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German Handmade's were one of the earliest type of marbles imported to the United States. These remain one of the most popular of collectible marbles worldwide. There are hundreds of color combinations and styles, but most fall into a handful of categories.
Divided Core - Solid Core - Ribbon Core - Coreless Swirls
Gooseberry - Caramel - Cornhusk
Lutz Marbles - All have gold bands
Micas - Silver flakes inside
Figures are animals, humans, numbers, fantasy characters, various objects such as watches, coins, etc. Painted figures and colored glass are the most valuable.
Clay marbles were the earliest type of marbles made in the United States. However, with the advent of marble machines in the early 1900's glass marbles were able to be mass produced 1 million marbles per day or more in some factories.
These remain one of the most popular of collectible marbles. There are hundreds of color combinations and styles and only a few can be shown here but you will get an idea of some of the most common styles they produced as well as some of the most collectible and valuable.
The list below is in the order of companies that produced marbles that are the most valuable and collectible marbles today.
Akro Agate Co. - Corkscrews
M.F. Christensen - Bricks & Slags
Master Made Marbles
Vitro Agate Co. - Parrots
Vitro All Reds
West Virginia Companies such as Ravenswood, Champion, Alley, Alox, Cairo & Heaton.
German non-glass clay and agate marbles were one of the earliest type of marbles imported to the United States. A few styles of clay marbles were manufactured in the USA.. There are many color combinations and styles, but most fall into a handful of categories.
Be sure to check out the Fakes & Reproductions page for pictures of fake Chinas and clays.
Painted Chinas - Clay
Clay: Bennington - Dyed Pottery - Crockery - Spongewear
Stone Agate Marbles
A few marble companies remain in the United States today including Marble King and Jabo, Inc. Most marbles however are manufactured in Mexico and China. Below are examples of some new marbles.
While these are all very colorful and beautiful marbles, they hold no particular value to collectors other than current face value. Most of these are 10 cents to 50 cents each.
Vacor - Mega Marbles (Mexico)
Imperial - (China)
Jabo, Inc. USA
Jabo has been running special custom runs of marbles in the last few years that have become more collectible. These are the most common styles you see in auctions, antique stores, etc. and have very little value.
House of Marbles UK
Most of these marbles are made in China and sold around the world.
Some are glass and try to mimic old machine made or German handmade marbles.The last 5 years or so have seen a huge influx of these fake clay and sulphide marbles.
The most common are clay marbles said to be dredged from a river, from the Tennessee area, Civil War marbles, etc. If these clay marbles had been in a river for 100 years you can bet they would have disintegrated, be in pieces and not be in perfect condition.
These are easy to catch. They are very heavy for clay, have crude magic marker drawn graphics and many have crazing added to make them look old.
New Clay Marbles - Very heavy, crude graphics, crazed
Civil War Marbles - All are fakes
If you have a few marbles you need some help identifying or need an approximate value, we are always happy to try and help you out at no cost. Simply email a digital image to us so we can give you a more accurate description of the marbles.
If you have just one or a few marbles, you can send individual shots of each marble if you like. A group shot is fine also.
If you have a large amount of marbles save yourself time by sorting your marbles into groups of 30 or 40 marbles. (larger groups are fine if you have 100's)
Quickly eliminate marbles of little value by taking out all solid color game marbles, transparent clear glass marbles of any color and all of the cat-eye style marbles. (these have no value to collectors) See pictures below for examples.
I prefer email as it is easier to see the pictures.
Email pictures to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't send pics of the marbles pictured above. They have no real value.
This guide is meant to be a simple and quick way to identify and learn about vintage marbles. It is not meant to be the definitive guide to every type of marble ever produced. But I will try and answer some of the most common questions I am frequently asked, as well as show examples of some of the most collectible marbles.
The links above will take you to photos and descriptions of each marble type listed.
For more advanced and detailed ID pages, visit www.marblealan.com.
One of my most often asked questions. Let's first determine where the marbles came from. Do you know about their history? Are they from a grandparent or relative or did you get them at an auction?
The age of the person you get them from will help right away. A 65 year old would have marbles from the early 50's, a 75 year old from the early 40's, etc.
If you get marbles from an auction or antique store it can be much more difficult to figure out. Most of the time the marbles will be old, we just aren't sure how old. Auctioneers will sometimes 'seed' an auction with Ball jars containing new marbles and call them vintage at the sale. Antique stores may have booths with these same jars. Many have fallen for this and overpaid for brand new marbles, including booth operators.
Browse through the picture pages listed here and you will start to get an idea of how old your marbles are if you recognize a few.
Condition is key to the overall value of a marble. Marbles are antique toys made of glass or clay. Like any glass antique, whether a plate or a marble, chips, cracks, etc. lower the final value significantly. It does not take much damage at all to lower the value of a marble.
This can be a real issue with marbles since they were kid's toys meant to be played with. The majority of marbles will have some damage. Collectors want mint marbles or as close to that as can be found. Marbles in poor condition will be of little value even if they are very valuable in mint condition.
Remember, just because a marble is old does not mean it's valuable. Condition, Condition, Condition! This is so important. If your marbles are chipped up and in rough condition, they will not appraise for much value.
If you are interested in selling an individual marble, a few marbles or an entire collection of marbles directly to BuyMarbles.com, we are always interested in discussing this option with you. I pay top $$$ for quality vintage marbles.
Marbles we are interested in are almost always pre-1950's. How do you know how old your marbles are? Check out the Marble Identification / Help section for more information and pictures.
We also buy marble related items such as original boxes, tins, bags, postcards, photos, artwork, games and just about anything else that is related to marbles.
If you are interested in selling marbles or related items, contact us through the feedback form and we will contact you within 24 hours to discuss it further.
If you already have digital Images of the items, go to the Contact Us area below for instructions on how to email them to us.
Please note: The approximate values I quote are based on the current marble market based on eBay sales and marble shows. I attend approximately six marble shows a year around the USA. The current collectibles market has dropped significantly due to the economy and marble prices have also fallen.
If you are comparing my appraisal to book values realize that most of these books are older and prices for some of the marbles may have gone up and many may have gone down since publishing.
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Do not send an email to ask if I will appraise your marbles. YES I will.
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