It's hard to find an antique shop or a flea market that doesn't offer ruby red glassware issued by Avon. This dinnerware has attracted many collectors and is one of the most beautiful of their product pattern pieces.

The design is based on an old, sandwich glass pattern and inspired by the lacy delicacy of the classic Roman rosette pattern, introduced in 1975 by Wheaton Glass for Avon. They were commissioned to do the pieces, since they were already making decorative decanters for them.

Avon chose to call their new dinnerware the 1876 Cape Cod Collection because it recalled the beauty of this quality glass and the spirit of the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and the area where sandwich glass originated.

This was Avon's first venture into a dinnerware line and, because it was well received, Avon continued to make more items until the pattern was discontinued in 1993. In all, 37 different pieces were produced.

In July of 1976, Marlene Werden of Goodview became an Avon representative and immediately fell in love with the Cape Cod set and started her own personal collection.

"The first pieces were cruets filled with Skin-So-Soft bath oil and candlesticks that contained Charisma, Patchwork or Bird of Paradise cologne. They sold for around $8 a piece," Werden says. "Wine goblets that included a votive candle were introduced in 1976. I continued to collect the pieces as they came out."

In 1978, dessert bowls filled with guest soap were introduced, along with salt shakers that were introduced in 1984. After many campaigns, more pieces were added and became good sellers from the quantity on today’s market.

Barb Dalton, an area antique dealer, says, "I don’t have a personal collection of it, but I did have a large selection for sale prior to Christmas, and only a few pieces remain. During the holidays, it provides a perfect mix with other reds and greens, and can carry through into the Valentine's decor."

Nice pieces can also be found at garage sales. Dalton states, "These pieces are not difficult to find, however, it will be unusual to find numerous pieces at any one time. The people that purchase these have a variety of reasons: Some are adding to their collections, but I believe most are drawn in by the beauty of the glassware and the affordability of it."

The current market value of these glassware pieces is in the $5 to $25 range. The products you find should have the word "Avon" on the bottom.

When first starting out, Werden recommends looking at the Avon encyclopedia for an idea of what items are available and how much they're worth. Items need not be full or boxed, but will bring a higher price if they are in a box and in mint condition.