Resource Guide: Ddoty’s Carnival Glass

Our primary role at ItsAllOurVault is that of a seller. However, being in the business of antiques and collectibles is addicting. Soon you become a buyer (“Oh, I like this, I think I’ll keep it!”), and then a collector (“I have no use for this, but they match that set of glasses I have at home!”).

I’ve said this time and time again, but it’s because it’s important: Know a little bit of everything. The things you come across aren’t always going to be familiar. Their uses aren’t always going to be obvious. Their pattern names are always going to be clear. But once you do research, those details start to stick with you. That information is great to have in your arsenal, no matter which of those three roles you fill most often.

We’ve come across a lot of great resources. And a lot of useless ones too. This new series, “Resource Guide,” is going to feature one book or website that we find most useful. I’ll tell you how to navigate the source, what we use it for most often, and why I love it so much. You’ll be able to find all of the links I talk about in these posts to the left, on the navigation bar under the “Resource Database” link. I’ve already provided a quick breakdown of each one over there, so this will be a more in depth discussion.

And, as always, if you have any questions, comments, or new resources that you use frequently, please share the wealth! We can all benefit from each other’s experiences and knowledge.

The first resource I’d like to talk about today is David Doty’s Carnival Glass website. You might remember this one from when I talked about it in our How to Sell: Carnival Glass post.

Here’s a screenshot of what the site looks like when you first happen upon it:

It seems a little chaotic at first, but it’s actually extremely well organized. I’d suggest taking the time to explore each link and see what kind of information pertains to you and what would be the most helpful. There’s a lot of information here and it can be a little overwhelming. I’ll show you the sections that we use most often and you can start there.

Pictured above, you’ll notice one section is blocked off in red. This is, by far, the most important section on the site. This is Mr. Doty’s index. He has patterns, shapes, motifs, and makers all listed out for your convenience.

The first section contains a list of over 1,100 patterns. Wow! In order to find your way through here, you’ll have to know the name of your pattern. But if you know that, then you can click on the link to find examples, a description of the pattern, and perhaps some background information on its worth.

The second section is the index of shapes. This serves a dual purpose. Not only can you find the name of the item you may have (like “epergnes” for a flower/fruit holder), but you can also track down the pattern name this way as well. It helps if you know what the design is called, but it’s not necessary. It might just take a little extra time and effort on your part.

The third section is by far probably the most useful for when you’re trying to find a name for our pattern. This is the index of motifs. Just look at the theme of your piece: does it have roses on it? Hearts? Fish? Find the appropriate list and click on the motif’s name. You’ll be taken to a page that gives pictures of each related pattern, along with the name below. Once you find your pattern, click on it, and you’ll be taken to the page for that particular design.

Lastly, we have the index of makers. This is helpful for a few reasons, too. If you know the maker, but don’t know the pattern name, you can see a list of all the designs that company made. Just click down through (you’ll be taken to the pattern’s index page) until you find what you’re looking for. This is also particularly helpful if you’re a collector that wants all the pieces from one maker or maybe one piece from each. He’s also got a page for carnival glass that was made by non-U.S. companies.

Moving out of that main section of the site, there are a few more links that I like to frequent. First we have the maker’s marks page. It’s very important – as a buyer, seller, and/or collector – to recognize the different marks that different companies stamp their carnival glass with. Pieces may not always be stamped, but when they are, it is always extremely helpful to know right off the top of your head who made it. You can study the various marks on this page. He provides extremely clear, close-up shots of each one.

We also have the “about colors” link here. This is probably my favorite one to visit. It gives a list of just a fraction of the colors that were produced – the site owner states there were over 50! In addition, he warns that differences in glass between one batch and another made it so that the colors weren’t often exactly the same. You can click on the various colors he has listed here, and just marvel at the beauty before you.

Lastly, we have a section on fakes. This is extremely important to sellers and collectors alike, because there are certain pieces that have been reproduced to intentionally trick buyers. These are newer pieces that look like older pieces. You can click on the patterns to learn more about the forgeries and how to tell the difference between the real ones and the fake ones.

As you can tell from the screenshots, there are a number of other thinks that I didn’t even get into. You can play a game to test your knowledge, look at price trends, and even check out pictures of some super rare pieces.

Have you checked out this site before? If not, are you interested in it now? How often do you come across carnival glass in your travels?