I got to thinking about the stories that accompany many of the antiques I’ve sold over the years after reading another blogger’s story about using her Grandmother’s Patrician Spoke amber depression glass collection each year for a seder meal. The memory of amber colored depression glass caused me to remember a wonderful story about some amber depression glass I once sold.
In 2001 just before my sister and I opened our first antiques business together, we went looking for inexpensive and unique antiques to fill the shelves and bulk up our inventory. Today they call it “pickin” back then, we were “those two crazy girls in a big red Suburban.” We were somewhat nervous trying to make sure we had a ready supply of antiques to sell so, off we went on the great search as often as possible.
One weekend we just happened upon a barn sale outside of Allegan, Michigan which turned out to be our saving grace. Every year the barn sale was open Memorial Day and labor Day weekends. The farmer hosting the sale came by amazing amounts of household antiques when he purchased other farmer’s land trying to expand his farmland for planting crops. He’d clean out the houses and barns on the property, then held onto these items, loaded them onto hay racks, kept these wagons all loaded in his barn till just before hay season each year when he held a huge sale on the holiday weekends. Because he needed all those wagons to get his crops in during the harvest, he needed to sell everything. His sales were legendary. He used everyone of his hay racks, about 20 or more. Each one loaded to the gills, lining his long driveway for you to peruse on the way to the barn where he kept the furniture items. We always found great things with wonderful stories at this farmer’s sale and we continued going to his sales for years until he no longer had them.
One of the first items we bought was a complete service for 12 of Madrid amber depression glass. Madrid was a pattern from Federal Glass Company made between 1932 and 1939 and was produced in pink, green, blue, clear and amber. Depression glass was often given away as a premium for getting folks into a business or given away in cereals and laundry soap.
I always liked to have a story behind any antique and this set of dishes came with a great story. One of the children from this particular farm was on hand when our farmer took possession of the farm and told our farmer that when he was a child the theater in Allegan had “Dish Night” once a week where you got a piece of depression glass with the purchase of a ticket for the movies. In order to collect enough dishes this man’s mother allowed each of her 6 children to ask a friend to come with them to the movies. Since Mom paid for their tickets, she kept all the dishes. It took several months of going to the movies each week to get all the piece of glassware in the collection but this lady was tenacious and she collected an entire set of Madrid amber depression glass, enough to set a holiday table for their family and also provide memorable entertainment for her children and their friends.
I think she was pretty smart. Don’t you?
Do you collect depression glass?