Jump to content
Clement Arnoux (Aggelos)

Glasses : some warnings on the vintage stuff

Recommended Posts

I've just read the passionate debate in Scott's thread about ecailles glasses, and here I thought I would share a few pieces of information.

 

Is it an absinthe glass ?

You've seen a listing on ebay, and the glass looks vintage, and has a dose. Well, it's not necessarily an absinthe glass.

 

If you're looking for an absinthe glass, either buy it from a specialized seller (such as Marc), or look for the following types :

- East

- Yvonne

- Pontarlier

- Cordon

 

I'm not putting eggs here, because only a specialist will sell you the correct egg glasses

There are exceptions, but keep them for the specialists (and even them make mistakes).

 

Practical example : mg9242v.jpg

 

Bought in the same antique shop as the monster topettes by yours truly (they did have real absinthe glasses, but this one was cheap and I was curious). It's vintage, bistrot and very old. Seems to have a dose. Would do perfectly.

It's probably not an absinthe glass.

 

Characteristics defining an absinthe glass ? Size, proportions, weight, color. Which ones ? No real rule here, it needs mistakes and experience to learn.

 

How did we know cordon, east, etc, were absinthe glasses in the first place ? Glass manufacturers catalogs and vintage documents, mostly

 

quick edit : and don't suppose it's an absinthe glass because there is a modern reproduction (cf : ecailles, but not only, or double bubble glass). Glasses sold today only have one goal : provide a pleasant experience while preparing and drinking your absinthe. As such, any Pastis, or any other anise glass, any "vintage looking" glass (cf : versailles) would be good to be sold. Does not mean the antique counterpart was ever used to drink absinthe.

 

Is it an absinthe glass ?

(yeah, I know, same section title)

You mean, did this vintage bistrot glass ever contain absinthe ? If you're sure it's pre-1915 then yes, most likely.

 

There is a reason why pontarlier, cordons, and such are so hard to find (and as for myself I still don't know how Marc got such magnificent pontarliers and cordons) : they were scarce !

 

Simply look at vintage adds, vintage photos , vintage postal cards : how often do you see an "absinthe" glass.

Absinthe was a bistrot beverage, and as such, it was served in bistrot glasses.

 

That's why it's difficult to argue with a French antique seller when he sells you any vintage bistrot glass as an absinthe glass : they were indeed used to drink absinthe. But not only (there were also quinquinas, byrrh, etc)

 

Wow, what a magnificent Pontarlier on ebay !

You're sure you want to bet on it ?

I mean, alright, let's suppose first you know how to distinguish a La Rochere or a Frenchman from an actual pontarlier or vintage cordon (I've helped some seasoned absintheurs here spotting fakes).

Go for it only if you accept to put the hard price in a fake.

 

Yes, there are more and more fakes on the market, some of them very hard to spot. On a day I was strolling with Marc and one of the most famous French absinthe glass experts on a market, I bought a magnificent tarragona.

The thing broke under the weight of a glass brouilleur in a night. Something never seen before.

 

I've seen Marc asking for expertise on a Pontarlier a friend of us had received. Turns out it was fake, but you had to have it in your hands to know it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That's all for today, folks, open for questions

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thirded. This kind of information is difficult to come by. While being a "specialist" is subjective to some degree, I know that there are a few folks like Aggelos, Marc and Oxy who have been collecting for years and years, and have the hands-on knowledge that can only come from such exposure.

 

If even the specialists can be fooled sometimes, then paying collector prices for a glass is a dangerous game for anyone; of course, that goes for any collectible vintage items, absinthe-related or not. For me personally, I wouldn't pay high prices for anything simply because for many items, unless you were the original owner in contemporary times, you can never really know any other way (even something handed down to you from your father's father could have been the result of someone trying to "wow" their son and then never telling them the truth).

 

Case in point: I once read an article by a guitar collector who played and owned several 1960s Fender Strats (as the original owner for a couple), and he talked about having been taken to a secret factory in Japan where there was essentially a small assembly-line going which exclusively made knockoffs of vintage Strats. He said that they were so convincing that if he had come across one in the market without having seen this place with his own eyes, he honestly wasn't sure he could have been able to tell it was fake. The idea of someone paying thousands of dollars for that just made me sick.

 

Aggelos, I do have a question regarding the tarragona glass you mentioned. Did you mean to say that it was likely a fake because it broke so easily that night, or simply that it was bad luck?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the record, I ran those egg glasses by Marc before posting them here, just to be certain.

They are the real thing, as are the last two I'll be finding a home for. Marc was also very helpful in teaching me about generic bistro glasses, mazagrans, and other issues. Some that were used for absinthe AND other things, others that were not used for absinthe, despite facets that appear to be doses.

He is a gentleman and a professional. The smaller vintage bistro glasses have that nice heavy weight and do indeed make for a tactile absinthe experience. I had several bistro glasses that had facet doses right where they belonged that were clearly used for many drinks including absinthe, and they were wonderful to use. I've been told if you can't get up to 4:1 without any room on top, chances are small that it was used for absinthe. From what I understand, the generic Torsade is a perfect example of a multiple-use bistro glass that was used for absinthe as well. As far as those small ecailles, though they may not be official absinthe glasses, they really are wonderful for tastings. The rings measure out a perfect half dose that goes to 4:1 with room to spare, and they have that nice vintage weight in your hand despite their size.

 

Thanks for a great post Aggelos! :cheers:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Aggelos, I do have a question regarding the tarragona glass you mentioned. Did you mean to say that it was likely a fake because it broke so easily that night, or simply that it was bad luck?

 

There are some other clues (it was particularly thin, for example), but usually, the whole purpose of a tarragona glass is to be matched with a glass brouilleur.

 

It may have been bad luck, and truth be told, either the three of us were fooled, either well... I found the only fragile tarragona. Seems unlikely.

 

Scott, I did not doubt your egg glasses, I just mentionned one should be careful when buying them. This article is by no mean an attack against you, merely a topic of help for avid collectors like you're growing to be :)

And the additional info you provide is about right. The 4:1 ratio is not an absolute rule, but if often works.

 

And one last thing : Marc and Oxy have been around for far much longer than me, I'm known as a "newborn" collector in France (been collecting for less than 2 years). But I'm curious, financially capable, dedicated, and hell of a quick learner ;)

I still often refer to Marc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is quite a few people with good knowledge about buying vintage wares here, maybe you folks can collaborate and put out a self published pamphlet on the subject including contacts, dealers, annual antique events, etc. I'd buy it. We wouldn't become as good as the pros. but it would help from making a costly mistake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good thread.

 

Personally, I'd recommend that any newbie who's looking to make their first purchase of vintage glassware to buy from a place like Marc's site, and not from ebay. That way you're starting with a piece that's guaranteed to be authentic for reference (and enjoyment).

 

Also, if you get a piece off ebay that you're unsure about, post about it on the forums. I got a reproduction once that was listed as antique. I was fairly certain that it was a repro once I held it in my hand, but I wanted to post about it here before taking further action for 2 reasons:

 

1) I don't know everything.

 

2) To get a refund through Paypal, they say it may be required for you to have third party verification that the item is a reproduction. Being able to hyperlink Paypal to that verification is a good thing.

Edited by Phoenix

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree completely regarding Marc. I have purchased 3 glasses, two spoons, a topette, a sugar dish and about 8 saucers from him, and I will never sell any of these. They are all wonderful, and it's hard to imagine ever finding them on my own, or having it go smoother! I urge anyone to buy from him for many reasons; authenticity, packing, communication, knowledge, and accountability.

 

Aggelos, I didn't take it that way at all! You're a good man, and you'd have to work really hard to insult me! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
you'd have to work really hard to insult me!

Don't be so sure about that. He's French. You're an American. I'll bet he could do it without even thinking hard. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

while we are talking about vintage glasses could someone post a photo of a Yvonne glass, I figure this would be a great place to see a good example. For anyone that can help, for my own collection I would like a pair of each style of glasses, and spoons. I already deal with Marc, but if you have something from a personal collection ?

As for glasses I would need a pair of Pontarlier, matched (I have a few repros that I have been giving away as real vintage comes in, so speak up ) and a Yvonne as already noted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When you can't find what you're looking for, you didn't search Oxy's site good enough. ;)

 

http://www.absinthemuseum.com/images/Barnoud-Glass-33KB.jpg

 

http://www.absinthemuseum.com/images/Croismare-Yvonnes.jpg

 

Also, if you're getting rid of a repro pontarlier with facets (like this), shoot me a message.

Edited by Phoenix

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting discussion here.

 

(and as for myself I still don't know how Marc got such magnificent pontarliers and cordons)

From 3 reputable collectors ;)

 

On a day I was strolling with Marc and one of the most famous French absinthe glass experts on a market, I bought a magnificent tarragona.

The thing broke under the weight of a glass brouilleur in a night. Something never seen before.

It doesn't mean it was a fake, it means it had a flaw somewhere. I've posted a topic about Tarragona glasses on the French forum, some of them are very thin, almost like crystal wine glasses, and they are late productions.

 

I've seen Marc asking for expertise on a Pontarlier a friend of us had received. Turns out it was fake, but you had to have it in your hands to know it.

Yup, and I've sent it to an expert last week to learn more about it because it's a never-seen-before Pontarlier glass, nicely shaped. I now know that it's made in India but we still have to figure out who is ordering them.

Beware, I've seen another one on eBay recently, and it's most likely that we'll see more and more in the future.

 

And one last thing : Marc and Oxy have been around for far much longer than me

And I can tell you we're still learning and will always do, we often ask advices to each other or to other collectors.

But if I have a single doubt on anything (glass, spoon, etc) you won't find it listed in the Boutique, I'll keep it for myself till I find the truth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aggelos, thanks for the photo of the Yvonne glass, but it looks much like my East glass that I had bought from Marc. I could not tell but maybe the reservoir in the Yvonne not as narrow as East ? I would still like to have, just want to know the difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
you'd have to work really hard to insult me!

Don't be so sure about that. He's French. You're an American. I'll bet he could do it without even thinking hard. ;)

 

Whereas he is, of course, nearly impervious to insults. ;) :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
but it looks much like my East glass that I had bought from Marc.

Rob, to be honest, I got that glass from David, pictured it immediately, listed it as an East glass without thinking and later realized that it was an Yvonne glass with cuts (not that common).

My mistake, sorry :blush:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was not sold to me as an absinthe glass, I found it in a small town "antique" shop among dozens of other pieces of stemware. But the shape was very reminiscent of the Pontarlier" style reservoir glasses. The color caught my eye as well and I suspected it was a piece of Vaseline glass and it does fluoresces nicely under UV. It is very thin glass...wouldn't last a night in a bar. None the less it is my most used glass unless I have a guest joining me. The wide mouth allows the body of the absinthe to freely expand enhancing my enjoyment.

 

uraniumglass.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×