It can be really exciting shopping for collectibles at estate sales. For crystal collectors who are hunting for specific items or marks, finding what they were looking for is exhilarating. Every collector needs to be informed when purchasing their wares and here are a few pointers to help make sure the crystal you find is indeed what you were looking for.
Oftentimes glass and stemware manufacturers will say that their products are real crystal when they’re actually glass. This can be deceiving in stores, but at an estate sale you might have better luck finding reasonably-priced authentic crystal. There are two reasons for this. Since professional estate service companies have a lot of experience selling antique and other old and collectible items, they will be able to tell the difference and pass that knowledge along to you. The second reason is that many times when you find crystal at estate sales, it is of an older variety that is easier tell apart. Modern crystal and regular modern glassware can sometimes be hard to tell apart since modern manufacturing techniques are a lot more refined than those of old.
One thing that’s important to remember, is that if you’re looking for a really rare crystal piece or one with intricate detailing, then you should expect it to cost a lot more. Here are a few other things that you should keep in mind when trying to identify authentic crystal at an estate sale.
First, look for the maker’s mark on the bottom. This will either be the manufacturer’s name, the country that it was made in or a number or symbol of some type. If you’re familiar with crystal at all, you should be able to tell who the manufacturer is even without any markings. Some of the better crystal makers whom you’ll want to know the marking for are Baccarat, Waterford, Belleek and Lalique.
Secondly, always remember that the older and heavier the crystal is, the better it is. Age plays a big determining factor in deciding the value of a piece of crystal. Older pieces are worth even more when they’re no longer being produced. Take a moment to look at the piece’s pattern, and if it’s popular, you should be able to tell who manufactured it. Of course, if the pattern wasn’t favored and went out of production quickly, the piece may be worth even more. Furthermore, real crystal is heavier than glass because of how much lead oxide weighs.
Third, keep in mind that condition is king. When a piece of crystal is in pristine condition, it will be more highly valued. Complete sets are also much more valuable than a set that’s missing pieces. Other things that lower crystal’s value includes chips, cracks, and scratches. However, a defective antique piece can still be valuable.
Fourth and finally, always remember to tap your finger gently against the glass’ curved area and listen for a clear, distinct ringing tone that continues to vibrate slightly for a few seconds. An ordinary glass will simply make a pinging sound with no vibration.
These four tips are only the beginning of what you need to know when it comes to finding valuable crystal at an estate sale. Nonetheless, if you use these tips, you’ve taken the first step towards starting your very own crystal collection. And remember, Prestige Estate services can help you if you let us know what you are in the market for, so contact us today!
Prestige Estate Services
2201 Kipling Street, Suite 101
Lakewood, CO 80215