Marble has been used for many things in homes, offices, public spaces and games for centuries. It is used to cover floors, for counter tops, bathrooms, chess games, vases, marbles (for playing marbles), exquisite sculptures, and for building homes. However, the humble toy marble has also been known to be just as expensive – sometimes worth more than your car!
The creation of marbles
Marbles are traditionally made of glass, but can also be created from clay, wood, ceramic, steel and stone. There are many types of marbles that are significantly expensive and are sought after by collectors over the globe. In fact, collectors can turn the pastime into a lucrative enterprise, especially if one can obtain a rare marble. What makes a marble expensive is its ‘rarity, desirability and overall condition’. Collectors are especially keen on acquiring rare marbles, or marbles with unique colour tones and patterns. There is even a regular marble meet-up in Marlborough, England avidly named the ‘Northeast Marble Meet’.
The most wanted
Traditionally, the most sought after marbles are hand manufactured in Thüringen Germany in the 19th century, especially latticino swirl or divided core marbles, or those created on early machined in America early in the 20th century by companies including Vitro Agate, Peltier glass or Christensen. Marbles of unusual shapes or sizes, or those that feature identifiable characters or people often fetch a significant value price.
Types of Expensive Marbles:
- Teddy Roosevelt’s Face Marble – Only one of three in existence, this marble crafted in the 20th century using sulphide marble, features a porcelain head image of Teddy’s Roosevelt.
- Sparkler Marbles – Marbles with differing ‘strands’ of colours in unique shapes and patterns are often quite expensive. These marbles can also fetch a significant price when sold in unique sets.
- Pennsylvania Dutch Marble – This marble is a real beauty! Created in the 1840s of ceramic material, its age and rarity makes it a distinct collector’s item.
- Single Pontil Lutz Marble – This glass marble hand crafted in Germany in the late 19th century has distinct copper tones and is valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is because the Great War effectively terminated German production in 1914.
- Alley Agate Co Sample Set – This collection of 150 rare marbles was the sample set used by Alley Agate manufacturers to sell to customers and distributors in the early 20th As an original, the collection is quite exclusive.
- 19th Century marbles – Gold flecked marbles in unique patterns can fetch a price in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Onion skin marble – This marble fetched a high price at auction due to its two-inch size and rare mica panelling design.
The rarity of the marble, the higher the value, as more collectors seek to obtain the items. Obviously, if a marble is sold in a collection, the value of the set will be significantly increased. However, due to their high price, collectors do not tend to play with their prized items, choosing to keep the items in safe storage only for display or to gloat to other admirers!