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Millersburg Glass with a Twist

Nick Sabo | October 5th, 2013

The glassmaker threw it all at this purple Four Pillars vase, twisting the body, flattening the rim, and swinging it out from its original 7" length to 12". A one-of-a-kind whimsy, it sold for $1607.

An outstanding piece of Millersburg, this 11" purple Peacock at Urn tri-corner bowl combined a rare piece with incredible radium iridescence. It sold for $25,007.

This very nice example of a Nesting Swan bowl in purple had outstanding radium irid. It sold for $582.

Always a fun addition to any auction, the Peacock at Urn “mystery” bowls have a flower petal dipping over the urn rim. Other Peacock at Urn patterns have the flowers sitting in the urn on tall stems. This mystery bowl, in green with radium irid, had a three-in-one edge and sold for $457.

The pressing on this 11" green Seaweed ice cream shape bowl was very strong and clear. It sold for $657.

This radium purple Roses and Fruits two-handled bonbon dish sold for $1407.

Good things do come in small sizes. This purple Big Fish ice cream shape bowl was only 7½" but had a clear-as-day pressing and great radium irid. It had a small tool mark on the bottom and sold for $807.

Millersburg Glass Association/ Jim Wroda Auction Service, Millersburg, Ohio

Photos courtesy Jim Wroda Auction Service

A one-of-a-kind vase added an interesting twist to the October 5, 2013, sale organized by the Millersburg Glass Assocation (MGA).

A swung purple Four Pillars vase whimsy with a twist through the body and flattened top from the collection of David Cotton sold for $1607 (a $7 successful bid fee was applied to each lot). Though not the top-selling lot, it drew plenty of interest because it is the first of its kind to come to auction.

The vase was one of a selection of quality glass in a relatively small sale. The 118-lot auction drew a respectably sized crowd that did some very brisk bidding. Ten lots were added on the day of the auction.

Auctioneer Jim Wroda of Jim Wroda Auction Service said you don’t see too many small sales that bring as much as the MGA’s did.

“With any other carnival, yes, it would be real tough,” Wroda said. “You’re just not going to see it. Last week we sold 600 pieces, and the total sale was around $60,000. Here, the total is approximately $72,000.”

It bodes well for future Millersburg-only auctions planned by the MGA. The association plans a three-year rotating schedule, with small 100-125-lot sales every year for two years and a larger 300-plus lot sale every third year.

MGA president Randy Jones said the association was formed in 2012 to educate about Millersburg glass, as well as to create a forum for enthusiasts to share their passion and experiences. Unlike other national carnival glass associations that meet annually, the MGA is not likely to couple its auctions with a convention anytime soon, Jones said.

“When we formed the association, we weren’t really thinking of having a convention,” Jones said. “It is more about educating people on the glass.”

The Four Pillars vase has been recognized only in the last two or three years as Millersburg; previously, it was thought all Four Pillars vases were made by Northwood.

Cotton said he has been confident of the vases since the 1990’s because of differences in patterns confirmed by shards unearthed in a dig at the old glass plant. The sale price indicates that collectors are becoming confident in the authenticity of the vases as well. Swung out, with the top flattened and body twisted, the Four Pillars vase is a whimsy three times over. Three small steps on the inside rim on each corner were probably imprints from the tool that flattened the top or gave the body a twist. Cotton found the whimsy at an estate auction in Mansfield, Ohio, eight years ago.

“When I saw it from a distance, I thought, oh no, another Dugan Spiralex,” Cotton said. “When I got closer, and I saw it was not, I thought, it’s Millersburg, and it’s going home with me.”

According to Cotton, the feet on a Northwood Four Pillars vase are turned in, and the interior is ribbed. The feet bulge out on Millersburg Four Pillars vases, and the interior is smooth. The Millersburg vases sometimes are marked with a star pattern on the base.

The top-selling lot of the auction was a rare purple Peacock at Urn tri-corner bowl with excellent radium iridescence (known as irid to collectors). It met expectations, Wroda said, selling for $25,007. It was followed by an outstanding purple Hobstar and Feather butter dish with radium irid that went for $7007. Hobstar and Feather is common in crystal and sometimes turns up in carnival pieces. There are not many irid Hobstar and Feather butter dishes known, and the radium irid was simply incredible throughout the piece.

The sale had two Peacock at Urn “mystery” bowls. As did the Four Pillars vases, the mystery bowls took a long path to identification and recognition. The bowls get their name because it was a mystery for quite a while who made them They vary from the other Millersburg Peacock patterns in that a flower petal drapes over the rim of the urn. One in green sold for $237, and another in green radium with a three-in-one edge went for $457. Another variant in the sale was a marigold “absentee leaf” Strawberry compote—one of the leaves lacks veins and is blank and smooth. One of only two known, it had a small chip on the base and sold for $957.

For more information about the Millersburg Glass Association, visit the association’s Web site ( For more information on the auction, visit Wroda’s site (

Crystal butter dishes in Hobstar and Feather are fairly common. Add color, as with this purple dish, and hot blue irid, and you really have something. This one sold for $7007.

Originally published in the January 2014 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest

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