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In the Good Old Days Antiques Corner This Week in History
Antiques Corner

Which Came First?

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Question: This glass hen on nest came out of my grandmother's china cabinet. I've looked for it in antique-glass books but can't be positive of the identification because they all look so much alike. Can you provide any information about this piece?

Answer: American glass companies took a cue from European potteries that first produced painted ceramic hen-on-nest covered dishes in the 19th century in response to Victorian tastes for novelty forms. Subtle differences in the glass patterns and precise dimensions are important to accurately identifying these items, which have been reissued over the years as glass companies went out of business and the molds were reused. This one is identified as Westmoreland #2 5-inch hen dish produced by Westmoreland Glass Company, which was in operation in Grapeville, Pa., from 1889 until 1984. Westmoreland made the #2 5-inch dishes in more than two dozen colors, some made as late as 1983, but it appears production of the opaque blue-and-white milk-glass ones was limited to the early 1900s. Expect to pay between $30 and $40 for one similar to this.

-- By Tom Hoepf, associate editor of Auction Central News