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Antiques—Milk Glass

by Terry and Kim Kovel
Glass bottles were expensive packages for alcoholic drinks and other liquids, including many beauty products, by the late 1700s. Makers liked to give products a permanent label, not just a pasted, handwritten, or printed paper label. So bottles were made with a thin layer of glass that was heated to cover the label and adhere it to the bottle permanently. Other less decorative bottles were made with the product name captured in the mold.

A label under glass couldn’t fall off, get damaged, or become illegible, so they were favored by apothecaries, the drug stores of the past. Many of these glass-covered labels were handwritten with the Latin names of medicines using fancy style gold-leafed letters. Glass Works Auctions featured milk glass barber bottles in an auction that included this American circa 1880-1900 barber bottle. It has a shaker top and a label under glass with the name W.L. Doremus, Bay Rum surrounding the head of a girl in a colorful bonnet. Highest bid, $222.

Q: I inherited a set of International’s Spring Glory sterling silver flatware 14 years ago. There are 12 five-piece place settings
and several serving pieces. I showed it to a dealer last year who valued it at $1,000. I need to know its current value.

A: International Silver Company made Spring Glory flatware from 1942 to 1996. Sterling silver flatware was a popular wedding present years ago. It’s not as popular today and, although the price of silver has gone up in the past year, sets of silver are hard to sell. It’s important to know if the value you were given is what the dealer thought they could sell the silver for or what they would pay you for it. You can check prices for Spring Glory silver flatware prices on silver matching services listed online. Replacements Ltd. lists a five-piece place setting of Spring Glory for $210 to $230. Matching services also buy silver flatware but will pay you a percentage of what they sell it for since they have to make a profit.

Learn about the record-setting prices scores of items have brought in recent years in the new “Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2022.”