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Spherophile

Books and a question about cost

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I’m baffled by the number of types of marbles. One of the threads I read recently was discussing how to tell the difference between an Akro “ade” and and “ace.” I can’t even tell the difference between an Akro and a Vitro at this point. Are there any good books to help me learn to tell the differences? I’ve already gone through Marble Alan’s website. 
 

I’ve been focusing on old German handmade marbles, but I’m curious how much they cost when new. I imagine they were fairly expensive, but they had to be cheap enough doe a child to buy it and then use it to the point of it being “destroyed.” Any references that give an idea on price?

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Bob Block’s price guide has to be the only one regarding values but you need to adjust for inflation. It breaks down to size and condition very methodically. 

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Marbles were easily disposable kid's toys.  Machine mades sold for 1 cent - or less.  They were produced in staggeringly huge quantities.

Identification, grading and value are best and most easily learned at shows where you can handle marbles, look at them from multiple angles, study color, transparency, opacity and variations between same types.  Value is driven sharply by type, grading, current popularity, availability and the motivation of the seller.  Learning grading from photos is like running a footrace carrying 80 lbs ballast:  you could (sort of) - but why try to do it with such a pronounced handicap?  Handle enough polished marbles and you can do it as well by feel as you can by vision.

You can pick up a HUGE amount of experience and insight in two days (and nights!) at a good show.

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Thank you for your replies. I’m not as interested in current values as I am in their values when new. Let me be more specific: What was the cost for a handmade German latticino Shooter?

I’m hoping to go to a marble show when I can but I have some issues that limit my ability to travel, so hopefully it won’t be far form home. I searched for anything nearby and didn’t have much luck, but maybe next year. As far as I can tell there aren’t even any marble clubs in my area (and the Marble Collecting Society website appears to be broken, as every page says “below you can find” and then there’s nothing below. A sad state of affairs all around. 😔

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On 9/26/2019 at 11:43 AM, Spherophile said:

Thank you for your replies. I’m not as interested in current values as I am in their values when new. Let me be more specific: What was the cost for a handmade German latticino Shooter?

I’m hoping to go to a marble show when I can but I have some issues that limit my ability to travel, so hopefully it won’t be far form home. I searched for anything nearby and didn’t have much luck, but maybe next year. As far as I can tell there aren’t even any marble clubs in my area (and the Marble Collecting Society website appears to be broken, as every page says “below you can find” and then there’s nothing below. A sad state of affairs all around. 😔

Member wvrons club keeps an excellent listing of the nation’s marble shows http://westvirginiamarblecollectorsclub.com/news/

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On 9/26/2019 at 11:43 AM, Spherophile said:

 Let me be more specific: What was the cost for a handmade German latticino Shooter?

 

Handmades wholesaled at box of 100 at 20 cents.  Simple designs would be 2- or 3 for 1 cent.  Better designs would be 1 cent each.

Paying more than 1 cent would be considered absurd.

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Thank you. To put that into perspective, here’s what things cost in 1870:

- Lard 6 cents a pound

- Rice 5 cents a pound

- Sugar 10 cents a pound

- Coffee 12 cents a pound

The average hourly wage in 1870 for a laborer was around 15 cents an hour. A skilled worker such as a blacksmith would make about 30 cents. 

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Glad you bumped this.  I missed it the first time around.  A marble could be more than a penny.  This is a Butler Bros. ad from 1898.  I don't know if it's wholesale or retail.  The print is small and faint but starting down with the spangles, it looks like the per marble price starts to be 2 cents or more.  Last I hear, the spangles are what we call onionskins. 

P25L2z3.jpg

 

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"Common" would indicate clay.  Various American companies made clays.  I don't know if I've seen a list compiled.  Maybe someone else can help with that ... or maybe I can do a little digging and get or make one. So ... who in 1898 would have been making clays ... the question for the day. :)

 

As to the German glass ones, there some are some known company names but it was a cottage industry also, so lots and lots of unincorporated people could be responsible for the latticinios and onionskins we love. 



Here ya go ... I remembered the name Sam Dyke ... in 1898 it could have been one of his companies making the common clays.  In particular, it could have been The American Marble & Toy Manufacturing Company of Akron, Ohio. 


http://www.americantoymarbles.com/akronhist.htm

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