Marbles are just little balls of colorful glass that kids play with, right?
There’s more to marbles than you think!
Odds are there’s a marble or two lying around your house somewhere, or perhaps in your yard. Marbles have been a popular toy dating as far back as Ancient Egypt. A compact, easy to carry past time that may have been a precursor to many of the trading card games we see today. Marbles as a toy have gotten rare; many are now collecting these vintage and rare antique marbles as an investment, a guaranteed return in the form of round pieces of glass.
Many of the more valuable marbles were made in Germany in the late 1800’s. These were created one at a time out of multicolored glass by a skilled craftsman. Due to the time consuming labor the beautiful German marbles required, many of these marbles were not affordable by the average person.
In the 1890’s, mass production made its way to the marble scene with the invention of the first mass producing marble machines. Companies were quickly started and the flood of marbles came crashing in. Most of these companies had their own trademarked designs, keeping their marbles apart from the others. Akro, Peltier, Christensen, Marble King, and Jabo are just a few of the mass producing marble companies. These are not including the old German marbles which were grouped into styles, Latticino marbles, Lutz marbles, Onionskin…etc. These companies all had their run and only a few are still creating marbles today.
Now where do you start? You’re already there, the internet is a wonderful place to learn and 99% of the information is free! Don’t buy up every marble you see, as with any hobby you’ll find there are crooks out there that will tell you anything to get your money. Start by looking for message boards or blogs on marbles, these will allow you to meet others that have already been bitten by the marble bug. Ask questions and do your research on types of marbles out there, look up sites that sell marbles to get an idea on prices. The market will only go up on these compact investments as each marble is unique!
This article cannot cover it all; otherwise you’d be here all day. There’s a lot to learn about these tiny works of art, but they can be rewarding to your wallet in the long run.