Antique marbles remind us of childhood times that seemed less complicated. I was recently going through a collection of old boxes that had been stuffed in the attic for who knows how many years. Our house is on a old farmstead and has been handed down through the generations. While it has sat empty a few times, for most of its life it has been occupied and each occupant has used the attic as a place of last resort to store unwanted items. One cold winter day I decided to climb up into the attic and see what three generations had managed to store away and forget. Amongst the trash and other items of dubious nature I can across several old cigar boxes filled with marbles. The collection consisted of different sizes. Some were clear, others were a solid color and still others featured swirl patterns. They were all quite beautiful. Later when I showed them to my father he said he remembered my grandfather showing them to him when he was a young boy. He said they must of been his dad’s or even my great grandfathers collection. I knew they were quite old and while I had no intention of selling them I wanted to find out what value if any they had.
I knew one of the first things I needed to do was to determine how old this collection of marbles really were. If a family member needs to know anything about the history of our family then Aunt Sylvia is the one to talk to. She told me that they had indeed belonged to my Grandfather who had aquired them new when he was a young boy. She heard that he spent many a hour perfecting his marble skills. This put the age of these particular marbles at about 90 years give or take a few years. After looking at a few pictures online and talking to an antique dealer I was able to determine that these were machine made glass marbles as opposed to the early German handmade glass marbles which would have made them more valuable. Most of the marbles that my grandfather played with as a young boy were made by the Akro Agate Company which was responsible for many of the marbles manufactured during the first half of the 20th century. There were also a few marbles in his collection that the Peltier Glass Company produced.
There were a total of 93 marbles in my grandfathers collection. While I didn’t have any antique marbles that would allow me to retire I was able to determine by checking out Ebay that I might be able to get a couple of dollars for about half a dozen of the rarer ones. I was somewhat disappointed but realized the real value to me was in rediscovering something that had given my grandfather hours of enjoyment as a young boy. My son just turned 9 and while I doubt he has the slightest interest in marbles I might bring them out some cold winter night and see what happens. It is so hard to connect with him sometimes but maybe, just maybe we can bridge that gap at least for an evening with a couple of old cigar boxes full of marbles. Perhaps Grandpa Pike will lend a hand.