Comments by Alan and Lorraine Pickup
From HOACGA bulletin February, 2001
When first starting to collect carnival glass, many of us have to wrestle with the question of what to collect. Do you collect shapes or patterns? Or maybe water sets or table sets? And many of us after collecting for years, still struggle with that dilemma. So at one point in our search for a direction we thought wine decanters would be a good place to start. We soon realized that there just weren't enough different patterns to choose from to make an on-going collection. But we did manage to bring together a few and still consider them a good shape to collect.
Imperial's Grape pattern is always an eye catcher and come in a nice mix of colors. Found in marigold, green, and purple with green appearing in both helios and emerald. This may be one of those situations where the color depends on whether you are the buyer or the seller. Smoke decanters can also be found, but be sure that it is an old one before you buy it. Imperial did reproduce these sets in various colors. We have never encountered a clambroth but that is a reported color.
Decanters are also found in the Golden Harvest pattern. They are known in marigold and in a very rare scarce amethyst glass. The original maker of this pattern is open to discussion. For many years it was thought to be a U.S. Glass product. Today, some think that it was really made by Diamond Glass of Indiana, Pennsylvania. And in the present day the moulds have made the rounds from L.G. Wright to Gibson Glass. But the old decanters and the newer L.G. Wright purple decanter can be told apart without too much trouble by the iridescence. The molds for many old carnival patterns manage to survive and are sold and used by other companies. Some are going overseas. But generally the iridescence just doesn't measure up to the good old carnival glass we love.
Two other Imperial patterns have similar shapes: the Octagon and Diamond and Sunburst. Marigold Octagon decanters are easily found but we have yet to see those purple and green sets that are purportedly out there. On the other hand, the Diamond and Sunburst wine set does show up now and then in a really pretty purple. The purple is in high demand for its scarcity and its exceptional beauty but the marigold may be the scarcer of the two colors.
Alan and Lorraine sent me this photo of Octagon pieces. On the left are a typical wine glass and decanter in marigold; on the right a decanter in olive green and a blue wine glass. They also have an amethyst wine glass.
We started trying to collect the six wine glasses to make a complete set. But that took up too much space to display, so we settled for one or two glasses for each decanter. After a few years of collecting you realize that you just don't have enough room to keep everything you like. Also we observed that when wine sets were sold at auction that a better price seemed to be realized for the seller when the wine set is broken up. Okay. One final thought. Were these sets actually used to serve wine or just bought for their good looks?