Strangest Book of the Week #20 – Collecting Antique Marbles

People will collect anything, oftentimes regardless of value. They can be insular hobbies, or serious academic/historical studies relating the collectible item to the culture at large. Currency is one of the big ones, of course – numismatics (coin collecting), and philately (stamp collecting). Also collected are vintage postcards, etc etc, but I did not know that anyone would be…

Collecting Antique Marbles

by Paul Baumann. Published by Wallace-Homestead Book Co.1970. Including the booklet Price Guide to Collecting Antique Marbles (1976).

Is there a technical term for marble collecting? Apparently there’s even a term for people who collect beer mats: tegestologist. But no term that I can find for collecting marbles. According to the introduction, the author asserts that this is the first book on the subject. Searching Amazon, there are several more recent books on antique marbles, including a new edition of this book, updated in 2004. As a side note, it appears the author graduated from my alma mater, Beloit College, which I find kinda hilarious. Wonder what dorms he lived in? Might I have lived in the same room as this marbles fanatic?!? We shall never know…

After watching the following videos, you have to admit making marbles is an art form. And, it appears there are certain antique marbles that do sell for extraordinary amounts on eBay.

Photos of the book in question:

Description on Amazon, about the new edition: Marbles evoke memories of childhood and simpler times; perhaps this is why they are collected with such enthusiasm. Marble fans won’t want to be without this fantastic reference, which has been the standard collecting guide since its first publication nearly 35 years ago. Collecting Antique Marbles not only provides up-to-date pricing information in US dollars, it provides collecting tips and advice on the hobby every collector should know. This long-awaited 4th edition provides a full-colour look at the rarest and most collectible marbles in the world, aiding in identification and giving marble enthusiasts an eyeful of what’s out there. A history of marble types and manufacturers is included in the book, as well as important information on spotting fakes and reproductions. A new chapter on Carpet Bowls joins updated chapters on German Swirls, Onionskins, Clambroths and Indians; Lutz; Sulphides and End-of-Day; Transition and Machine-Made and many more.

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