From the Worthologists’ Files: Coin Glass

One of the advantages of being an appraiser is the sheer volume of incredible things one comes across on a weekly basis. Not all are hugely valuable, antique, rare or even all that sought after. Many times their value is only sentimental, but they often come with priceless provenances. Our Worthologist file cabinet is a treasure chest of such items– appraisal requests from our clients ranging from stuffed aardvarks to folk art zithers, all of which I’ll cover here in this column.

Central Glass Company “Coin Glass” bread tray.

Our client writes:

“I picked up this strange looking piece at an auction years ago, it’s a glass tray with a coin design impressed in it. I got it cheap and until recently have used it as a catch all for loose change and keys. I had a guest to my home say it dates from the 1800’s and thought I’d better have it valued.  There are no markings on it and it measures 10″ X 8″, in good condition with no chips, scratches or cracks.”

Our conclusion:

Based on the images, this is a Central Glass Company “Coin Glass” bread tray, decorated with cast American 1892 coin impressions. The original  “coin glass” was produced in 1892 by the Central Glass Company of Wheeling, West Virginia. The company was a manufacturer of glassware of a mainly inexpensive variety with a wide market in mind. The novelty of the coin glass product line was an attempt by the company to further broaden its sales countrywide.    

A number of denominations were used in the coin glass line,  mainly silver dollars and silver half dollars, but the dime, quarter, twenty cent piece, and three cent pieces were also used. Items in this novelty glass line included cake stands, footed bowls, celery dishes, goblets, sauce dishes, bread trays, syrup pitchers and pickle dishes. There are also spooners, jugs, footed sauces, and lamps. 

This Central Glass Co. coin glass rectangular tray sold for $76.01 in 2012.

Production was short for this product line. Only five months of actual production occurred before the Treasury Department declared that the process was actually a form of counterfeiting and destroyed the molds. In the current market, your Central Glass Company bread tray would sell at auction in the $50.00- $80.00 range(USD). The example above from our Worthopedia sold for 76.01. The one below sold for $71.00.

This Central Glass Co. tray  sold for $71 in 2013.

Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement. He can be reached through his website

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