1: I promised to let you have some results from our survey of readers' experiences and advice on glass insurance. The summary is at the end of this newsletter and I have added a few points from the literature on caring for glass collections too. I think the saddest response I had to the survey was from a collector in the States who allowed a magazine to borrow a valuable piece to photograph, and on the way the carriers broke it. Even though he had an up-to-date professional appraisal with photographs, the carriers' insurance did not cover it, and the collector's policy did not cover the piece when it was in transit. The lesson there is to be very careful when you lend any pieces to an exhibition, museum, or a magazine, to make sure that you have in writing their confirmation that they accept responsibility and that the piece is fully insured for all risks from the time it leaves your hands. Also, make sure that they have a copy of the valuation of the piece and they confirm in writing that the piece is insured for that full amount. Better safe than sorry. You'll be pleased to hear there are some good stories to tell about insurance as well!
2: On the subject of books about glass, we found two books just published
this month that you may find interesting. The first, by Charles Reynolds,
covers the unusual subject of glass banks. Click
here to read more about: The
Collectors Guide to Glass Banks (C Reynolds March 2001).
The second must be late getting published (it is dated 2000) because I have been waiting for it to become available on line. I haven't seen this Millers Collector's Guide yet, but it sounds interesting: Miller's Paperweights of the 19th & 20th Centuries : A Collector's Guide by Anne Metcalfe. If you would like to read more about it, click here.
I also found two very useful books from late last year. The first is
a price guide for all those printed
tumblers that we come across. Tomart's Price Guide to Character & Promotional Glasses Including Pepsi, Coke, Fast-Food,
Peanut Butter and Jelly Glasses; Plus Dairy Glasses & Milk - to read about it click here (that must be the longest book title I've seen in some time!)
And the second is by Tina Oldknow collaborating with Dante Marioni to produce a helpful book on Dante Marioni: blown glass - to read about this one click here.
3: Every now and then something happens on ebay that makes us want to shout "Did you see that?" Kevin Holt must take the credit for spotting this one - a paperweight put up for US$26 with no reserve, that sold some 35 bids later, for over ten thousand US dollars! If you want to take a look it was ebay #1411987000. Kevin (our "resident" paperweight expert) is going to write a short piece about this antique Baccarat paperweight for the website that he produces, so I will pass on the link when it is posted. The bidding was in Australian dollars, and both the buyer and the seller were in Australia. I had a wonderful email from the buyer describing her excitement from the time when she first found and recognised the paperweight on ebay through to the day after the auction when she had it in her hands. She said her hands were shaking in the last minutes of the auction, as the bidding soared and she only just managed to press the submit button with her bid. Wow!
4: And talking about paperweights, I have been doing some research on
the Apsley Pellat company (of London) and the "sulphides" they produced.
A sulphide is a ceramic medallian (or sometimes a tiny statuette) totally
encased in glass, and then incorporated into a paperweight or on the side
of glass vessel. Baccarat was one of the companies in France which produced
some very fine paperweights containing sulphides.The early 19th century
patents (1818 in France, 1819 in the UK) required the glassblower to place
the red hot ceramic medallian into a small, hollow globe of molten glass
(through a hole which was then sealed) and then using their metal blow
pipe, to suck out the air causing the glass to seal tightly around the
ceramic. That must have done wonders for the glassblowers' lungs!
On the subject of Apsley Pellatt, I have a reference to the company still operating in 1930, but no information about what they made in those days, or when the company closed down. They did not seem to have survived the war, as there is no reference to them in the literature in the late 1940s. If somebody could tell me anything about the Apsley Pellatt company in the 20th century, I'd be really grateful.
4: If you live near Michigan, then April is "Michigan Glass Month" and there are a whole series of glass events scheduled. Exhibitions and lectures about glass will be held at a series of venues including the Habatat Galleries (invited contemporary artists exhibition, March 31st to May 6th), the Detroit Institute of Arts (historic glass in historical settings), First 1/2 (20th Century design), ModernAge Gallery (20th century glass), the University of Michigan-Dearborn (March 26th-April 29th - Michael Glancy glass artist) plus several other galleries. It sounds like quite a month for those of you near enough to take part.
5: Once again we have some really special art glass pieces on ebay this
week. From Peter Viesnik we have a Cala Lily paperweight in very striking
colors, definitely a collectors special item. You can see it on ebay
Also from Peter Viesnik, a cobalt blue perfume bottle with millefiori inserts on ebay #1220419604, a delightful little paperweight vase at ebay #1221142412; also an irridized red crackle glass perfume bottle on ebay #1221137526
Keith Mahy is another highly skilled New Zealand glass artist, and we have two very different perfume bottles of his for sale. The first is a small classical shape with a very long and beautiful stopper, the body of the bottle in white, red and amber, on ebay #1221137298.
The second is one of Keith's beautiful pulled stripes bottles, this time with a black background - a very striking and beautiful perfume bottle on ebay #1220747955.
There are two superb millefiori paperweights by Peter Raos, the first a rare color (amber background) in his tidal paperweight series on ebay #1220752688. And the second a very beautiful "Monet" millefiori flat paperweight on ebay #1221141838
We also have a superb classical shaped vase by Garry Nash on ebay
and two paperweights with gold leaf, one in deep salmon pink and one in golden yellow background. You can see the salmon one on ebay #1220743445, and the yellow one on ebay #1221139801. And there is also a tiny blue perfume bottle by Garry Nash on ebay #1221142228.
You can see a preview at http://www.antique.co.nz/glass.html
and they are all put up without reserve. So far most of them do not have any bids.
If you like perfume bottles, or Peter Raos glass, there is a neat new page showing some of his recent pieces. You can see it at: http://www.glass.co.nz/raosperfumes.html
I do hope there was something interesting for you this week.
Don't forget the results of our Insurance Survey are right at the end of this message.
Very best wishes
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Glass Insurance Survey Summary
by Angela Bowey
Our readers experiences with Glass Insurance was very mixed. The most encouraging story was from a collector in Ohio who has had two claims in five years, and both were handled promptly and fairly. One of those claims arose when somebody dropped and broke a vase valued at $3000. The valuation was based on auction catalogue comparison, and an up-do-date list had previously been lodged with the insurer. The policy was an "art" policy, covering a collection worth $750,000 and the full value of the piece was paid by the insurance company.
I mentioned above the saddest story, where a collector in Washington agreed to lend a piece of glass to a magazine to be photographed. That collector received no compensation whatsover when the piece was broken by the carriers.
I have pulled together the advice that our readers offered, and added
some more items from the literature, to produce the following checklist:
Hope you find it useful:
GLASS INSURANCE CHECK LIST
1: Your inventory:
-make a list of your glass and update it when you add new pieces
-preferably with photograhs or video clearly taken in your home as proof of ownership
-with valuations and information about what the valuations are based on (professional evalution; auction catalogs; purchase price; etc)
-keep receipts if you have them
-lodge a copy of the list with valuations and pictures with your insurer
-keep a copy of the list and its documents in a safe place not in the same building as the collection (in case of fire)
-do not put your address on this list or these documents (in case they fall into the wrong hands)
2: Your insurance policy:
This is a complicated topic, with laws and practices and terminology differing between countries and between States in the US.
Here are the points that our readers made:
-be very careful to consider exactly what your insurance covers
-an "all risks" policy (which may have different names) which literally covers all risks including accidental breakage, transit, acts of god, or any other kind of loss, is the safest kind of policy but it can be expensive
-you may be able to reduce the costs of an "all risks" type of policy by excluding breakage
-you may be able to reduce the costs of any kind of policy by accepting responsibility for the first x hundred dollars loss yourself
-in some circumstances it may be cheaper to insure your collection as part of your homeowners policy, but not always.
-there are dangers with some kinds of homeowners policies which limit the amount that may be claimed for valuable items
-even if you have declared the items, some homeowners policies use a formula for limiting the maximum amount of any contents claim to a percentage of the value of the property (eg 50%).
-make sure you insure your collection for its full value, because in some circumstances if the whole collection is under-insured, the amount paid on a claim may be reduced proportionately even for a relatively small claim
-beware policies that insure you for specific risks like theft, fire, flood etc. because it may then be up to you to prove that the loss was in fact caused by one of the risks that was covered, and this can be difficult
-get more than one quote and don't necessarily choose the cheapest -look for the best value
-I don't think any policy is going to cover deterioration, like crizzling or solarization (change of color due to the sun)
-in some places certain risks are excluded from all policies eg earthquakes
-words like "comprehensive" and "all-in" do not mean the same as all risks. Read the small print of what is covered.
-be clear how the value will be worked out if you have a loss - will it be your original purchase cost, the cost you can buy a replacement for today, the cost the insurance company can find you a replacement for, your professional valuation, or a percentage of one of these - and is that what you want?
3: Professional advisors:
-a good broker can find you a good policy eg in some parts of the States they may be able to find you a Fine Art insurance policy that is cheaper than extending your homeowners policy.
-many brokers do not understand art glass or antiques so make sure you find one that has some experience in this area (ask other collectors or dealers or auctioneers)
-a professional valuation lodged with your insurance company can be a great help with a claim - but only if it is up-to-date. The cost of updating your valuation every three years or so is money well-spent (usually a lot less than the original valution cost)
-select your valuer with care, based on their knowledge and experience in this area
4: Caring for your collection:
And some final points about caring for your collection, since none of us want to make insurance claims!
-good locks on doors and windows, especially patio doors (goes without saying really)
-burglar alarms connected to a security agency are far more use than those that make a lot of noise, annoy the neighbours, and produce no noticeable reaction from anyone
-a blob of "blu-tak" under a piece of glass to fix it to a shelf will protect it from accidental knocks and also mild earthquake tremors
-some kinds of clear glass will turn purple in strong sunlight (and this is often considered a fault)
-some glass, especially thick glass, may crack if left in very hot sunlight (it shouldn't if it is properly made, but sometimes this happens)
-have a good fire extinguisher, keep ladders locked up, and think carefully how you answer questions like "What is the most valuable piece in your collection?"
And before we all become completely paranoid, let me share with you this piece of advice, based on a true incident from my friend Rosemary Tarlton - don't leave your parrot flying around loose when you go out and switch on the burglar alarms!!
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Glass Insurance Survey. I hope I have reflected your points reasonably accurately.
That's all for now - have a great week.