Home Glass Stories Why Collect Marbles?

Why collect marbles?

 

by Rich Shelby 2/16/2011

One evening I was chatting with some of my friends. The subject of hobby collecting came up. Some of the people I was talking to have collected or are currently collecting baseball cards, HO trains, Lionel trains, Krystonia, Cherished Teddies, coins, stamps, marbles and other categories.

We agreed that the hobby of collecting anything includes seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing and maintaining whatever items are of interest to the individual collector.

The items collectors collect may be antique, or simply collectible. One general rule is that antiques are items at least 100 years old: collectibles are less than antique and may even be new. This rule changes regularly and makes it frustrating for the collector. Collectors and dealers may use the word “vintage” to describe older collectibles. This presents a problem because one should add the year when using the word vintage. For example: The marble is vintage 1920. Note that “ca. 1920” is also used.

The following is what some of the “experts” say about the subject of collecting:

Diane Fricke's article, Uncovering the History Behind Collecting about Kurt Kuersteiner:

However, if the thought of collecting due to nostalgia and need for control seem impossible to agree with, Kurt Kuersteiner offers one more reason.

In his article, “Collecting Collections,” Kuersteiner says, “I believe the main reason people collect something is a basic interest in the topic.”

Can it really be that simple? The debate over the reasons people collect continues to go on, but the one truth that cannot be denied is that people will always continue to collect, whatever the reason.”

Terry Shoptaugh:

“A University archivist and instructor at Minnesota State University Moorhead, can shine some light on why people collect. In his article, “Why Do We Like Old Things? Some Ruminations on History and Memory,” Shoptaugh offers the idea that collecting is based on a need to inspire recoluction. People collect in an effort to remember and relive the past.

"We use keepsakes to stimulate memory, especially to trigger fond memories,” Shoptaugh writes. “But even if memory cannot be relied upon to faithfully reproduce a record of the past, it remains vital to our understanding of the past.””

Marjorie Akin:

“As an anthropologist from the University of California, Marjorie Akin is an expert on the subject of why people collect. Her essay, “Passionate Possession: The Formation of Private Collections,” shares Shoptaugh’s idea that people collect for a connection to the past and memories. “Objects can connect the collector to the historic, valued past,” Akin writes.

Akin also includes four other reasons why people collect. The first is to satisfy a sense of personal aesthetics. Some collect to please personal tastes. Others collect items that are weird or unusual to show individualism. Another reason is for the collector’s need to be complete. Akin said she has seen people cry out in relief once their collection is complete.”

Kim A. Herzinger:

“An English professor, award-winning author and avid collector, provides yet another twist on obsession with collecting.

"Collecting is a means by which one relieves a basic sense of incompletion brought on by unfulfilled childhood needs,” Herzinger said. “It functions as a form of wish fulfillment, which eases deep-rooted uncertainties and existential dread.”

While collecting stems from incompletion of the past, Herzinger adds that it's also a passion. “Collecting, like most passions, has the capacity to let (the collector) live in another world for a while. If I could tell you why passion allows us to inhabit another world, I would stop collecting.”

Herzinger says the collector is engaged in a kind of worship. “(The collector) is experiencing the kind of sensory transcendence that we most closely associate with religion or love. And, like religion or love, his collection is a kind of security against uncertainty and loss.”

The sense of completion is one of the main drives collectors. Experience however, Herzinger continues to explain that it's important for collectors to maintain a sense of control over their own collection. To collect every baseball card would be impossible, leaving the collector with a feeling of always being overwhelmed. To cure this, the collector narrows the field from baseball cards to, let's say, the New York Yankees cards. As the collection becomes more advanced, so does the procedure for collecting more cards. In this way, the collector can maintain the balance of control and completion.”

Werner Muensterberger:

In his book titled “Collecting: An Unruly Passion: Psychological Perspectives,” Muensterberger says that control of the object collected brings “relief of the child’s anxiety and frustration that comes with feeling helpless and being alone.”


MaryLou Driedger's article, Collections - Why Do People Collect Things? about Susan Pearce:

“According to Susan Pearce, author of the book Interpreting Objects and Collections one in three North Americans collects something. There are many different kinds of collections and collectors.

Some collections are souvenirs or mementos of a place.

Some collections are gifts.

Some collections are of practical use.

The desire to learn new things can also be the impetus behind a collection.

Some people collect things because of their monetary value.

There is no rhyme or reason for collecting them but they have a certain appeal or attraction for the collector.

Collections can remind us of positive experiences and important people in our lives. They can help us learn new things. They can be practical or magical. If you're not a collector you might want to think about becoming one. Collections can enrich our lives.”

Jim Halperin: http://www.collectorshandbook.com/?article=foreword

“Collecting is a basic human instinct; a survival advantage amplified by eons of natural selection. Those of our ancient ancestors who managed to accumulate scarce objects may have been more prone to survive long enough to bear offspring. Even today, wealth correlates to longer life expectancy – and could any form of wealth be more basic than scarce, tangible objects?

If you collect – or ever plan to collect – anything, your first priority should be to develop an honest self-awareness of your personal ambitions. You might even try to predict how those ambitions are likely to evolve throughout the remainder of your life.

For example, in addition to the instinctive predilection previously discussed, the most common reasons people collect things include:

1. Knowledge and learning
2. Relaxation and stress reduction
3. Personal pleasure (including appreciation of beauty, and pride of ownership)
4. Social interaction with fellow collectors and others (i.e. the sharing of pleasure and knowledge)
5. Competitive challenge
6. Recognition by fellow collectors and perhaps even non-collectors
7. Altruism (since many great collections are ultimately donated to museums and learning institutions)
8. The desire to control, possess and bring order to a small (or even a massive) part of the world
9. Nostalgia and/or a connection to history
10. Accumulation and diversification of wealth (which can ultimately provide a measure of security and freedom)

The motives listed above, and others, are not mutually exclusive. The majority of collectors reap several – often most – of these benefits, though some may invest excessive amounts of time, energy and discretionary funds.”

So, reading what the “experts” say, I contacted several of my friends to ask them why they collect marbles. I wanted to read their stories of what got them into this hobby. Below are their stories and I hope you find them as interesting as I did. If I cite their real first name it is because they granted me permission to do so. I received permission to edit and correct grammar and spelling if needed.

Andrew:

My marble collection started shortly after I started playing marbles, around 8 years old.  My coach would show us different a type of marble every week, so I learned the basics of collecting from her.  She'd give some of the medium-valued marbles out as prizes, I'd win some marbles in keeps games that she had (all of the marbles in the game came from her), and I'd occasionally pick up a jar of marbles at antique stores.  At that time, the driving force was simply to get some basic examples of whatever marbles she had shown.

Nowadays, my motives have switched a bit.  There are certain collections that I tend towards, some significantly harder to accomplish than others.  I do my best to diversify, but it would be all but impossible to collect dozens of samples of every type of marble.

The centerpiece of my collection are my contemporary marbles. Most of these aren't "collectable" in the normal sense, since they don't have the age associated with other collectables.  Still, I prefer these to machine marbles simply because their colors and patterns tend to be much more unique and interesting.  The fact that somebody actually put time and effort into creating the marbles also means a lot to me – in antique stores, all you really get are marbles that mean nothing to the people who are selling them.

Like any proper collector, sometimes-individual marbles mean much more to me than they would to others.  A while back, when I was about 11, I found out that my paternal grandparents had a sulphide (a particularly rare and valuable type of marble) in their possession.  They lived a fair distance away, so we very rarely saw them.   When I found out that they had a sulphide, I begged to have it, since I didn't have a sulphide at the time.  They told me that they'd look for it, and give it to me the next time we met.  The next time they did come up to see us, they didn't have it, and I was all upset about it.  Apparently they had hoped I had forgotten about it.  They learned their lessen the next time that they came up, about a two years after I had found out about the marble, and gave it to me then. Unbeknownst to them, I had forgotten about it by then.  It was quite a nice surprise, to say the least.

Jerry:

Nostalgia - reliving my early memories of playing marbles, winning prized favorites, and searching for elusive styles. The discovery and thrill of a new marble style or pattern echoes back to those days. There is another element to this, and that is knowing that my forefathers did the same thing, from father to great grandfather, and I'm handling the same marble types they handled.

Collecting bug - that universal joy shared among collectors of all things to discover the best examples of the best types and to inch closer to that sense of "completion" which is really impossible in marble collecting due to the nature of their construction. Every one is unique in some way. But it's still fun to try.

Thrill of the hunt - marble collecting is quite challenging and requires a lot of effort to find nice examples in the "wild", and there is nothing to compare with the thrill of digging through a big lot of marbles you might have paid $20 for and to see a pristine Christensen Agate roll out of the bag. It is quite addictive and I wish I lived closer to the heart of marble country so these finds were more frequent.

Beauty - antique marbles in mint condition can be strikingly beautiful

and charming. They were, after all, mere toys sold to children for pennies. Yet they are little works of art and history all neatly wrapped in a glass sphere that had its origins in a furnace.

Ray:

I started collecting sulphides because I was captivated by the ceramic figure floating inside of the clear glass, so captivated in fact that when I realized I couldn’t afford the volume of marbles it would take to satisfy my need to have more, I decided to make my own.

Jill

They make me smile!

When my husband and I got married, he had a few marbles and so did his brother. My husband told me his mom would have to sew pads on the knees of his jeans frequently 'cause he played so much.

Well, he didn't have many marbles, but I liked them.  I had a small accumulation of Star Wars items and he like that - so we switched collections.  I think he still likes his marbles: he always wants to look at what I got, and tells me to go get more. :)

I think it is like they say - it brings you to a place you were happy.

I am a painter, and I think the colors are what attract me.  They are little pieces of art!  I love them all, I think someone had to put the thought into the design: every single one, and just like us, no two are exactly alike: no matter what, even if we can't see the differences.

Francy:

Well let me see...hmmm...I was in my late 40's when I discovered them... I was captured by the beauty in something so small... the richness of the colors, the variety of patterns, all combined into something so very little.  It was the "How did they do that?!" that put me on a quest.

I think since the beginning that I have been more of an enthusiast than a collector. Wanting to learn, finding out more and even after seeing them made, it's still quite a curiosity as to how they turn out the way they do.  Granted I have a much better idea now than several years ago but there still seems to be a little bit of "mystery in marbles."  I think besides that, the people make it that much more interesting.

Edna (Weldon’s wife):

Weldon and I started collecting marbles when his mom died in 1992.  There

were 5 children and all were in his home, taking what they wanted, laying

claim to things and Weldon never spoke up.  Finally his brother Nathan asked

him " Weldon isn't there anything you want?"  Weldon answered "Somewhere in this house there is a jar of marbles that belongs to me.  I want it." That's how it started.  Most of Weldon’s marbles were either Akro Agate or

Peltier, with some agates and some West Virginia swirls.

We joined the Texas and began to learn names, companies, etc.  We bought books.  We wanted marbles like those in the books.  We couldn't find what we wanted to buy so started going to marble shows out of state - Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Florida, Virginia were among the first. Later we added West Virginia, Arizona, Nevada, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Missouri and eBay.  The internet was a big help.

At first I collected corkscrews and Weldon collected Peltiers.  I think the first thing that attracted us was the colors, then the patterns, and then we discovered contemporaries.  A Hamon family member came to our show in New Braunfels and we bought some.  David Salazar's family was there selling his marbles and we bought some.  That prompted a trip to West Virginia where we discovered Sammy Hogue, Jim Davis, Charles Gibson, Eddie Seese, and Boyd Miller.  We added Sistersville, West Virginia to our travels and discovered there Dan Grumbling, Geoffrey Beetem, Mark Capel, the Davis brothers.

In Phoenix, Arizona we discovered borosilicate marbles and began collecting

Gateson Recko, Daniel Benway, Filip Vogelpohl, Josh Sable, Aaron Slater, the

Giessler's, Kevin Nail, the O'Grady's, Cal Sugita, Travis Weber, Summerville, etc. In Las Vegas we found Stephen Pope, James Alloway, and on the internet we found Mark Matthews, Bob Badtram, and many more.

It just kept growing until we had to buy furniture to house the marbles.  We

collect all machine made companies and many contemporary artists.  For

those, it's a matter of knowing the artist.  Knowing the artist makes the

marble more attractive to me.  I see the artist in their work.  I like having marbles from progressing years and watching development of the artist

over time.  I like watching new techniques in glass working that lead to

some marble no one has ever done before.

Matthew:

When I was little, my dad made a marble racetrack out of putting two garden hoses together and then using that to roll marbles down hill. It was just like a roller coaster. He made loops and 90 degree turns and I had all the local kids involved. Maybe I was seven years old.

Dad also told us that he made a marble cannon out of a 4-foot piece of 3/4" water pipe. It had wheels and a cap on the back and it was powered by a firecracker - all this to shoot a marble.

Then in grammar school there was the game of marbles. Gambling and a skill game to win marbles. Wow!

When I was eleven years old, word had it that a rich kid down the street had a Schwinn Corvette bicycle. It was tricked out with suicide forks and a gooseneck deal for the killer handlebars. I remember this kid had money and pulled out a fantastic shooter marble from his pocket. Its was a 'gooseberry,' but he called it a 'cherry agate' and said it had special powers as a shooter while playing marbles....... yep!

You bought marbles at the bicycle shop. They had all kinds of stuff at the bike shop. I couldn't afford the exotic marbles they had there. It was a fantastic place. My dad went to "jippo's" to get my bike (it was used) but I went down to the rich kids house and he bent my front forks and suicided them for me. We would customize our bikes any way we could.

But no more marbles till I was in my late 40's. I was in a antique store and there in the front entrance was this huge display of old marbles. I bought some. I asked the owner who's stall was this. He said Randy. I kept going back and buying old marbles there and one day I met Randy. We became pals. He took me to some marble shows and I bought books and found out about auctions. The old marbles were so beautiful. Just amazing things. I guess it has to do with reliving your childhood.

I met a lot of collectors. It was really fun and a great hobby. Some of the people I met had fantastic collections with whole insured rooms of marbles. There was Joe, and Doc, Rick, and guy who had just one name like Geronimo or something. These guys had the "kind" - amazing glass ORBS of stunning rarity and beauty.

The best times of my life have been around marble people. I am learning new things about marbles: about "Exotic's" and even marking marbles.

So there you have it - a wonderful hobby.....yep!

Paul:

There are many reasons and any one by itself, while interesting, is not enough to drive me to collect. It is really a mix of the history an old marble might have to tell, which is why I keep even damaged pieces. I would not buy them that way for good money only because it is investing in the wrong direction, even though I do not see marbles as an investment. Also the memories that they stern from my childhood, the fantastic eye appeal of a good pattern and color. They make a nice display and conversation piece. Also that which comes into play are the relationships with good-natured people which I have formed through marble collecting. One other thing that I do enjoy is competition - this may not be a very PC outlook but I can't say it does not tickle me to find something in the wild that is sought after and rarely found. Which brings me to the part that I find the most exhilarating - the thrill of the hunt!

I am a window cleaner. I clean residential and not skyscrapers or the like. This puts me in many people’s homes and in many conversations with some extraordinary people. I, at times, go simply to look and do a bid for a particular job. One morning I arrived at an extremely large home here in town, about 8000 sq ft, and expected to find a Microsoft mogul or Doctor at home, many times they turn out to be little fun. But to my surprise a somewhat small 92 yr old man with a somewhat young feel to him came down the stairs to greet me in the driveway.

We get to talking about what he wants done, during which he tells me he is finally moving to a smaller place after 60+ yrs in this home he built after moving from somewhere in another state. He is full of stories and still has quite a wit about him. As I am saying goodbye he asks if I want any old junk and then says forget about the Antiques being his kids had already helped themselves. I kindly said that I had enough of my own and thank you no, but if you happen to come across any marbles as you are cleaning out let me know as I collect them. He says, "Sure thing, I will let ya know what I find when I see you in a couple weeks as I used to be pretty darn handy with a shooter."

Two weeks later I show up at his home and again he is greeting me before I am even able to get out of my truck. He takes one look at me and stops, "Oh sh-t, you are a marble collector aren't you!?" Getting excited a little I said yes, you said you were going to see what you had and let me know. The man looks down and says, "Ya know, I found my old box of marbles yesterday and as I put them in the garbage can I felt I was doing something wrong, I am sorry there was some pretty ones in there too, but I forgot." I told him no worries as they were long gone. We then spent the next 45 minutes talking marbles and all the different games he would play. He told me he would shoot his marble from spot to spot until he reach his home from school. Partly to improve his aim and partly to pass the time of a long walk. He kept his favorites under his pillow at night and during the day in the knife pouch of his boot. As he told the stories I could see him light up with the fond memories. It was fun to see a 12 yr olds sparkle in a 92 yr old man’s eye.

As the day drew on and I cleaned his windows, he diligently weeded his yard. As I would walk past, another story would surface. This went on for maybe 5 or 6 hrs off and on. At the end of the day as I am packing up to leave he tells me, "Paul, I want to thank you for bringing back my childhood if even for the day. I had more fun today talking and reliving my marble playing days than I have in many years. I never would have thought someone would collect those marbles we beat up as a kid."

So, as I drove away, I never felt like I missed out on a possible great find as I was thrilled with the time spent and stories told. The glimmer and excitement I saw in him was worth more than a few marbles I might have found.

Jean (Dave’s wife):

I will tell you that what got him started collecting was having to give up the marbles he had as a kid when his family moved when he was in the sixth grade. His dad thought he was too old to haul all those marbles he had collected and played with to their new home.  After we were married, he would buy a few marbles he liked at flea markets and yard sales.  I bought him his first book on identifying marbles, and that was the beginning of many enjoyable years of collecting.  In the beginning he collected everything, but over time he tuned into "flames," "oxbloods" and "sparklers" which particularly interested him.  The colors I think attracted him the most.  He really enjoyed spending time with marble collectors and helping people identify the marbles they had as a kid, or inherited from relatives.  Everyone who visited our home had to see his collection and listen to his marble stories.

Eric and Blair:

Blair and I have always liked glass vases and artwork. The fact that we got to know the artist and see how cool artwork can be in marbles. What's even cooler is how they look in a crystal bowl and all TOGETHER in the bowl - they take on a different look altogether. Add to that the fact you can pick them up and what's not to like?

Jackie:

I was about to say my collecting is based solely on the aesthetic appeal. If it's beautiful, I want it! Then I really looked at my marvelous little group marbles and realized there is more to my collection that just beauty.

In the beginning (before I became a marble maker), I bought marbles that boggled my mind - how on Earth did they do that? Even though now I am learning some of the techniques myself, I still treasure the earlier ones in my collection. They are so perfect!

I have marbles made by my friends: friendships that have developed through the amazing world of art glass. I have marbles made by my favorite artists and marbles made by new acquaintances. It is a collection comprised of implosions, florals, mushrooms, vortexes and surface decorated: the sizes range from micro marbles at 1/8" all the way up to 1 3/4".

My collection includes marbles made from Fenton Glass, Borosilicate and Effetre/Moretti.  There is not an end in sight to my collecting marbles.

Perry:

This is a hard question for me to answer, as I don’t consider myself to be a collector of marbles in the true sense. I got into marbles in 2005 when I was asked to buy marbles for another person who was scared of the Internet, then for 18 months I bought all kinds of marbles on eBay for him. Then $23,000 later it all went sour and he had a divorce and asked me to sell them all - so that’s how I got into selling marbles.

Along the way I slowly began to appreciate the beauty of some styles of marbles - especially the Akro colors which seem to please me.

The German handmades are another style, which I also like because of all the different styles. I also am intrigued with modern handmades of which I have a few: the problem for me is the cost being postage and shipping. I only buy marbles with patterns and colors that appeal to me, not because they are rare.

Michael:

I have always been a person that saved just about anything. I have items from my Grandpa, Dad, Grandma and Mother. I was a marble player when in grade school.

At a car show in the early 1980's, I found three coffee cans full of old marbles (just writing this takes me back to the exact day, time and location) at a cost of $10.00.   So I bought them for my children to play with as I did when young. My son even put one up his noise and had to take him to the hospital to get it removed - well just another memory.

Well now it is 1995 just had my first total hip replacement and was told to change my hobby of collecting and building hot rods, so I built a weather vain bird feeder. Trying to figure out a way to get it to spin I came up with some wood blocks and a marble as a bearing. It worked great.

I was at work talking about this feat of engineering and was told that a friends husband collect old marbles and would like to see what I had. So I went to his house with what I had left as the three coffee cans full which ended up as only three quart jars after the kids got finished going through them. After 5 hours of having mine gone threw and looking at his collection I instantly became a marble collector or what I would now call an addiction.

So why do I collect marbles - well I think I just do not know why but it is so much fun and the other collectors are so special. I have not missed a day not looking at marbles since that day except for two other times in the hospital.

Al:

Around 1997-98, before I first decided to start collecting marbles, my wife and I went to a friend’s house.  I was getting ready to retire and my friend had been retired for a few years.   I knew him from business days and he mentioned that he collected marbles and we knew "zip" about them.

So, we sit down at a table and he puts a heavy blanket on the table and then opens his safe and starts bringing out various marbles.  At that time, I knew nothing about them.  Looking back, I realize he was bringing out shooter size marbles first like Peltier NLR,s, CA's, handmades and others.  He starts mentioning values of each like $300, $1,500, $400, $750, etc.  All I remember is how beautiful they were and, wow, how many different types.  Of course, he brings out many regular size marbles and even a lot of peewees (miniatures of the big ones in my vernacular of the time).  He explained much about the hobby and also about the Vacors that looked like Pelts and marbles being polished, etc.  I remembered a lot of that part of the conversation even if I didn't remember the marbles names.  As a gift, he gave me an Akro silver oxblood.  I think I was hooked at that time but didn't know it.

I thought about marble after that time.  We decided to go to a Sea-Tac Show in March of 1998 to see what it was about.  Of course, we went up just for the show in Saturday - knew nothing about in-room trading, etc.  The show was pretty busy and we did not have a lot of time to chat with anybody.  I still didn't know anything but we saw a lot of marbles.  I bought one marble - a 5/8 MK Bumblebee for $7.  Outside of my friend's gift, that was my first marble.

I looked at some web sites (very few at the time - maybe just Alan's and eBay).  However, I did remember my friend's warning on the fakes, Vacors and polishing.  Also, being frugal, I wasn't ready to go out and spend $200 on a marble that I may or may not know about.

So, I decided to learn about the various types of marbles from the many marble making companies over the years.  And, I figured out that most of the companies packaged their marbles either in bags or boxes.  Boxes were pretty spendy, even back then, but bags were pretty reasonable.  That was my idea for learning about who made what.  If it was in their packaging, they probably made it.  (Of course, I learned about fake bags and filled boxes along the way but mainly, my theory of learning was good). So, I started accumulating bags of marbles - like polybags from MK, Vitro, Peltier and others.  I also bought a few bunches of marbles from antique stores, flea markets, etc.  But, bags were hard to find there.  So, eBay jumped out at me and I started buying.  I did not spend more than $10 on a bag of marbles for at least a couple of years, yet I soon had a collection of several hundred bags.  I did buy various types of marbles that I liked such as Champion Furnace marbles, then metallics, and, of course, many types of cat's-eyes.  An oxblood or two would creep in and then some Akro corks.  Peltier Rainbos had quite a variety of colors and patterns so they started showing up in my accumulation.  I never did get into handmades although I think they are beautiful.

It was still several years before I started paying more than $10 for a bag or a marble.  My largest eBay purchase was $35 or so for an accumulation of marbles or maybe several bags (averaging $5 or less each).

Of course, I studied packaging and marbles along the way and gradually became more knowledgeable and more comfortable buying bags and marbles that were higher in value.  I made a lot of friends and acquaintances and got to the west coast shows.

So, that's my start and how I got into marble packaging.  Now with over 2800 different bags but still not a lot of boxes (maybe 50 - 75) and a few thousand individual marbles (no shooter size except for a few examples), I have kind of settled into my niche.

Doug:

My experience with marbles started as most do... a kid. I began playing marbles when I was 11 and at the age of 14 I won the National Marbles Tournament in 1999. Since then I started clubs for kids to play marbles after school or in their cub/boy scout troops. As a higher competition player I wanted to be "well rounded" in all aspects of marbles, but unfortunately you don't find marble tournaments every week or every month for that matter. So, I decided to start collecting as a way to stay involved with marbles every day, and the way things are going I may look for a Marble Collectors Anonymous where I can tell my story to others that suffer from this thing called marble collecting... IT"S SO ADDICTIVE!

Matt:

I started collecting marbles as a child and I collected them because I played. Marbles have always appealed to me as something special.  My mother taught me to play marbles on the living room carpet and we would sort them and make up names for them, some we even got right but most not.

The night before a marble show and I can't sleep.

I don't really understand why, but marbles make me feel the same as I did on Christmas Eve as a kid.

I guess I collect marbles because it reminds me of a happy youth and in some fashion I am trying to relive some of that.

Leo:

I collect marbles because I played marbles when I was in the 3rd and 4th grades.

I had about 1,000 marbles in a box dating back to those days in grade school. They brought back fond memories of my youth and the friends I played with back in the early 1960's.

In the early 1990's I started buying jars of marbles at flea markets and stone spheres from people who made mineral marbles. I attended my first marble show in San Jose and I was hooked.

I started buying marbles at the marble shows in the Santa Cruz and Milbrae area and when those shows ended, I started traveling to Seattle, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fullerton, to get my fix.

I started selling marbles two years ago and look forward to continuing this hobby into my retirement years.

Marble collecting is therapeutic and brings my blood pressure down and relieves my daily stress.

The people associated with marble collecting are great and I look forward to each show, just to get together with these newfound friends.

Rich (me):

I am a lampworker and I make my own marbles but at the 2010 Orange County marble show and the vintage marbles collecting bug bit me.  There were several vendors there that helped me by showing me their best marbles.

I saw the color and the designs of these beauties and was so inspired by them that I bought several to use as inspirations for my own work with the soft Italian glass from the island of Murano, Italy called Moretti/Effretti glass.

When I was in sixth grade, I was the marble champion.  I won marbles from the principal, all the teachers that played and even Sally, my biggest competitor (I even won her shooter!).  I have then displayed in a 15-inch tall by 10 inches wide, apothecary shaped, clear glass table lamp.

In summary, one may go through all kinds of emotions when they collect marbles. One might experience affection, aggression, confusion, ecstasy, envy, embarrassment, euphoria, excitement, frustration, gratitude, grief, guilt, hope, love, pleasure, pride, and many more. Collecting old marbles may provide a study in history including finding out how the marble was made, where the marble was made and the materials used in making it. The hobby might be a way to have others become involved in collecting them as well. Friendships develop and there is a great possibility that good times will happen by going together to search antique stores, thrift stores, estate sales and other places where one might find these treasures.

Well my dear reader, I have totally enjoyed doing the research, reading what my friends have sent me and I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article.