don't want to go to extremes with my "mint with an as made" comments previously. And while I've prided myself on primarily handling mint example machine mades I've never gone higher than 9.5 in my estimations and in fact prefer not to use the decimal system at all in grading. Most of my sales are by mail and I prefer to stick to "Full Return Privilege" for whatever reason. David

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I thought MARBLEMISER's 'stream of consciousness' thoughts were brilliant.

And, like him, admired David's energy-efficient approach as well.

Also thoroughly enjoyed JVVmarbles' viewpoint, because I 'saw the light' recently.

Was looking at the two marbles shown below, and thinking along the lines of "Gee, I

sure wish I could afford really interesting marbles in the shooter+ sizes I like in

NM or better condition!" But as I continued to look at them they kept looking

better. "They're shooters!", I thought. "If they didn't look like this, then

probably no one thought they were very good at it!" It's hard to explain, but I

had a lot more feeling for them after that lightbulb went off. :blush:


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I'm just back from Canton and I picked up a six great marbles and marbles don't have to be mint to be great. One was not mint in my judgement but would have expected it to be rationalized to mint if was offered on ebay. I'm sorry but a wet shiny brilliant surface with a small "nick and a pinprick" is not ever going to be mint in my judgement but they are listed that way as "MINT" all the time. I never used a loop on any of them including a 2" single pontil cloud with 13 lobes of suspended mica. I'm old school I guess but it just isn't mint if there is glass missing and I have far more marbles that are great keepers that aren't mint than are. A truly mint marble should demand a big premium and the problem is we are calling marbles mint that aren't and pricing them as mint. Of course I guess if I decided to sell them I'd call a whole lot more of mine mint :-) I hope this doesn't offend anyone and it is really directed more toward handmades. Bill

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I decided early on that most marbles which i wanted to bring home,would not be mint. For several reasons,that would limit very much what would be in my overall collection. Which would also limit my learning,it is a big plus to have examples in hand. It would take much more cash than i was willing to put out for only a very few examples. It would take many more years,effort and expense to find those few select ones. I decided that i could do with a lesser one until a better one come along that i could afford. Much of my collection has special memories,meaning,received as a gift,etc,and there are some which are a long way from mint range. But i wouldn't trade them for a mint one. I also see very very few that are mint under 20 power. This also depends on what mint means to you. I have seen marbles right off the end of the rolls have scratches,chips,etc,etc. So what is mint? I agree with Griff if mint is perfect,unmarred,is there such a marble? I usually have a loop in my room at shows but is used most for checking for fakes or reworked marbles. It did prove useful at the recent Canton OH show. This is all a decision every collector will have to make. There will always be collectors from one end to the opposite,especially in grading and what value a marble is worth to them. For me a near mint,good,even some collectiable are not worthless. I always see a lot more near mint marbles change hands than anything else. But of course the better the marble the higher the value. I wish mine were all mint and the very top value. But i have no plans of that ever happening. For me that would only be a dream and only that. Collect what you like,that you can find,and what you can afford.

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Sorrowful Slags gathered to sigh,

As Akro's and Pelter's all said goodbye,

The Handmade's shivered as Marble King's fell,

And Vitro, Jabo, and Master's grew still,

Together they marveled the circle was drawn,

CAC's gathered to scrap and to faun,

The Ravenswood's halted each shining with pride,

As children in laughter cast each one inside,

The weary were captured and pocketed quick,

The shooters and peewees withstood every lick,

As knuckles and knees grew dirty in fun,

The marbles all lived in the light of the sun,

Where passion and pleasure cast aside gain,

Sorrows rewarded in another new game,

Where marvelous magic mystically met,

And Marbles were Champions until the sun set!

Gathered in darkness they relived the day,

When Children in laughter brought them to play,

And huddled together some scuffed some worn,

The new ones in envy longed to be born,

Life for a marble in yon days of yore,

Were never intended to sit in a drawer,

Where prowlers, and glasses, and bright shining lights,

Looked for the young'uns who'd never seen light,

The cracked and the beaten, the battered in pride,

Were left for the landfills and all set aside

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My goodness! That was darn depressing but quite enlightening. David

Haven't written a poem in years! It was sad. But then so are the wounded solders of the marble ring, who are unworthy of the collectors drawers, and jars. Perhaps more verses will come to me.


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The game of marbles has to be one of the most illogical things ever invented. To produce something that adults value as works of art and are willing to pay good money for, then give them to kids, who bash them into each other, defies reason. If the kids truly valued them, once they won a prized marble, would they not set it aside, instead of further damaging it? Following that logic, the best marbles should have minimal damage. Seems to me that the kids value the game itself far more than the marbles. There's nothing wrong with that, but the marble-makers should have made cheap ones for the kids, and marketed the others for adults. Why didn't anyone think of that? I'm sure there must be good reason. Probably in the old days, the average person didn't have the $ to spend on such luxuries. All people did was work, work, work.

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Well wait a minute m!b$ - quite possibly some of the best examples were saved - and for that very reason - because they were so KEWL looking it would be the last marble to get into the fray - and hopefully strike a winning blow and go back in the pocket of the child admirer. So the bestest probably got beat up the leastest.

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Chances are, it would have been an adult who saved the best ones from the ring, not a child. JMO

I dunno - you are pro'lly right - maybe children hit a certain age where the value of the pattern takes on an appeal. My elder son would not give up some of his mibs that he really liked for anything - but my younger grandson could careless what they look like - he just likes the sounds and appeal of a rolling sphere.

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