During the Great Depression, beginning with the stock market crash of 1929, Americans learned to live frugally, and the glassware of the time reflected that. Depression glass, as it came to be known, was cheap and readily available, even given away in cereal boxes and in grocery stores. It came in a variety of colors like pink, yellow and green. There were numerous patterns from which to choose, and today, some are more collectible than others.
Research Depression glass. Learn about the type of Depression glass you want to sell. Study books like “Warman’s Depression Glass: Identification and Price Guide” by Ellen T. Schroy and “Collector’s Encyclopedia of Depression Glass” by Gene Florence. Check out websites devoted to the subject like depressionglass.net.
Contact an appraiser. An appraiser will be able to tell you about your specific Depression glass: whether it is a rare color or pattern, when and by whom it was manufactured, and how much in demand it is by collectors. To find a professional appraiser in your area, refer to professional appraisal organizations like the American Society of Appraisers, or speak to an antique dealer you trust, who may be an appraiser himself. Consult auctioneers and other folks who buy and sell antique glassware.
Set a price. The appraiser will give you an idea of a fair asking price for your glassware, but that’s just the beginning. It is also important to know the market. Visit antique shops and shows. Go to flea markets and auctions, and look on Internet auction sites like eBay. Be sure to observe the actual sale price of the Depression glass and compare it to your asking price.
Choose a market. Decide where you want to sell your Depression glass. Antique shops will often accept items on consignment. Auctions, either live or online, are also good possibilities for sales. You might try flea markets, antique shows, garage sales and swap meets. Put an ad in your local newspaper and on Internet sites like craigslist.com, and check for ads from people who want to purchase Depression glass.
Interview more than one appraiser. The letters CIA after an auctioneer’s name stand for Certified Auctioneers Institute.
Antique Depression glass may have been passed down in your family, but sentimentality has nothing to do with its monetary value.