Here’s how to get started.

By Corey Williams
January 30, 2019
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Welcome to 2019: Everything old is new again and what was once cheap is now worth a second mortgage.

If you dig the vintage look, but don’t have the money to spend on classic Pyrex dishes, I’d like to introduce you to a little something called Depression glass.

Depression glass, clear or colored-but-translucent glassware, became popular during—you guessed it—the Great Depression.

The Quaker Oats Company, and other food manufacturers and distributors, included glass pieces in boxes of food as an incentive to purchase their products in the late ‘20s and early ‘30s.  

Some movie theaters and businesses even handed them out to customers to draw patrons.

Much, but not all, depression glass is uranium or Vaseline glass.

The different types of glass can get kind of confusing, so let’s break it down:

We know depression glass.

Vaseline glass is yellow-colored depression glass. It gets its name from its petroleum jelly-like hue.

Vaseline glass experienced its heyday between the 1880s to the 1920s, according to Studio Antiques.

Uranium glass, meanwhile, is glassware that was made with uranium oxide. These pieces range from yellow to green. The use of uranium in glass manufacturing dates back to the ancient Romans.

So Vaseline glass is always uranium glass, but uranium glass isn’t necessarily Vaseline glass.  

Whew.

I know what you’re thinking: “Wait, isn’t uranium radioactive?”

Well, yes. It is. But, according to Collector’s Weekly, our bodies are subjected to many times more radiation every single day. The amount of radiation found in depression glass isn’t nearly enough to hurt us. Then again, it is still radiation, so do with that information what you will.

OK, so now that we know what depression glass is, let’s talk about collecting it.

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The most highly sought-after colors are green, cobalt blue, and pink, according to Dusty Old Thing.

Keep an eye out for these patterns, as they’re likely worth the most:

American Sweetheart

Cameo

Mayfair

Royal Lace

You can buy some pieces for below $10. Other, rarer pieces and sets can set you back upwards of $100.

Obviously, you’re gonna want to start at garage sales, estates sales, and your local thrift stores. People who don’t know how much their pieces are worth often price them way below market value. Etsy and Ebay are also great places to look.

Happy hunting!

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