I have been in Ohio this week aiding with an installation of some equipment. The hardest part of the job has been the cold. The building is barely a building. Sheet metal walls with large gaping bays for product movement do little to protect from the elements. Earlier in the week we were looking at single digit temperatures. Not fun.
I’m staying at a holiday inn where there happens to be a major marble conevention going on. Marbles. Like the small colorful glass balls.
This is an atypical convention because the collectors are all spread out across the hotel in various rooms. Each room door is open and signs are put out in the hall advertising Bill’s Marbles! Cape Cod Marbles! Vintage Marbles! and people are encouraged to go between the various rooms to buy, sell, or trade.
Thousands upon thousands of marbles. Most of which are carefully organized, labeled, and tagged.
I talked to a few of the vendors and learned a lot about the different processes for making marbles. Firstly, many of these marbles are old – form the late 1800′s and early 1900′s. The marbles came from any of 20-something american producers, or producers overseas.
I learned about the cheap, plentiful Japanese cat-eye marbles – and the more ornate glass marbles that encase porcelain figurines. Some marbles are made in batch processes while others are individually made.
I realized that it’s not the easiest thing in the world to take pictures of marbles. If any of you photo people have recommendations I’m open to hear them!
The marbles I saw ranged in price from a few bucks a pop to $2,400. Just as in any world of collectibles, the rare, flawless, unique marbles fetch the highest prices. The vendors are armed with magnifying glasses and small flashlights to justify their prices and share the beauty of their treasures. For the most part visitors are encouraged to pick up and examine any piece of glass – I chose instead to keep my hands in my pockets. I didn’t want to be part of anyone losing their marbles.