In Appreciation of Green Cameo

by Cheryl Kevish
Volume 21 No. 2 - September 1994

In the entire roster of Adam through Windsor Depression Glass patterns, there is only one that features the human form. Cameo by Hocking Glass Company is nicknamed "Ballerina" and "Dancing Girl" Cameo cream soup because of the delicate dancer who poses so prettily amidst flowing ribbons and festoons. Like Keats' maiden on a Grecian urn, this dancer is frozen in time and space, forever young and beautiful.

Springtime Decanter The pattern "Springtime", made by the Monongah Glass Company in the late 1920s (illustrated at left), is generally thought to be the direct precursor of Cameo. This delicate pattern was created in fine crystal and hand finished. It is possible that the original inspiration for the dancing girl was the famous Isadora Duncan (1878-1927). The dancer is willowy and slender with a long trailing scarf and bare feet, all characteristics of the infamous Isadora and her modern dance techniques. (See Mrs. Weatherman's book for Monongah catalog pages.) Hocking acquired Monongah and reworked the dancer to produce its first mold-etched pattern. From 1930 through 1934, Cameo was produced in great quantities in green, yellow and crystal with a platinum trim. A small amount of pink was also made. The shapes of the plates and serving pieces are traditional circles and ovals which places the emphasis on the circular center design and the dancing girl on the border areas.

Green Cameo is the most abundant. Basic place setting pieces have appreciated approximately 210% since 1979. The price of the saucer, usually an inexpensive selection in a place setting, reflects the scarcity of the piece. Hocking chose to let the Sherbet Plate serve double duty as a Saucer and discontinued production of a separate Indented Saucer. Mr. Florence Indicates that this was a common design decision for Hocking patterns.

Green Cameo
PIECE 1979 PRICE 1994 PRICE
Cereal Bowl, 5½" 9.50 29.00
Cup 6.00 13.50
Saucer with Cup ring 32.50 165.00
Sherbet Plate, 6" 2.50 4.00
Luncheon Plate, 8" 4.50 10.00
Dinner Plate, 9½" 9.50 16.00
Sherbet, 4 7/8" 17.50 32.00
Tumbler, 5¾", 11 oz. Ftd. 22.50 55.00
PLACE SETTING TOTAL $104.50 $324.50

Many of the accessory pieces have remained reasonable in price. The ones I selected have appreciated approximately 105% in the last fifteen years. However, some pieces have acquired astonishing price, tags. The green center-handled Sandwich Server was valued at $850 in 1979 and now lists for $4500. The yellow Butter Dish and Cover, $500 in 1979, is now valued at $1500 and the yellow 5¾" Syrup Pitcher has gone from $150 In 1979 to $1750 today.

Green Cameo
PIECE 1979 PRICE 1994 PRICE
Vegetable Bowl, Oval, 10" 9.50 22.00
Creamer, 4¼" 8.50 25.00
Sugar, 4¼" 7.50 21.00
Butter Dish & Cover 97.50 180.00
Candlesticks, 4", Pair 42.50 93.00
Platter, 12", Closed Handles 10.00 18.00
Pitcher. 8½", 56 oz. 22.50 47.50
Salt & Pepper Shakers, Footed 35.00 65.00
Vase, 8" 15.00 32.50
ACCESSORY PIECES TOTAL 248.00 504.00

Hocking had substantial manufacturing capacity and was able to produce a large quantity and wide variety of Cameo pieces. The Cup, Creamer, Sugar, Grill Plate, Cake Plate, Candy Jar and Sherbet were all produced in two different styles; the main variation is between what collectors now call "plain" or "fancy" handles. A Cocktail Shaker, Decanter and two styles of Wine Goblets testify to the repeal of Prohibition. The growing availability of refrigeration in 1930s kitchens is represented by the Mayonnaise Comport and Ice Bowl. An abundance of plates, tumblers and bowls made it possible to find the right piece for almost every occasion.

The only known reproductions to date are the Salt and Pepper Shakers. In addition, a line of miniature, or child size, dishes has been produced. Since no Cameo children's dishes were made originally, the "scale models" (as Mr. Florence calls them) do not threaten the value or the integrity of the original pieces. I once saw a set of these miniatures displayed in an elaborate doll house in a craft shop and found the effect pleasing if somewhat anachronistic, since the doll house was Victorian.

My next article will feature Mayfair, another pattern produced by the Hocking 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.