Sunday, May 22, 2011

American Sweetheart

I'm a happy lady today. It's often the little things make the most difference. Just having a belly full of a simple, delicious sandwich lunch & a glass of sweet tea to wash it down can do wonders for my mentality.

But the funny aspect of it is the fact that the plate I ate the sandwich off of makes me so happy.

First off, it's Depression Glass. A category of dishes I was quite certain I didn't want to collect. (You might correctly point out that I said the same of Fiesta a while back as well).

Why I singled out Depression Glass so early on as a no-go is for a variety of reasons. So many patterns to remember and recognize. Prices can vary dramatically, from fairly common and affordable to wildly expensive and rare. The often ornate and delicate patterns sometimes come off to me as being 'fussy'. I tend to go for much more simple fare, or just the opposite - whimsically tacky.

There's also something almost paralyzing to me about the idea of having items that I regard as being 'for everyday use' - such as plates, cups, etc. - but knowing that they are within the realm of being 75+ years old and potentially irreplaceable, either in the literal sense or from purely budgetary standpoint.

In the end, this wrangle I have with ordinary use items versus collectibles to just put up to look at is one of the reasons why I think I gravitate so much towards Pyrex collecting. I'm generally a lot less fearful that I will break or ruin a piece, but if I do, I'm optimistic I could find a replacement within my generally meager budget.

But since I found this plate, I've used it all the time - despite my fears of Depression Glass & concerns about it's relative fragility and replaceability. Perhaps its tie-in to the Pyrex I like so much is part of it?This plate is "American Sweetheart" manufactured by Macbeth Evans from 1930-1936. This pure white color is known as Monax (Forgive the severe yellow coloring to this photo. It was the only photo I took that the pattern turned out reasonably clear on). This company would later be acquired by Corning (the then manufacturer of Pyrex). So you could definitely say this type of material is a forerunner to the tempered opal Pyrex pieces of the mid-1940's to 1980's.

I bought it on a lark during this last highway yardsale. I made a stack of unpriced dishes in the hopes the lady would give me a bundle price - which included this luncheon plate, a couple of Hazel Atlas dishes and some old Avon bottles. 2 bucks total, my kind of deal!

But in my usual style, I had no idea what I was buying. Little did I know that "American Sweetheart" is easily in the top 10 most popular Depression Glass patterns. I suppose I should say "Score!", but in truth, I feel a little bit daft when things like that happen. And mostly, I'm just grateful for the times that I end up on the happy side of the expression "Live & Learn". ;-)

I realize, too, that my "collections" are evolving concepts. I have been collecting Fire King Charm pattern since a few lucky thrift finds, but haven't been completely honest with myself about the fact that I'm far more drawn to the Azurite pieces than the Royal Ruby or Forest Green. Noticing the light blue tint around the edge of the American Sweetheart plate gave me the idea to mix and match with the one place setting of azurite Charm I have. Loved it! It's far more fancy and girly than I tend to go for, but I am totally enamored.

I frequently wonder how other fans of vintage glassware decide from the myriad of items, styles, colors & manufacturers, which exact patterns & pieces they truly have a passion for collecting. Happy accidents from thrifting? Family had similar items? See something in an antique store that was 'love at first sight'? Or just love a hodge-podge of it all?

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