Antique or Junque: Egg Cup Does Double Duty
Q: This is a photo of an antique milk glass double egg cup. It stands about 4 inches tall, has a basket weave pattern and is in mint condition. On the inside of the small part are the words "Pat'd June 30th, 1874." When I hold the cup to the light, I can see a red-orange flame quality to the glass.
I have had it for over 50 years and would like to know more about its maker, age and value.
A: Your opaque double egg cup is a good example of antique opal milk glass. The flame you see when the cup is held to the light is similar to fire opal stones. The smaller portion of the cup was used for placing a soft-boiled egg, and the larger part is for an egg that has been broken. The patented date, "June 30th, 1874" documents when the pattern was registered with the government. Atterbury Glass Co. made your cup. They were in business in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, from 1859 to 1902. Their basket weave pattern was available in several other pieces that include cream pitchers, candy dishes and sugar bowls. Opaque milk glass was also made in blue and green. Whimsical milk glass pieces were made in the late 1800s. Covered chickens, covered ducks and animal figures appeal to collectors of milk glass.
Milk glass production reached a peak in the late 1800s and waned after World War I.
Your circa-1874 double cup egg dish would probably be worth $25 to $50.
Q: This is a photo I took of the mark on the bottom of my small Irish Belleek cream pitcher. It is decorated with a floral pattern in relief, stands about 3 1/4 inches tall and is in excellent condition. I bought it over 40 years ago at a local antiques mall.
Any information you can provide about its history will be appreciated.
A: Irish Belleek was made in Belleek, on banks of the Erne River in county Fermanagh, Ireland, from 1857 to the present. John Caldwell Bloomfield inherited an old castle and established his pottery. The region was rich in feldspar, flint, kaolin, clay, shale and peat. In the beginning, they produced earthenware. By the late 1860s, they were making Parian china.
Your cream pitcher is an example of Belleek's Lotus pattern and is marked with their third black mark that was used from 1926 to 1946. Similar Belleek pitchers are offered on the internet in the range of $15 to $30.
Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P. O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Items of a general interest will be answered in this column. Due to the volume of inquiries, she cannot answer individual letters. To find out more about Anne McCollam and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com
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