Sipping pretty

Columnist Sandy Erdman says the right glassware can set a festive or whimsical mood to help you face the day.

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Dot Libbey glassware and pitcher found at Sarah's Uniques & Jim's "Man"tiques in St. Charles.
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I must confess that I love sipping my morning juice from a vibrant decorative glass like my daisy glasses.

With the juice poured from the matching decanter.

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So what are some of the decorative glasses? Most are the vintage Libbey glasses that are a fun, easy collectible because of their unique patterns and practical uses.

They also are a unique collectible found in many country home magazines these days because their values range from affordable to expensive with a lot of variation of prices in between. The most expensive pieces are the rare design and in a large set. But, the best part that appeals to the collector and customers are the colorful designs, such as the yellow gingham that was produced in the early mid-1900s in Ohio where a set of three to six glasses can go up to $40 per set.

At one time they were great wedding and shower gifts along with the decorative or matching colored Pyrex or Fire King bowls in sets. Today many home shows are also showing these glassware sets, and some can be found at Walmart and other department stores under the Libbey name.


Keep in mind that there are other glassware brands with vibrant designs and colors such as those that once contained processed cheese. Known as “Swanky Swigs,” these jars were made by Hazel Atlas Glass Co. for Kraft Foods in the 1930s. The idea was to get the customer to purchase the cheese spread, with the idea to wash out the glass and use as a juice glass. Today colorful glasses sell for less than $10 a piece.

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A few Swanky Swig and other vintage glasses found at New Generations of Harmony.

Collectors tip: Vintage Libbey glassware is signed with a cursive “L” within an ordinary circle or ring. New Libbey glassware is signed with a cursive “L” without the circle.

Enjoying the cool collectible

These mid-century modern glasses are safe to use today, and bring life into your kitchen displayed in open cupboards with their unique colors and designs, Sarah Kieffer says, “This glassware is something near and dear to my heart, as I collect them as well for my own country kitchen and have several sets for sale at our shop, Sarah's Uniques and Jim's “Man”tiques, St. Charles. They are so colorful and come in many different styles and sizes. I even have some with different carriers and pitchers. I have them in a price range from about $30 on up to $60 or so in the sets. These pieces and sets are beautiful and great for serving ice cold lemonade or ice tea in the summer. I find these are still practical and beautiful to use for everyday and not to just display and, yes, they are highly collectible.”

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Nice Libbey glassware found at The New Generations in Harmony.

Erica Thilges says vintage glassware is always sought after, and is both fun to use and functional. "At Generations of Harmony, we have a nice variety of Libbey glassware and other glassware right now with themes ranging from beer, sports, soda and comics to fruit and Scottie dogs. Individual Libbey glasses range from $2.50 to $10 each.”

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A few pieces of bowl sets, matching glasses and cups too for that new vintage kitchen, found at the New Generations in Harmony.

Neil Hunt at A-Z Collectibles in Winona says, “I have some from several different companies with the juice glasses being in a set with an orange juice pitcher and five of the original set of six 4-ounce juice glasses from Anchor Hocking. I also have the odd juice glass for tomato juice and and a juice pitcher with each of tomato, orange or cherry on them. Some of the juice glasses with fruit on are marked 'Federal,' and others are not marked. The 'Swanky Swigs' are the flower glasses that I have nine or so at $7 each. Also five with cartoon characters at $8 each.”

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Nice Libbey glassware and biscuit jar found at Sarah's Uniques & Jim's "Man"tiques in St. Charles.

On the whole, vintage pretty sipping glassware that seem to catch the eye is affordable for casual collectors to pick up without breaking the bank. If you love it, buy it and do check out grandma's cupboard as they have been passed down for years from one generation to another.

Sandy Erdman is a Winona-based freelance writer and certified appraiser concentrating on vintage, antique and collectible items. Send comments and story suggestions to Sandy at .

Antiques & Collectibles — Sandy Erdman column sig

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