Incredible appreciation in value over a short time is not common, but in the world of antiques, it happens time and time again.
One such tale of antiques revolves around depression glassware. What was once made to be cheap glassware to entice customers to not bail out on shopping, is now worth thousands.
Depression glassware came in several colors with a handful of patterns. Amongst them, a rare color was Ruby Red. In today’s guide, we will be looking at 15 rare ruby red depression glass patterns along with their worth. So, without further ado, let’s get down to business.
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History of Depression Glass
From the 1920s to the 1930s, a massive wave of financial instability struck. The dawn of the depression era was one of the worst things that could happen to the public, with scarcity and poor wages becoming the norm.
In such times, when people were unable to afford the little luxuries of life, around 20 glass companies like Federal Glass, MacBeth-Evans, and Hocking Glass decided to release cheap glassware for the public.
It is estimated that during the depression era, these glass pieces cost around the same price as a loaf of bread. Due to their cheap quality, these elegant glass pieces were often given by marts for free to make people buy more. However, as times changed, the glassware became a collectible, now worth thousands.
American Sweetheart – MacBeth Evans Glass Company
First up on our list is the American Sweetheart by MacBeth Evans Glass Company. This pattern was quite popular back when it was released from 1930 to 1936.
American Sweetheart was available in a myriad of colors including Monax, pink, ruby red, and cobalt blue notably. The overall design is quite delicate, and follows a floral pattern, with scalloped edges.
As ethereal as it may seem, the American Sweetheart is quite robust and can make for a great pattern for a dinner set.
Although the price varies for different glassware using this pattern, a sherbet dish can sell for around $13.
S Pattern – MacBeth Evans Glass Company
The S Pattern, also known as Stippled Rose Band, was manufactured from 1930 to 1933. It came in a few colors, all with their appeal. These included silver, true amber, red ruby, and yellow pieces.
In terms of the pattern itself, the design is quite intricate, making use of flowers and trailing leaf swags throughout. The glassware it was used on was mostly smooth and had no sharp edges.
The S Pattern is considered to be one of the least expensive ones, with prices of around $25 for even Tumblers.
Queen Mary – Anchor Hocking Glass Company
The Queen Mary pattern was manufactured by Anchor Hocking Glass Company from 1936 to 1940 as part of an attempt to evoke British royalty, an attempt previously made using Royal Lace.
The pattern was simple yet nonetheless beautiful with what seemed like densely packed vertical ribs.
Although Queen Mary was mainly made and sold in crystal and pink, the pattern also featured red ruby in rare cases. The main glassware that followed this pattern included dinner plates, tumblers, candy jars, and butter dishes.
The pink version is readily available in the antique markets, with the potential to set you back by $5 for a cup each.
Old Colony – Hocking Glass Company
The Old Colony was one of the cheapest and best gifts to give of its time. To be exact, it was made between 1935 and 1938 by Hocking Glass Company. Essentially, it followed a lace-styled design, a pattern on the rare end of the spectrum.
Although red is considerably difficult to come across for most depression glass patterns, it was made in large for the Old Colony patterns.
The Old Colony has seen a tremendous price hike by today’s standards. The most expensive Old Colony glassware has been noted to be the 9-inch comport that was listed for a whopping $700 in Florence’s Collector’s Encyclopedia.
Miss America – Hocking Glass Company
Miss America was yet another attempt at removing the dreariness from the air. It was manufactured by Hocking Glass Company between 1935 and 1938, similar to Old Colony.
It has since been reproduced through the early 1970s, particularly for glassware such as butter dishes, shakers, and tumblers.
Miss America’s pattern followed densely packed pyramids with sharp and clear edges. Visually, it was one of the most appealing glassware around and has since only been appreciated. You can now find a Miss America 10 Ounce water goblet in the market for as high as $10.
Philbe – Hocking Glass Company
From 1937 to 1938, Hocking Glass Company made Philbe, a relatively rarer glass pattern with deep engraved floral designs and lightly packed ribs.
The pattern is infamously known for baking dishes. Although it was also available in ruby red and beige, the most famous design had a pale shade of blue which made the overall piece stand out.
Philbe is a rare Fire-King pattern that lies on the expensive of the spectrum. One bowl alone can set you back by $15-25.
Old Cafe – Hocking Glass Company
From 1936 to 1940, Hocking Glass Company made the Old Cafe pattern. These were essentially similar to Queen Mary since they too had vertical ribs. The only difference was that they weren’t as densely packed.
It came in a few colors including pink, yellow, crystal, and red, amongst which the former was the most popular.
A pink Old Cafe pattern can be quite expensive. To give you a perspective, a vintage pink fruit dessert bowl can set you back by at least $45.
Sandwich – Indiana Glass Company
Also known as the Early American Pattern, Indiana Glass Company manufactured the Sandwich pattern between the 1920s and 1930s.
It came in a few different colors including forest green, crystal, and ruby red.
The pattern itself had scrolls and flowers with a horizontal diamond connecting them. In terms of aesthetics, the Sandwich pattern was quite similar to Princess Feather by Westmoreland.
You can find glassware in the Sandwich pattern for around $10 each per glass.
Manhattan – Anchor Hocking Glass Company
The Manhattan pattern was manufactured by Anchor Hocking Glass Company during the years 1938 and 1943.
It was available in several colors including ruby, pink, green, and iridescent but the most popular one was crystal.
The Manhattan depression glass is relatively expensive with a butter dish alone worth around $20.
Oyster and Pearl – Anchor Hocking Glass Company
There are only a handful of popular patterns whose name justifies their design and the Oyster and Pearl top the charts on that list.
Originally made between 1938 and 1940, the pattern follows a pattern that looks similar to marks made by an oyster shell. Most often, the dishes which used this pattern had a scalloped edge.
The pattern was notably popular in blush pink and clear glass, although you can also find rarer versions of it in red.
A complete dinner set, following the Oyster and Pearl pattern, can be bought today at around $450.
Coronation – Hocking Glass Company
Similar to Queen Mary, and Royal Lace, Coronation was yet another name chosen to relate to British Royalty.
Hocking Glass Company released the Coronation in 1936. The pattern included crystal, royal ruby, yellow, and green colors although pink was the most popular one.
Coronation is essentially a finely ribbed pattern with thin lines that becomes less dense in the center of the glassware.
It has striking similarities to a latter design by Hocking, known as Annapolis. You can find ruby red coronation plates for as high as $30.
Molly – Imperial Glass Company
Molly is not as popular as the other items on the list but you’re likely to have one around without realizing it. They have a relatively modern look with little to no engravings. Instead, it has a decorative pattern which makes it perfect for servings.
The Imperial Glass Company made Molly in the mid-1930s in ruby red, cobalt blue, forest green, black, and crystal, whereas the most popular one is pink.
Thistle – MacBeth Evans Glass Company
Macbeth’s Thistle can be a hassle to get in the correct color scheme for a collection but is well worth it. They were first produced in 1934 and have since appealed to historians and antique collectors alike.
Thistle comes in a myriad of colors including crystal, cobalt blue, and ruby red. The pattern itself is quite detailed, revealing a beautiful floral design with sharp edges and dense and fine ribs.
Today, you can find a Thistle pattern glass at around $13
Romanesque – L.E Smith Glass Company
Romanesque, also known as “Gothic Arches”, is not exactly a popular name in the world of valuable depression glasses.
The Romanesque pattern is breathtaking. Essentially, it is embedded with a triangular-shaped candlestick stick design that makes a heavily beaded effect. This makes the glass pattern shine in all its glory.
You can find this depression glass in various colors including ruby red, green, crystal, black amethyst, amber, and blue.
Since they are not easy to come by, glassware from Romanesque can set you back almost $20-40.
English Hobnail – Westmoreland Glass Company
Originally manufactured in 1915, the English Hobnail is relatively a popular design with a uniform square design.
According to a 1920s catalog by Westmoreland, the popular glass pattern was used in more than 70 different items, including cigarette jars, and even electric lamps.
It can be found in almost every color out there including ruby red, yellow, and blush pink to speak of a few.
Because it can be commonly found, the English Hobnail glass pattern has a low cost in comparison to others. For instance, an English Hobnail sherbet glass can be bought at around $11 as of now.
Factors Which Can Affect the Value of Depression Glass
Each depression glass pattern we mentioned on the list comes with a different price tag and if you were to decide the price of them concretely, it would nearly be impossible. Nevertheless, the following factors heavily affect the value.
As an antique made during the Great Depression, there was a wide range of colors, from ruby red to black amethyst. As you may have noticed, color primarily decides its value.
Pink glass is relatively the most common one with crystal glass as the second most bought one.
The rarer an item is, the more it is worth. A similar trend exists in the depression glass industry. Valuable depression glass pieces are essentially priced according to how difficult they are to come across. Common patterns, for instance, will not have a high demand but certain patterns that are more difficult to come by would.
For instance, a red ruby Queen Mary can be extremely difficult to find and if you’re lucky to make a set of two, it could easily be worth a couple hundred.
It should come as no surprise that the condition of the item significantly affects the overall cost.
If the piece of depression glass is in a rough condition with scratches, chips, and cracks, then that can heavily depreciate the value of the item. These can be due to a myriad of reasons such as being used for too long and roughly or getting damaged during packaging. In many cases, the glass pieces can be a target of unattended etching due to strong detergents and dishwashers.
However, it is to be remembered that the condition is not affected by original issues as much. It will definitely affect the cost, but these effects would be negligible. Now, what do we mean by original issues even?
Essentially, due to the low cost of production, many depression glass pieces have straw marks, mold lines, and such. But since these were part of the production, it shouldn’t affect the cost.
The pattern itself carries more weight than you would have imagined. If the pattern is simple and modern, such as Molly, then it will likely not be worth as much as a pattern with more intricate details such as Thistle or Miss America.
Collectors have a knack for items that visually represent the olden times such as the Victorian era. Likewise, they usually find appeal in items that can represent the old culture well. As such, a pattern that would stand out in today’s times and boldly shout the word “antique” is much more expensive.
It is also to be noted that the clean a pattern is, the more it is worth. A clean pattern would have no issues that may have come during manufacturing, such as straw marks.
If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a Red Ruby Manhattan dinner set with absolutely no deficiencies, then you’re practically holding gold.
This is not true in every case, but if you have a depression glass item that has a rich history attached to it, then it could heavily affect the price.
For instance, if it was used by a famous personality, then it could be worth ten times its current market price. Therefore, do your research with a background history check from where the item came. It may just have a richer history than you would have assumed.
Collecting Depression Glass can be a time-consuming hobby, but it is nevertheless fruitful. If you can make entire dinner sets with the same theme, then it can essentially be worth at least a couple thousand dollars.
That brings us to the end of this guide. Thank you for reading.