Vintage Bowls: Real and… Fake?

As you regular readers know, I love collecting vintage glass bowls.  I love stoneware or pottery bowls, too, but you have to set limits somewhere.  Recently while roaming around a large antique mall, I came across a booth that had a number of jadeite bowls and other items, for unusually low prices.  

I mean, really, really low.

If you shop for vintage jadeite, then you know a single Fire King dinner plate in that lovely shade, a mint-green milk glass, can cost $20 – $35.  For just one plate, yes, which is surprising when you discover those plates were used in high quantities in the restaurants of the past.

A jadeite bowl?  $65 is a price I’ve seen more than once. 

So imagine my surprise when I saw what looked like a vintage Fire King splash proof bowl in the Tulips pattern, made of jadeite glass, for only about $20?  

FireKing Tulips Reproduction Bowl Jadeite


The Tulips bowls usually bring $45-65 each, but I’d only ever seen them in white milk glass.  Jadeite?  

Gene Florence’s book Kitchen Glass of the Depression Years depicts this bowl in white and ivory, but makes no mention of jadeite.

Hmmm… there were no marks on the bottom, and I believe Anchor Hocking / Fire King was pretty regular about marking their pieces, unlike Hazel Atlas and Glasbake.  

Smells like a reproduction to me.  

To be fair, the dealer didn’t have “vintage” or “antique” written on the tag, but it was in an antique mall.  They had many jadeite pieces, including a hen-on-nest, spice shakers, and an incredible faceted covered candy dish.  I’m sorry I didn’t get a picture of that!  They were all $20 or less!

So what do you think?  Is it fake, or rather, a reproduction?  Would you buy it anyway?  

I passed, since I was just so befuddled.  I also passed on this lovely – and truly vintage – Federal Glass Co. bowl in the Country Kitchen pattern, which some collectors have nicknamed Tablecloth.  I’ve been eyeing this beauty for over a year, but the price just won’t come down low enough!


FederalCountryKitchenTablecloth Bowl


So did I get a new bowl?  Yes, I did!

This unmarked apples bowl was very well-priced, and covered in enough grunge that I was reasonably sure it was a genuine, “olde” item.  

Apple Bowl


It doesn’t appear in any of my collector’s guides, and shouldn’t be confused with the more commonly seen apples and cherries bowl made by (I believe) Fire King.  It does have the shape of a FK splash proof bowl, but due to its smaller size, I suspect it to be a grease jar without its lid.  Some online sources attribute this piece to Hazel Atlas, and it’s true they often didn’t mark their pieces.  Whatever it is, I like it and will enjoy it in my kitchen, especially in the fall.  It cleaned up nicely:)

Perhaps it’s a reproduction, too?  My opinion: I think reproduction pieces are fine, but they should be clearly marked as such.  Hopefully no one would pay a really high price for a piece that isn’t marked and doesn’t show the patina of age, unless they are absolutely sure what they’re buying.  Getting the vintage look for a low price, as long as you know what it is?  Sounds okay to me.

What do you think about the reproduction pieces out there?  Do you like them, do you buy them?  Or do you stick to true-vintage?


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15 thoughts on “Vintage Bowls: Real and… Fake?

  1. I’ve been in quite a few antique malls that had dealers with nothing but reproduction jadeite. I have seen the jadeite tulip splash proof bowl many times. If I’m gonna have jadeite, I’m gonna have the real thing. Unfortunately, most people buying it don’t know any better.

  2. I try to stay away from reproductions if I can. I see something marked at a low price and then lots of pieces like that, I think repro! Love the bowl you did get. I think buying repro is fine as long as you know what it is.

  3. I never buy repro pieces or anything I suspect is “too good to be true.” Buying that stuff takes the magic out of collecting and ruins the whole collecting thing for everyone down the line. There’s a lot of integrity and satisfaction in waiting, saving money, searching, finding, and preserving. Buying repro is like going to Walmart for instant gratification.

  4. Dawn, I love glass, too! That is one reason I subscribed to your blog list. I feel reproductions have their place, as long as the producers and sellers are honest and reveal the fact. I have even seen repro decals of the FK tulips being sold online. (I don’t particularly like the tulips on jadeite, though.) If I hadn’t been able to find my FK tulips grease jar in the wild, I probably would have bought a reproduction, just so I could have some of that prettiness!

  5. I think there is a place for repros as long as the person buying it is not snookered. We had a dealer many years ago who sold repro glass and “Shawnee” figurines, but he had signs up informing customers of how to tell the difference. Often people would buy a piece to have until they found the “real” thing.

  6. Seriously, no repro for me unless thrift store prices (but I do not see things like this at the thrifts).I have only ever seen repro Jadeite at one antique mall, full case of it. Never anywhere else. Jadeite Tulips looks… weird.

  7. The only repro I have ever purchased was a Jadeite cake stand because I really wanted one and knew that if I ever found an authentic vintage one, I would never be able to afford it!

    I have that same apple bowl and the seller at the antique mall I purchased it from had it marked Hazel Atlas.

    Have a great evening, Dawn!


    1. Thanks for that info, Erica. Someone else also told me they think it’s Hazel Atlas. If I ever wanted a jadeite cake stand, I’d definitely have to get a repro for that same reason!

  8. I don’t think I’ve ever spent enough on a vintage piece to stress about whether it’s real or not. But I’m not a serious collector, just looking for pretty finds at estate sales.

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