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Buying Fire King Jeannette Jadite Jadeite
Many jadite reproductions are being sold as vintage on eBay. These are imports from China and Brazil or made by US companies such as Mosser. If you are interested in collecting vintage jadite, your best bet is to invest in a collector’s book so you can identify the vintage pieces.
Some repros look so much like the originals that it is only by noticing details that you can tell the difference. Some are fantasy items, meaning the item was never produced at all in the 40s, 50s, or 60s. Many jadite canisters and shakers fit this category. Others are reproductions of the original pieces.
Jadite was first coined by the Jeannette Glass company and refers to a color of glass, not a company or pattern. Green glass was melted down with other glass and poured into molds, making each piece somewhat individual as to the colorations.
When more green glass was added, the item produced was darker but most were a soft milky green. Jeannette and McKee both produced desirable collectibles but some prefer to collect Fire King by the Anchor Hocking Glass Company. Fire King produced many patterns and jadite is just one color of glass. Most of the Fire King line was milk glass with decals or fired on colors.
Today, jadite green is a popular term for the soft green color when describing other kitchenware such as Tupperware. It is easy to visualize, like candy apple red.
Opalescent jadite was produced by McKee and then by Jeannette. This type of glass is made by adding uranium or dioxide to the glass and then adding other chemicals during the heating process. During WWII's metal shortage, Jeannette sold their metal molds to the government then ceased production of opalescent glass as well. They did continue to produce some of the same pieces though. You may find some newer pieces of opalescent jadite but if you compare them carefully to a known older piece, you will see inconsistencies.
Jeanette and McKee mainly made kitchen glass with some other pieces as well. Refrigerator dishes, range sets, and canisters are extremely popular. Fire King had jadite kitchen ware and restaurant ware but also other items for the home. Other companies also made jadite for the home and there are many items such as lamps and vases still on the market if you look. You'll see some new, not vintage, items being listed as being made by these older companies.
Knowing the pieces each made will be helpful in determining a vintage piece.
You will need to remember that this type of glass was sold at dimestores and other low end dept stores. Some pieces were used as advertising or promotions. It wasn’t produced as a high end glass product and many have factory imperfections. The glass used was scrap glass, making it very cheap to produce. This means that when the glass was released from molds, it often produced rough edges.
Restaurant ware was heavier and thicker molds were used. This glass was used by the military, in diners, schools, and other cafeterias due to the way it held up to heavy use. Straw marks are fine lines on the surface of the glass and are produced before the glass has totally cooled. There may also be a tiny bubble of extra glass where the mold was released. These do not detract from the value.
Jadite can be spelled this way or also jad-ite or jadeite. When doing a search for items use all variations for the best results.
You may want to add to your collection by buying reproductions for everyday use. Or you may want to buy them with the hopes that they may one day be collectible but the chances are slim. Fire King introduced a line in 2000 but quickly stopped as it didn’t meet the standards of the older glass. Now, you can find many of these items at dollar stores. They aren’t rare and are cheap items for everyday use. In this way, you can save your more costly collectibles from any damage. Always place an inexpensive paper towel or other buffer if you must stack plates or cups. This will prevent any scratching or scuffing from stacking. Don't put your jadite in the dishwasher as this can dull the finish over time. Dishwashers today are powerful and can produce etching that will be almost impossible to remove except by a professional. As this is also costly, you want to avoid etching.
Fire King did not mark all of their pieces, nor did many other companies though luckily McKee marked most of their pieces. Fire King produced pieces for brand name companies as giveaways, for dept stores who did not want the logo displayed, and for other manufacturing companies who preferred their own label, so these items are unmarked on the bottoms. With a little research, you can quickly identify Fire King jadite patterns and molds.
Some may advertise Fire King logos as being rare. Here is a quick way to date your piece:
1942 - 45 FIRE-KING in block letters
1942 - 45 OVEN FIRE-KING GLASS
mid 1940's OVEN FIRE-KING WARE
mid to late 1950's OVEN Fire-King WARE MADE IN U.S.A. ("Fire-King" is written in script lettering) 1951-1960 ANCHOR HOCKING OVEN Fire-King WARE MADE IN U.S.A. ("Fire-King" is written in script lettering)
1960 - late 1960's ANCHOR HOCKING OVEN Fire-King DINNERWARE MADE IN U.S.A. ("Fire-King" is written in script lettering)
late 1960's- early 1970's ANCHOR HOCKING OVEN Fire-King OVEN-PROOF MADE IN U.S.A. ("Fire-King" is written in script lettering)
mid - late 1970's ANCHOR HOCKING OVEN Fire-King Suburbia OVEN-PROOF MADE IN U.S.A. ("Fire-King" is written in script lettering)
Markings on the bottom with dashes, bumps, and numbers are mold marks and batch numbers. They neither add nor detract from the value.
Items marked Oven Glass are not rare. These are less common than Oven Ware but are still easy to find. Logos that are printed backwards are unusual but not rare. You’ll usually find these on pie plates. Do not overspend when a seller tells you the logo is rare. Rare pieces have to do with the quantity made and the availability of the item.
Prices are rising quickly for Fire King jadite and less quickly but still rising are Jeannette and McKee. Although I have been collecting and selling jadite for many years, last year I decided to sell some of my own duplicate pieces and others I no longer wanted to keep. This year, prices have about doubled for the items that I sold. If you want to start a jadite collection, the time to buy is now. So many items are off the market and it is getting harder and harder to find good, authentic pieces. Just beware and know who you are buying from.
If the seller or user ids are private (made private by the seller), you can almost be sure the seller is selling reproductions. Check their other listings and more often than not, they have more than one of the item you are looking at or have other "depression glass", or "black americana." But some buyers prefer to keep their user ids private especially if they are selling in Japan, so that their competitors don't know what they paid. If the seller sets the user ids as private, this is most likely because they do not want buyers contacted by someone trying to warn them about the auction or other buyers who were fooled also. This is auction interference so don't attempt this anyway.
Some sellers are selling repros but using vintage glass company names, such as Mckee or Jeannette, in their titles or descriptions. This is a big no-no and in violation of ebay policies. These auctions can and should be reported to ebay.
Other sellers are a bit smarter and just say Jadite but they imply it is old by stating they found it at an estate sale or in their grandma's attic. It is possible to find new repros at an estate sale but highly unlikely. This should be another red flag. Honest sellers will always say if it is a reproduction. If you look under the seller's other items listed, you might be amazed at how many of the same item they were able to find at estate sales! Being from the south, I am appalled at how many of these sellers use southern memories, southern estates, or southern collectibles in their user ID.
Please do not think that all southern sellers are dishonest or misleading. If you are in doubt, don't bid. Look for a trusted seller.Most items of this age will not be perfect. Many were used and show some utensil marks. Most people from this era used their items but there are still the unused wedding gifts, diner boxes, etc, to be found. Look for items high in shine and without chips or cracks. Some will have a flea bite which is a pinpoint tiny chip that can best be felt with a fingernail but not seen with the eye unless you have very good eyesight. These don't detract from use or display but ask questions. Some sellers think a large chunk missing is a fleabite. Don't buy anything with a hairline crack
unless it is very minimal and for display only. A hairline crack on the handle of a mug can mean the handle can break under stress such as lifting a full coffee mug.
Just about every dealer knows the value of jadite these days. For the best deals, search out-of-the-way thrift stores and flea markets. Half the fun is searching and finding that great bargain. But if you are limited on time or by area, buy from an ebay seller who has expertise in this area (beware of some who think they are experts but are actually gaining their knowledge from other false ebay listings) or a dealer you can trust.
Read the seller's feedback before buying! I can't stress this enough. Hardly any seller has escaped from a buyer who can't be satisfied, but pay careful attention to how the seller responds to any problems. Pay attention to how they pack also. It is so disappointing to find a great bargain only to have that 50 or 60 year old item break in shipping, due to careless packing. If insurance is offered, buy it. If it isn't offered, ask the seller if you can purchase it.
Be aware that postal claims are not honored for poor packing so again, read the feedback to see what other buyers say about the packing of fragile items. If the item is high end or extremely fragile, you may even ask if you can pay the extra cost of double boxing. Most sellers will be more than happy to do so, but some will take offense if you don't word this tactfully.
One last note. If an item has a Fire King logo (but remember many aren't marked), it will say Fire King. An F in a shield is Federal Glass. A big H with a little A underneath is Hazel Atlas, not Anchor Hocking. Anchor Hocking uses an anchor in their logo.
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