Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Scandinavian 20th-century glass

Over the past few decades, mid 20th-century Scandinavianglass has become increasingly collectable and valuable. Brightly coloured, mould-blown pieces are still fetching low sums because so many were produced, but the best handmade pieces by known designers can be worth thousands of pounds.

Nanny Still for Riihimäen Lasi Oy
During the 1930s, Scandinavian designers strove to produce glass that had a handcrafted quality despite being mass produced and affordable. The success of this initiative led to a boom in glass design, production and export, which, in turn, led to Scandinavian style becoming increasingly influental. Across the world the organically shaped, thick-walled, clear-cased pieces created in Scandinavia were imitated and adapted by a host of factories and designers.

Typical 1950sScandinavian designs feature curving forms, asymmetric styles and cool colours. Designers in the 1960s were influenced by Pop Art and turned to geometric and cylindrical mould-blown shapes in bright colours. This gradually gave way to the texturedforms of the 1970s.

Orrefors vase
The popularity of the Mid-century Modern style and the high status of Scandinavian glass meansthat most glassfrom this period is desirable. However, mass-produced pieces are common and are consequently unlikely to fetch high values, despite demand. Unique hand-blown pieces are almost always worth more than mould-blown examples, particularly if the techniques used are complex.

Kosta Boda Zoo Kennel art glass afghan dog figurine sculpture design Bertil Vallien late 1960s early 1970s
The key criteria for assessing value are designer and maker. Several factories were at the forefront of production during the 1950s to 1970s, including Orrefors, Kosta Boda, Holmegaard and Riihimäen Lasi Oy. They have dedicated groupps of collectors and good glass from these factories is desirable. Value will increase for the workof a designer who defined or influenced the movement, such as Tapio Wirkkala, Sven Palmqvist, Vicke Lindstrand, Tamara Aladin, Nanny Still and Simon Gate.

Tapio Wirkkala bottles
Examine the base, as engraved markscan help with identification and dating. Not all pieces are signed but those that are tend to be worth more. If the lettering or signature is hard to read, try placing a piece of black paper or fabric inside the item andexamining the signature again with a magnifying glass.

Mid-century glass ashtray
Values for example by lesser factories, designers or ranges, such as John Orwar Lake for Ekenas, Strömbergshyttan and Eric Höglund for Boda, are currently low but may rise. Consider holding on to them in case they do.

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