The elusive cookie jar with lid! I have it! I’ve seen it but once in all my years of collecting. When I found it, I had been collecting the Patrician Spoke pattern of Depression Glass in the amber color for about twenty years. Since I had not seen one ever, except in my Depression Glass Guide book, I wanted it desperately. I found it in West Virginia in a little out of the way, down a dirt road, (and at the very end, to boot) antique store that had several pieces of my pattern. Would the store keeper/owner deal with me on the exorbitant price proudly displayed and adhered to its exalted side? Not on your life! It remains the single most expensive piece of Depression Glass I’ve thus far purchased – even with the monetary difference that the $115 I paid then means for today’s prices.
Stored on my computer is a list about a yard long when printed out. It is a list of my pattern of glass Depression Ware pieces that I own. An impressive list, to be sure, it is the result of at least an additional twenty years of diligently scanning the shelves of probably a hundred antique stores in pursuit of that hidden treasure that sits with a crown of dust behind a larger piece in a different pattern.
Hard to see and even harder to identify unless you move everything around it and check out the pattern. Its color attracts you. Its tell-tale pattern is what makes you drag out the credit card for just one more purchase. After all, a complete set would be ideal. Oh, the times I discovered another pattern entirely and felt the rush of disappointment hit me. You see, it is getting harder and harder to find pieces of my pattern that I don’t already have. Forty years of looking at thousands of pieces of glassware all over the United States has netted me quite the collection.
I have completely filled a quite large display case/china cabinet with these gorgeous, glowing gifts from the period of the Great Depression. It is almost a complete set for twelve. Made by the Federal Glass Company of Columbus, Ohio in the 1930’s, between 1933–37, many different pieces compose the place setting and serving pieces.
The Federal Glass Company was established as a hand operation in 1900 in Columbus, Ohio. In the beginning they made pressed wares. Some of the early products had needle etchings. Federal had the foresight to anticipate the public demand for large quantities of reasonably priced glassware. They made the switch to automation and by the 1920’s they were one of the foremost companies in the production of cheap machine-made tumblers and jugs. During the 1930’s Federal was one of the leaders in the production of machine pressed, mold etched colored dinnerware. It is these pieces that I collect.
Many patterns from the era are being reproduced, and large prices are being charged for them. Beware the new productions, which occur in many of the patterns. Fortunately, Patrician Spoke in amber is one of the few patterns not being reproduced. Usually, the discerning eye can spot a reproduction because the colors are darker and there is no sign of wear. And the cost for the documented original version is priced considerably higher.
My list is almost complete. I do have 12 dinner plates and 12 luncheon plates. I have 12 cups and 12 saucers. I have 12 sherbet glasses and 12 cream soup bowls. I have 12 of my very favorites – the cute little berry bowls. Twelve cereal bowls sit beside the 12 six inch bread plates. By them sit the 8 larger 7 ½” salad or dessert plates. I just haven’t found the other 4 yet!
By the enormously expensive cookie jar sit the two pitchers of different sizes, the salt and pepper set (with tops) and the creamer and sugar set. The covered butter dish has a place of prominence among the glasses, sitting right in the middle of the 12 9-oz tumblers. Missing one of the 14 oz iced tea glasses, (alas, only 11 found so far) is sad, but the fact that I’ve found only three of the cute little 5 oz juice glasses is reason to weep! There is a classy footed glass as well, and I’ve managed to find only four of them.
I have serving pieces and accessories of all sorts. Two round vegetable bowls nestle with an oval one near the two oval platters, which are surprisingly small considering the huge roasts and platters of fried chicken that were routinely placed upon the dining table in the ‘30’s. I purchased two grill plates to use as relish dishes. They look exactly like the large dinner plate except they have three divided sections like one might find in a diner where you’d order a meat and two sides.
I finished the collection with two jam bowls, which I use as such, but they look for all the world like the bottoms of butter dishes without the tops. Makes sense to me. If you can’t sell them as butter dishes since they have no tops, call them jam dishes, slap a hefty price on their sweet little rims and the adoring public will grab them up. I surely did!
My collection of Patrician Spoke (named so because of the spoke pattern in the middle of the plates) has kept my attention for forty years. It’s a good thing it was spaced out over that time. My estimate is that I have approximately $3,850.00 invested in the 139 separate pieces in my astounding collection.