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Alley Agate


By David Chamberlain


Id like to jump right into it and sing praises for my very favorite Alley marble (photo 1 11/16). Basically lavender and pink with shadings thereof and yellow. That slight streak you can see in the yellow sparkles like goldstone. Really!


Photo #1:Alley Agate



In truth, its not easy picking out favorites as Lawrence E. Alley, Sr., put his considerable talent and energies into all aspects of creating marbles. For altogether too long, some of the finest Alley marbles have been mistaken or offered as Christensen marbles or Ravenswood or Akro. Now as further research develops it can be said with considerable surety what is an Alley marble, although determining what is not might still be a challenge.


This is an Alley Flame (photo 2 11/16). Not a flame-like a FLAME and worthy of the name. Incidentally, I have four yellow ones of this caliber opaque and semi-translucent. This is a marble not to be denied!


Photo #2:Alley Agate Company



One of my earliest Alley marble acquisitions was the Pistachio marble in the group of four Calligraphy marbles (photo 3 5/8). This is a high-powered group! The brown one could be mistaken for Ravenswood brown variations. Then you've got a Mustard & Ketchup with non-Peltier patterning. The rarest is the blue and orange by my count. You will want to hold onto this one if you have it.


Photo #3:Alley Agate Marbles



The sextuplets in photo 4 have been variously mistaken for Christensen, Akro, and even Peltier. Not! They originated right out of a box of marbles that Jim Davis bought from Mary Domler whose husband worked at Alley Agate, Pennsboro. Those marbles were very much the Mother Lode! And many surefire identifications have resulted.


Photo #4:Alley Agate Company Marbles



I believe a recently identified rarity is the Black & Brown with grey 5/8 marble in photo 5. Other examples of this marble are in the possession of John Kinstler. While photographing many of Johns marbles, he let me have one of these. I suspected Alley but got additional confirmation from Mike Johnson. This 5/8 marble is a winner!


Photo #5:Alley Agate Marbles



You have to love the marble in photo 6. These three semi-opaque marbles (5/8 11/16) have the same coloring as the Heaton Agate Robins Egg. Or for that matter, the Akro Persian Blue. Its a color to die for! Your hand reflexively reaches for this one when you spot it. I will attest to this. And Ive bought almost every perfect one Ive seen!


Photo #6:Alley Agate Marbles



Okay, I lied! The marble in photo 7 is really my favorite. In fact, its so nice Ill provide another view in photo 8. I almost let this one get away from me because if you spend an hour or so, youll detect an internal fracture right along a color line. And immediately after finding it, I guarantee youll spend another hour looking for it again! I was going to trade it back but those two distinctly different green colors drew me in. Its a keeper and too!


Photo #7:Alley Agate Marbles



Photo #8:Alley Agate Company



Wonder of wonders theres even an Alley Agate double ingot (photo 9) at 1//16 plus. Akro double ingots are a dime a dozen -- try coming up with an Alley Agate one! For a quick group mix appreciation, see photo 10 purchased from Jim Davis in the mid-1990s; photo 11 purchased from Bud Cloven; and photo 12 purchased at the Las Vegas Show about seven years ago. Ive been tucking them away.


Photo #9:Alley Agate Company



Photo #10:Alley Agate Company



Photo #11:Alley Agate Company



Photo #12:Alley Agate Company



Next, going from small to big, theres photo 13 with sizes 3/8, , 17/32, and 9/16. That 3/8 one has the full blown characteristics of an adult marble and came in 7 or 8 colors. While bigger is not necessarily better, these four 13/16 marbles (photo 14), probably made at Alley Agate, St. Marys, have much to commend themselves.


Photo #13:Alley Agate Company



Photo #14:Alley Agate Company



Finally, heres a sweet little Alley Agate box that I ran across a few days ago. I just had to photograph it! It holds only three marbles and they are 5/8 inch. (Photo 15).


Photo #15:Alley Agate Company



As I said in a previous article on Alley Agate and before I came into a decent camera: Its not enough to say if its not a Christensen Agate marble it must be an Alley Agate marble. Alley Agates stand on their own first and foremost and with only a little (maybe more than a little) familiarity in handling, their identification becomes second nature rather than second guessing.


I believe you’ve been able to determine that I clearly have a great love for these marbles.




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