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Champion Agate Co.

By David Chamberlain

There are times when you have it all wrong and need to admit it. I’ve had this impression for the longest time that Champion was second string. Hardly! Not only have they been around since 1938 and although having sporadically been down for the count like a real champ, they’re still in contention while almost all the other contenders have fallen by the wayside. That’s right Akro, Christensen, Peltier, etc. come and gone. Champion is still here! You’ve got to credit a marble outfit with heart that continues to operate out of what for all appearances is a Quonset hut (photo 1). I should also admit to mixing my sports metaphors.

Photo 1:Champion Agate 1

My introduction to Champion was my first marble purchase through the mail in 1989. Ol Charlie Stutsman sent me multiple sets of these 27 gorgeous swirls, slags, and squirmies (photo 2). Charlie had conjured numerous names for marketing purposes. Lo and behold, it turns out that this crop of pretties were created by none other than Dave McCullough, plant manager, in the mid-1980s during a stint with Champion. McCullough would defer to divine intervention but they all truly have his mark on them and were an attempt to duplicate earlier Ravenswood marbles.

Photo 2:
Champion Agate Company 2

Its probably too much to provide all 27 names/identifications of these New Old Fashions. They are decidedly worthy! Also to chronicle the darn near impossible number of Champion marble productions, locations, and times of activity (or inactivity) is beyond space requirements and my limited knowledge. But extolling the virtues of these marbles is a pleasure. Still, here's a taste of what's in Photo Two: #1 Pumpkin; #5 Red Cloud; #10 Honey Bee Slag; #13 Caligraphy Squirmie; #16 Bruiser Slag; #20 Gypsy Slag

I have another premiere put-together selection of actual Champion Old Fashions I know you'll enjoy for identification purposes (photo3).. These are attributable to an earlier Champion period, late 60s/early 70s. Im not 100% sure or even 50% sure. Help! Of course, do we ever completely know for sure what we have when we are marble collectors?

Photo 3:Champion Agate Company

I am authoritatively informed that the four marbles in photo 4 came from a 1946-47 run. They are my only oldest Champion marbles.

Photo 4:Champion Agate Company

One of my more intriguing Champion finds I picked up at Amana three years ago (photo 5). They were in a small zip lock bag and included the following typed note: I received these whirlwinds from Dennis Webb on 3-31-84. They were made for the House of Marbles in London, England by Champion Agate Co. and will not be sold in this country. They are modern remakes of the older marbles they resemble. They are smaller, ranging from to 9/16. Anyone who wants to tell me anything else about them, please do. Or if youd like a complete list of the names/descriptions for the 27 New Old Fashions, leave a response in the thread or e-mail Pinx.

Photo 5:Champion Agate Company

These days it seems like any run of Champions marbles that get out into the collectors market (like gifts to the Cairo Marble Festival) is billed as their last run. Photo 6 is the last run in 2000 hardly any color in them to speak of. And photo 7 is the last run in 2005 both marbles are semi-translucent with a very light amethyst. Sort of Blah actually, but theres plenty other worthy Champion marbles out there to get excited about. I have.

Photo 6:Champion Agate Company

Photo 7:Champion Agate Company

The marbles in photo 8 are in a box that I made for my collection. I believe these 5/8 marbles were named Stormy Weather by Charlie Stutsman. I cant provide any particulars on the 9/16 one in the other box (photo 9). Both boxes look like something Dave McCullough had a hand in.

Photo 8:Champion Agate Company

Photo 9:Champion Agate Company

I talked to Dave McCullough of Jabo this morning, and he cant recall if these beautiful 9/16 Ruby Reds (photo 10) were made subsequent to or prior to his 1984 accidental discovery of a good ruby glass formula. This is a story in itself which is detailed in Mike Johnsons books to come out in Spring 2006.

Photo 10:Champion Agate Company


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