Ask a Worthologist: Franklin Mint’s Limited Edition Pavlova Wine Glasses

WorthPoint subscriber Jessica A. found a limited edition set of 10 “Pavlova” wine glasses by Igor Carl Faberge made for the Franklin Mint at a yard sale and bought them for $55. Now she’d like to know more about them and their possible worth.

WorthPoint subscriber Jessica A. loves yard sales and began visiting them years ago as a university student in need of cheap household items. Now, she goes for decorator items for her home. Recently, she came across a set of crystal stemware that she thinks might be quite valuable. She e-mailed us via WorthPoint’s Ask a Worthologist service to get an idea of what she found and its value. Her inquiry was forwarded to me. Here’s her original question:

“I’ve gone to yard sales since I was starving student to pick up things for my apartment I could not afford new, like furniture, coffeemakers, toasters and dishes. I still go now, looking for deals on decorator items, like this set of engraved glass ware. I found it interesting because it was still in its box with a certificate stating it was a limited edition set of 10 “Pavlova” wine glasses by Igor Carl Faberge made for the Franklin Mint. I’m not sure what the sets is worth (I didn’t pay much for the set, only $55) but am curious about this set and its value as a limited edition.”

Here’s my response:

The Franklin Mint has a long history of producing “limited editions.” The company was founded by Joseph Segel in 1964 in Wawa, Pa. Originally, it was, in fact, a genuine, private mint that produced commemorative coins and ingots. The company has since expanded its line of products to include jewelry, plates, die-cast vehicles, dolls, sculpture and a huge range of other collectibles. Unfortunately, the main selling future of its products—the impression these items would appreciate in value over time—has not occurred in the majority of cases for the products they have marketed, even its collectibles made as far back as the 1970s.

Limited edition collectibles should not be considered investments unless they are in the form of coins or ingots that contain precious metal such as gold, silver or platinum. In terms of inflation, the vast majority of items made and marketed by companies like the Franklin Mint often fail to even maintain their original retail value over the long haul. That said, some items—like this set of crystal glasses—were very high quality and have either held their value or at least kept up with inflation.

In the case of these wine glasses by Igor Carl Faberge, they were made for Franklin Mint, circa 1980, to honor the centenary of the birth of Anna Pavlova, (1881-1931), a Russian Prima Ballerina from the late 19th to early 20th century. Each glass has a ballerina as part of the stem.

We have seen comparable sets to yours sell in the $300-$500 range at auction, with the individual glasses often retailing at $35-plus range.

Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.

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