I’m always amazed at the constant barrage of modern Italian glass being sold at online auctions as Victorian art glass. At times even the large brick and mortar auction houses represent it as vintage Victorian era art glass.
It’s definitely a case of caveat emptor, but with a little research you can arm yourself with the knowledge to avoid these potentially costly mistakes.
When I ran across this original Koscherak Brothers advertisement, it was the perfect example to illustrate the reproductions coming out of Murano. To be fair to the Koscherak Brothers, it was indeed advertised as “Antique Reproductions, Exact copies of unusual art glass especially made for collectors”. The Koscherak Brothers were importers from the 1950’s until the late 1970’s of Murano glass (mostly low end and seconds), and Italian pottery. Interesting to note that according to the NYC business directory, the Koscherak Brothers are still in the importing business, luckily no longer selling antique productions, now they are listed in the NYC business directory as selling:
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Copies they are, exacting the are not. There are many clues in this ad to aid one in identifying other copied shapes. Note how the rainbow mother of pearl air-trap glass has bands between the colors, and the colors bleed together. Original rainbow mother of pearl air-trap glass did not exhibit this trait, it had subtle smooth transitions between the colors, note the delineating bands present in the lamp and rose bowl shown here. Another tell tale sign can be gleaned from the yellow tumbler near the bottom of the page. Note it’s metallic reflective appearance finish, this is not something seen on Victorian mother of pearl air-trap glass.
The Peachblow and Burmese type glass shown on the top row, and the trumpet vase under the pitcher on the top right of the advert is much different then original Mt. Washington or Webb products. Take a look at these examples of original work. First is a collection of period Victorian Burmese glass, note the uniformity of the crimping and work, no sloppy work here. Also note the shading of the colors on this homogenous heat reactive glass.
Next is this outstanding Mount Washington Peachblow footed bowl.
Compare this to the footed bowl in the upper left hand corner on the Koscherak Brothers advert, there’s really no comparison in quality, workmanship and the coloring. The Italian work is simply a washed out pink color, whereas the real McCoy shades from a lovely dusty pink color to a greyish hue. With the price differential between these two pieces being about 30:1 it pays to take the time to educate yourself to know the difference between the original work and the reproduction work.