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Why Do You Collect Vintage Marbles?


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What is the reason YOU collect vintage marbles?

Do you collect them because:

1) they are pretty to you and you can't put a name for why you like it

2) you just like the way they look - color, style, etc

3) the particular marble came from a certain specific company

4) the glass that made the marble is from an old marble making machine

5) you plan on selling them later to make money

6) some other reason I'll tell you about below.

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1-4 and the key tie in fact that they are a part of history. They have stories to tell of a past time that need be remembered. Not to mention my personal history of playing marbles as a child, tho admittedly that was in the 70's and by then it was not nearly as popular as the days past.

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I started collecting about 20 years ago. I grew up around antiques and two of my relatives collected marbles. It was quite a challenge in the pre-internet days to find nice marbles in Wyoming. Its much easier these days to hop online and buy them, but back then it was a challenge, and it was actually more fun.

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1. I think they're purty.

2. They don't take up alot of space.

3. They're fairly easy to resell and get my money back when I need it.

4. I'm probably subconsciously having my revenge on someone from long ago (a long story and one not worth telling).

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The story of how I started collecting antique marbles is rather tragic...when I was a little boy my older nephew Pieter already collected marbles (he was 5 years older), he even had some handmade German swirls (I didn't know then they were antique and neither did my nephew). One day he gave me one of those and I was so happy with it. It was the most beautiful marble ever. I didn't play with it and kept it in a box. When I grew older I forgot about the marble but when my nephew was only 18 years old he committed suicide...I was only 13 then and this was a huge shock to me. So the marble he gave me so many years ago became very special to me. It was like a relic I could remember him by. Then a few years later I saw a bag of those marbles in the window of an antique store, there was even a marble with a silver bird inside which I had never seen before. So I bought them all because they reminded me of my nephew. So my collection slowly started. Every time a saw a similar marble at a flea market I bought it. Then I found the marble book by Everett Grist in a bookstore and then I suddenly realised these marbles were old (and valuable!) and now I knew what other kind of marbles I had to look for. So the reason I collect marbles is very personal...I feel like I'm completing the collection my nephew started and never got to finish...I wish he could see my collection now!

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I collect for alomost all the reasons you listed. The selling part is slow for me because I have a hard time letting them go. I do sell some of the most common, but the harder to find marbles, I just can't relax my fingers enough to let them slip away. Bad or good, I do want to someday have a source of funds from my hobby.

I got started collecting about 25 years ago, it started as a joke. You see my wife has owned and operated her own upholstery business since we got married some thirty-one years ago. We would go to auctions where she would buy old furniture to redo and sell. One day, after the sixth auction in one week, the wimp I am came out. Do I really have to come all the time I stated. I knew right then I said the wrong thing. I could tell that she really enjoyed my company and that I just let her down. But being the girl she is, she came back with, you just need something to collect that you can look for at auctions. Just then they held up four jars of marbles. I raised my hand. (being a smart ass). The next thing I know I am the owner of four jars of old glass balls. I paid five bucks a jar, She laughed, I was frustrated at spending $20.00.

I guy came over to me and asked if I collected marbles, "no, not at all" I replied. He said he had a good friend that collected marbles and lived near me. His friend called me and came over. He went through the marbles and said I had four real nice marbles, high end and some really neat hard to find Ravenswood, Alley and others. I had no idea what he said. I had a guy come to me at an auction and offer to buy the four marbles. Dumby me sold them way to cheap, but at that time $500.00 for four marbles that I had twenty bucks into made sense. Then I started getting phone calls several times a week from folks looking for marbles. I bought and sold just as fast. Then it hit,,,,,the days of buying jars for under $25.00 was gone and they were not showing up as often. I relized it was time to hold onto them. Then it hit me, after looking over them time and time again, I was hooked. Looking at the special look of each marble. I started putting them away until one day my wife hugged me and said, I knew you would find something to collect. That was ten years after the auction that started this whole thing, she never forgot.

SNYD

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I had a jar with marbles, at the age at 4-5 years. My childhood was not as it should be, my parents, father, were very stringent, many times I got punished and beated by my father, for something I didn't do.

As comfort, I retrieved to my room and spended many hours with my jar with marbles, sorting them on color or size, or just look at them.

One day my marbles were gone, my father gave them all to my brother, because he had to make a lamp with marbles on, or in it, for school.

Lucky for me, after all, my brother didn't use the older marbles, but gave them back to me.

From that day I started collecting old marbles. Then, years later, I met Jeroen and he showed me some photo's of his collection. I always thought I was the only idiot in Holland, collecting marbles, but there was another one also.

Jeroen told me about the old handmades, glass and china and by him I got really infected.

Untill today, my marbles are very important to me, but thank God, not for the same reason as they were in my childhood.

Cees.

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I started playing marbles before I collected. My coach would bring in a different type of marble during each class, and I started getting interested from that.

I personally prefer modern handmade marbles to vintage marbles, though my handmades are a much more limited collection due to the cost. For the most part, the fun of the vintage marbles is more in searching and finding interesting marbles than actually owning rare, high-priced marbles.

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Can't believe I forgot to mention this one! It's probably the number one thing.

1. The thrill of the hunt! It's almost better than owning them.

And since someone asked, and since someone already told a similar story, the revenge part (actually, I can make it a very short story), refers to dear old dad, who forced me to give all my meager "collection" of marbles to my older brother and sister, for some crime I committed, or that he imagined I committed, which I've long since forgotten.

I'm enjoying reading all the stories :)

Edited by m!b$
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I started 15 years ago or so. A friend of mine is an antique dealer, and had told me a story of how he sold a single marble for $400, not even knowing much about them.(it was a lutz) remembering how much I enjoyed playing with marbles as a kid, it sparked my interest. I bought a book, and started learning the history behind them. The first garage sale I hit after reading my first book, I bought a small box containing 30- 40 marbles, one of which was a small handmade swirl. I was HOOKED! I remember feeling like I had just struck gold or something! I began "the hunt". for the next 4 years or so, I went to every auction, garage sale, antique shop I could find, looking for marbles. back then they were fairly easy to find, however as time progressed they were few and far between. early on, I would be primarily looking for handmades. I would buy marbles by the bag, box or jar, and pick out any handmades I'd find. as I learned more about the differences in all the machine mades, they began to take over my interest. as I learned about a company, I'd go through my bags & boxes looking for marbles I could identify. but after all this rambling on about this & that, I guess the reason that I collect marbles, is all the people I've met along the way! It is so cool! especially when I would walk into an old out-of-the-way antique shop and ask if there were any marbles around. some of the older shop owners would recall stories about their past, and the games that they would play. the people I've met, and hope to meet along the way, that share a common admiration for marbles, the artistic beauty and craftsmanship of an old handmade, or the complex patterns produced with the use of a machine, is why I collect them! tom.

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My dad was collecting them when i was a teenager and after many years later and after joining the Navy he had asked me to look for some marbles for him while crossing the country from San Diego to Rhode Island during on of my transfers. Well in between i picked up what i thought were really nice ones and instead mailing them back to my dad i told him i was going to start collecting them myself. Ever since then i have been on the hunt. I think that is the most fun for me, the hunt, and that is what drives me (actually it is an obsession). :)

Besides that i can stare at them for hours, i love meeting and greeting at the shows, and reselling/trading when i can.

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It is easy for me. I played marbles,i remember when the factories were in operation. Along with connections to the current ones. History,the search for answers. Most of the reasons above. But most of all is THE PEOPLE past and present. The marbles are just reminders.

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It is easy for me. I played marbles,i remember when the factories were in operation. Along with connections to the current ones. History,the search for answers. Most of the reasons above. But most of all is THE PEOPLE past and present. The marbles are just reminders.

I played when I was a kid and amassed a good bit (3,000 or so) from brothers, what I won ( I was very good at this game and we played for keeps) or traded for, and bought. Almost everything was 1955-1970 range. About 1970 I put in 5 large containers and put in closet at parents house. My favorites were Alley Agate St marys plant swirls , especially the one inchers, Marble King Bummblebees and cubscouts (never saw a black widow), and Vitro blackies. Go forward to when I bought my house in 1986. Parents came to see me and said you left something at our house, they brought me my marbles (Thanks Mom - you made me burn up my comic book collection but allowed me to keep the mibs!).

Go forward almost ten years and they sat in my closet while I was busy doing other stuff, for fun my wife and I went to garage sales and flea markets all over the place (geez things you could find in those days). A dealer used to set up at a Florida flea market (under Marble Man moniker)we frequented about every other month and had a huge display of marbles he sold at 2 cents a piece - they were mostly Vitro Anacortes marbles. I stopped and looked at the marbles about 5 different trips before I sprung and bought a 1000 and brought back and shared with soembody who worked for me who wanted them for a display. I also brought out my old marbles to look at, that is when bug hit me and I wondered if anybody collected marbles. The internet growth was in its infancy stage (it cost aabout $20 an hour in those days to use as I recall early 90s ) but I was able to locate a collector or two who tunred me on to some old marbles and I saw old handmade marbles for first tiem in my life. And in those days Bob Block and Danny Turner had their auctions which gave me another source. It just grew from there... bless (or curse) the internet but I would have never had as much fun or met so many nice people wihtout it.

Don

Don

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Why do I collect marbles? They remind me of my dad, and of great times now past, and of good times to come. The beauty you can behold in the palm of your hand is just memorizing. Like miniature replica's of celestial planets, each one holds something new.

...Plus marble people are the best... everyone knows that. lol

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