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Lost my Marbles and I’m trying to buy them back… Indianapolis

By Mike Adams

Although marbles are an old toy dating back at least to the time of the Egyptians, serious collecting only began in the late 1970s.  Even at that time there were only a few groups of marbles that were deemed collectible; most being the German handmade marbles from the 1800s.  As these marbles became more expensive, collectors with modest means turned to the colorful marbles produced by the American marble companies of the early to mid 20th century.   This in turn drove the price of these marbles higher which led to even still more recent marbles from the late 1950s and 60s to become collectible.

Marbles have been used in just about everything from jewelry to game pieces.  Older stone agates can be found adorning umbrella handles and wax stamps.  Glass marbles were even used as reflectors in road signs.

Marble collecting is a relatively young collecting field and can be volatile.  Marbles were not meant to be passed down through the generations like pocket watches.  Glass formulas and marble styles changed frequently due to marble companies competing with one another for the child’s eye while material costs escalated.  Original company records are sketchy at best so most of the reliable information we have comes from original packaging, advertising and sales information.  

Marble collecting brings back the nostalgia of playing the game of ringer on a lazy sunny day at the playground.  Before television these games would often last well past twilight.  For those of us who are too young to have actually played marbles, there is a fascination with the endless variety of color and styles in which these little gems can be found.  The attraction that delighted children and persuaded them to keep a bag or jar of marbles tucked away as they moved through their adult years is the same attraction that motivates many collectors today.

There are a variety of marble collecting categories from the intricate German handmades to the finely crafted contemporary marbles being produced by artisans today.  One of the hottest categories are marbles made by American marble companies.  Peltier, Akro Agate, Master Glass, Christensen and Vitro Agate are just a few of the companies that produced marbles in Illinois, Ohio and West Virginia.  Indiana had its own marble company in Kokomo.  Collectors are also interested in marble related items such as original packaging and advertising, marble tournament medals and pins, postcards, games…the list goes on.  There are marbles and marble related items to fit every taste and pocketbook.


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