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100 Great Marbles Book


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The 5th edition of Marbles: Identification and Price Guide is at the printer (or should be in a day or two). Last I heard they were expected it to be available in March. I've completely rewritten the book and reshot virtually all the images (I'd say 95%).

So, now I'm on to the next book project: 100 Great Marbles.

Someone had suggested 100 Greatest Marbles, but I think that's a little pompous. It also doesn't leave room for a sequel (what would you call it "100 Greater Marbles"? "100 Almost Greatest Marbles"?).

Anyway, the concept of this book is to illustrate 100 different marbles and explain what makes each of them "great". The format of the book is that it will be 200 pages. When you open it up to a page, the left-hand facing page will feature 6 different images of the marble. The right facing page will include a writeup as to why it is "great".

So, two things I would like everyone's input on.

First, what do you think makes a marble "great"? Rarity? Condition? Color? Design?

Second, while I could easily pull 100 marbles from my collection to put into a book, I doubt that I have what would be considered "great" marbles in each category. I have some that I love that I'll include, but I know there are a lot better examples out there than mine. So, here's a chance to show off your best (obviously with appropriate credit in the book).

I tentatively have it set up as:

10 Swirls

4 Clams, Peppermint, Banded Opaque, Indian

6 Lutz

10 End of Days

6 Sulphides

7 Miscellaneous Handmade (Mist, Mica, Slag, Opaque, Paperweight/Confetti)

4 Non-glass (Scenic China, Mochaware, China)

2 "Transitional"

10 Christensen Agate

8 Akro Agate

8 Peltier Glass

15 Other (Other American or Foreign)

10 Contemporary

So, if you have something that you think absolutely has to be included in the book, drop me an email ([email protected]) and we'll talk. If you have something that will be in the book I'll end up needing 6 images (figure with an 8mp camera or better) or you'd have to send me the marble for shooting (which I would prefer you don't do, as I don't want the responsibility of trusting the mail system with your valuable marble).

I'd like to get the book put to bed in the next 3 or 4 months so it can be out by Christmas.

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Hello Bob,

I am an collector from Holland, and I like your idea very much! I am collecting for a short time only and don't have any marble that will be worthy for the book. The funny thing was that I was thinking of putting up a website to show the most beautiful marbles there are. No information about who owns them, or the value, just to show what great marbles there are.

Beside collecting old marbles, my other great hobby are monumental trees, or ancient trees. www.monumentaltrees.eu. In 2006 my book about the oldest and biggest trees in Europe was published. I spoke with a lot of people about which trees should be in the book? What are the greatest trees. Still this was very much my choice, because I have favorite trees. And after the book what published new information about other giant trees came to me, so in my case my book will be never a book of the greatest trees in Europe. But in my oppinion it is the best there is!

An other example is the book Domesday book of mammoth pike. This was published in 1980 or so. At that time I was a fanatic pike angler. In this book the 230 biggest pikes that were caught, mainly in Europe were described. But in the years after many other bigger pikes than there were in the list were caught. So in 2005 he published a new edition.

I know this kind of book would be difficult to give it a sequel as you described, but maybe you can connect it with a website and competition. For example: Let people grade a marble from 1-10, and the marbles with the highest average should be in the book. Combine it with the minimum requirement that a marble should have at least 50 votes or so. In this way a marble that is bring get a change to be in top of the list. When in a period of time there are a lot of new better marbles, this may be the moment to make a new edition of the book. Of course this method will take more time. But people who regulary visit such a website might be more interested in the book, as they have the felling they actually have influence in the outcome of which marbles are the greatest.

This is just a thought of how it can be done.

What makes a marble great. Exactly the things you describe. And perhaps condition is the most important. Read this article:http://www.marblesgalore.com/

Of course a combination of rarity, condition, color, design and size wil be a bonus, in the case that 1+1 is not 2 but 3.

My only other suggestion would be to make two books. One with handmade marbles, and one with machine made marbles.

I hope my reaction can help you a little. I look forward to such a book from you.

Best regards,


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  • 10 months later...

LOL. The two principals of Schiffer Publishing and my Dad all seem to have their wires crossed. Pete thinks the update to Marble Collectors Handbook should be next, Nancy thinks 100 Great Marbles is next and my Dad thinks the Akro/Peltier book is next. The all seem to think that I can write three books simultaneously while working a full time job and running monthly marble auctions. Which I find very amusing because they all keep insisting that I'm working on THEIR project.

The order of the books is

Marble Collectors Handbook (delivery to publisher Dec 15)

100 Great Marbles


So, in answer to your question, I'll start working on it after the holidays with a delivery April 15 to the publisher.

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  • 1 year later...

Currently I am working waaaay too many hours at work to devote serious attention to the book. Hopefully that will change in the next few months.

I've seen the rants on other social media sites about my books. It's really simple, if you don't like what I've written, then write your own book.

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Im thinking it might have the pontential to be something contraversial.

i agree griff ... yep .. with you .. har. too many " books " even recent publications, that don't have ALL the relevant info. that's available to be put forth. i'm not interested in a repeat of previous items already shown and same dialouge .... peltier book ??? will the recent disclosure of peltier documents be included ??? recent discoveries ??? what " respected " and involved sources will be included ??? or just .. 1 .. source ??? i would like to see a reading of something ... complete ..... NOT .. REHASHING .... of known ... unknowns .. :character-smileys-238: ... j.m.o. ..... bill

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I agree with Steph. I like all marble books since it means that someone took the time to write them and put the available knowledge "at that time" into print. Things change all the time. It's only been 20 years since machine made marbles even became collectible. And, no company really kept any records on what they did. The Peltier paperwork seems to be one that has some information but that information has not been published or even widely shared with the marble community. Mike Johnson (helped by Suzie & Dean) spent many years researching information about the marble companies and interviewed a lot of the old-timers from the marble companies before they passed on. Their book is considered one of the best for history. Bob's (and Stan's) books drummed up a lot of interest in marble collecting and were basically the only thing out there for years, especially with price guides (and remembering because of the publishing company slow process, those prices were "wrong" before the book came out - but they were something we did not have before). Marlow & Larry's cat's-eye book and marble collecting books were good reference sources. Everett Grist attempted to get some information out in books and there were others (Baumann, Webb, Barrett) that came out with books during that time frame.

So, please don't be critical of people who at least attempt to get information out to the marble community, whether it is for commercial gain or providing information on marbles and marble collecting. Thank them for their effort!!

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A quick P.S. to the above. Ron Shepherd has done a great job in getting information out to us via the marble forums from digging that he, Bill, Nola and others have done over the last 10+ years. But, look at the several times where he has had to correct himself from something he said in the past on ID's, etc. Do we criticize him? No way! That is what is great that Ron (and others) recognize that information changes as more research has been done but they still put it out there when they think they have new information. I can't say enough about the work that Ron has done and the knowledge provided to the community. And the same for anyone who has had the time and courage to put out a book on marbles!

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Just a suggestion,in direction;;;;

I personaly would like to see "mini" books,that are specific with updated information based on new discoveries.

Something a little more usefull,than 100 specific marble,picture book.

In this day and age,I can find thousands of images of great marbles,24/7 thanks to the internet,and sites like this.

A good example of what Im talking about is the new alley picture book that Larry Alley III came out with.

It is extremely helpful in giveing positive ID of Alley marbles.(not to mention the benefit of eliminating previously mis identified marbles).

The term,unidentified WV swirl needs to go,and the only way it with be gone,is through research and publication.

That is the area that NEEDS more attention,in the Marble Society.

Of course,this is not the opinion of a newby.

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