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A guide to Chance glassware
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Handkerchief Vases

The Handkerchief Vase proves to be an enduring collectable! But which are the ones to collect, and which are less important?

First you need to know which are the commonest variety.

Sources: the Smethwick Heritage Centre. Book: 20th Century Factory Glass, Lesley Jackson

Collecting Tips

Vase sizes
Come in four sizes, but please note the height can vary up to 6mm (¼") and some points can be higher than others.

The vases are susceptible to nibbles and chips at the pointed tops and the transfer design is also prone to scratching, particularly at the base. The medium (5") and oversize (8") versions are quite scarce, although can often be confused with the next size down, so do measure them carefully on all points.

Measuring: if you're ever without a rule and need to use something as a guide then try a CD! These are exactly 4¾" (12cm) in diameter. From the edge of the inner hole to the outer edge is exactly 2" (5.2cm).

An unusual Onyx pattern

Collectable vases
The most collectable of the better-known designs appear to be the 'pop-art' ('psychedelic') ones, with irregular swirls of bold colour. Also worth collecting is the 'polka-dot' and 'gingham' cross-check designs, which was the last pattern created and only dates back to 1977 (despite what some people would want you to believe!) and were still being manufactured after 1981 by Fiesta Glass. The handerkerchief vases also came in many different colours (see below), although not all patterns used all the colours. Naturally it would be extremely difficult to try and categorise each design by colour and rarity, so we do have to generalise!

Ones having plain stripes, either vertical or horizontal (two of each version) are not as popular due to the large number produced (Pinstripe was first produced in the late 1950s), apart from the transparent purple transfer, which don't appear very often. In all cases the colours can be varied, with the gingham vases featuring a primary colour overprinting dove-grey stripes, apart from two examples. The large Handkerchief vases are less often seen and also fetch good prices, regardless of the pattern type.

Aqualux
The last type is Aqualux and made from coloured glass (green, amber, turquoise, blue, clear or red) with no transfer design. Instead there was one plain glass and four using a textured surface; Dimpled, Hammered, Chiselled and 'Bark' – probably influenced by the popularity of Whitefriars 'bark' effect (or vice-versa). None seem particularly collectable apart from the 5, 7 & 8 inch versions and the red and clear variety that are not often seen.

Rarities

Other transfer types not often seen are; 'Escher', which has the angled geometric pattern, 'Wide Bands' with three wide bands with the top one being white. The 'Grid' pattern does seem very uncommon but the 'Fleur-de-Lys' pattern is probably the rarest of the transfer-printed variety.

Onyx
The last rare one has only ever been seen once and is assumed to be Chance — it certainly has all the hallmarks apart from the standard of glass, which is not quite as smooth as the sheet glass on normal production models, although this could be a limitation of the process used to create it. Called 'Onyx' it is NOT a transfer print but features glass with a swirling pattern of mixed colours. Could be a similar process to that employed by Davidson for their Cloud Glass or Malachite.

Intaglio
These are very scarce and fetch a premium price – some items have sold for over £100 on eBay. Looking similar to 'normal' Chance Fiestaware except the designs are cut through the 'flashed' colour to reveal the clear glass underneath. They were released just prior to the introduction of the standard vases, c.1958. Known colours are white (opaque with stylised 'leaf' design) and Ruby- and Blue-Bandell (transparent with horizontal bands). These probably date no later than c.1959 once the cheaper transfer printing process had been perfected.

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