In Appreciation of Pink Sharon

by Cheryl Kevish
Volume 20 No. 10 - June 1994

In my last article, the problems caused to the Madrid pattern by manufacturer reissue were examined. It is even more irksome to deal Pink Sharon plate with the subject of reproductions, but they are an unfortunate fact of life for DG collectors. Sharon, the Cabbage Rose pattern made by Federal Glass Company from 1935 thru 1939, has been one of the victims of unauthorized and unlabeled reproductions. Yet the compelling loveliness of the pattern continues to attract admirers.

The design decision to place a spray of roses off-center and asymmetrically on the plates and bowls of Sharon distinguishes this pattern from its many flowery contemporaries. But the use of the traditional round shapes for these pieces softens the modem touch and must have made it easier for the buying public of the l930s to accept. Today this motif sets Sharon apart from the other "A - W" DG patterns. Federal used its palette of pink, amber and green for Sharon, but did not create any blue pieces. A small amount of crystal pieces were issued. I discovered that my mother has the crystal Cake Plate, which is one of the most common Sharon pieces available today.

I have tried to "standardize" on an eight-piece place setting of each pattern that is being examined in order to facilitate comparisons. Given the vagaries of Depression-era glass company production, some compromises have to be made. In choosing accessory pieces, I give my imagination and pocketbook free rein to enjoy the fabulous variety of pieces made during this creative era.

The price increase for a basic pink Sharon place setting over the past fifteen years is a little over 130%. This is a healthy gain in contrast to the Madrid place setting. I suspect that is because none of the basic Sharon pieces have been reproduced. When Federal reissued Madrid in 1976 as "Recollection," the place setting pieces were included.

Pink Sharon
PIECE 1979 PRICE 1994 PRICE
Cereal Bowl, 6" 9.00 22.50
Cup 5.00 14.00
Saucer 3.50 11.00
Bread & Butter Plate, 6" 2.50 7.50
Salad Plate, 7½" 9.50 22.50
Dinner Plate, 9½" 7.50 18.00
Sherbet, Ftd. 6.50 15.00
Tumbler, 6½" 15 oz. Ftd. 23.50 45.00
PLACE SETTING TOTAL 67.00 155.50

The production method used for Sharon was the chipped-mold technique, which differs significantly from the more common mold-etched and pressed-mold methods. From what I have been able to research (see the Bibliography at the end of the article), It appears that only Federal used the chipped-mold production method, and it was limited to the Mayfair, Rosemary and Sharon patterns. Since the technique involved precision cutting of the pattern directly into the mold by hand rather than acid etching of the mold, it may be that this method was too costly for those economic hard times.

Unfortunately, the problems of reproductions and reissues will come up again with other DG patterns. I will try not to get on a soap box about it, but I do think that the subject does deal a "triple whammy" to all DG collectors. First, it directly impacts monetary value, which is an undeniable important factor. Second, it creates a poisoned legacy for the future, just as famous art museums have discovered, to their chagrin, that they have bought a fake Rembrandt or Picasso, some unlucky DG collector will find out that they have been duped. The resentment caused by these worthless fakes could crush their enthusiasm, and DG needs the help of committed people if it is to be preserved. Worst of all, I worry that someday these con artists might get good enough to fool our experts, and then the historical authenticity of DG collections will be threatened.

The damage caused to Sharon by reproduction appears in the accessory pieces. The Butter dish, the Cheese Dish, the Creamer, the Sugar, the Salt and Pepper Shakers and the Candy Jar have all been reproduced and consequently the originals have lost some of their value to collectors. The increase is a modest 83% over the fifteen year period.

Pink Sharon
PIECE 1979 PRICE 1994 PRICE
Candy Jar & Cover 25.00 50.00
Creamer, Ftd. 7.50 18.00
Sugar and Lid 19.00 42.00
Butter Dish & Cover 35.00 50.00
Cheese Dish & Cover 450.00 800.00
Vegetable Bowl, 9½" Oval 9.50 28.00
Platter, 12½" Oval 8.50 28.00
Pitcher, 80 oz. with Ice Lip 69.50 140.00
Salt & Pepper Shakers 32.50 47.50
ACCESSORY PIECES TOTAL 656.50 1203.50

My next article will feature Royal Lace, a pattern by the Hazel Atlas Glass Company.


Bibliography
Florence, Gene, Collector's Encyclopedia of Depression Glass, Fourth Edition, Paducah, KY, Collector Books, 1979
Florence, Gene, Collector's Encyclopedia of Depression Glass, Eleventh Edition, Paducah, KY, Collector Books, 1994
Weatherman, Hazel Marie, Colored Glassware of the Depression Era, Ozark, MO, Weatherman GLASSBOOKS, 1970.
Klamkin, Marian, The Collector's Guide to Depression Glass, New York, NY, Hawthorne Books Inc., 1973.