Question: My photo shows some mint Corning cookware items owned by my grandmother. We have been told the pieces are collectible and would like information about them. - T.R., Villas
Answer: Founded in 1851 at Massachusetts, Amory Hough-ton's Bay State Glass Co. be-came Corning Glass Works when it relocated to Corning, N.Y. in 1868. A pioneer in glass product research and development, the firm lists among its many remarkable inventions Pyroceram, the white, glass-ceramic material used to make Corning Ware, durable one-dish items that can go from freezer to oven or microwave to table.
Designed by advertising artist Joseph Baum and first offered in 1958, grandmother's pieces feature the familiar blue Cornflower motif, Corning's consumer trademark for 30 years. During those decades, Pyroceram cookware was issued in at least 50 additional patterns that also decorated the company's Corelle tableware.
Prized and used by four generations of homemakers, Corning Ware casseroles, percolators and teapots, skillets, ramekins, loaf pans, pie plates, sauce pans, gravy servers and roasters made from 1958 to 1999 are among today's favorite kitchen collectibles. Practical, decorative, versatile and affordable, they are offered online as well as at yard sales and thrift shops.
A 16-inch, well-and-tree roasting pan/platter sells for $15 to $20 and often fetches $30 when complete with its metal roasting insert. The 2-quart lidded casserole is valued at $8 to $10, an 8-inch-square shallow pan at center brings $10 - more with a lid, while a petite casserole is listed at $4 to $6. The 2 1/2-cup gravy with lip shown at top left recently sold for $12 and the 1-quart saucemaker beneath brings as much as $30 when complete with lid and attachable handle, $18 with lid and $8 to $10 without a lid or handle.
Question: What can you tell me about an inherited speckled-gold metal plate, 14 inches in diameter marked "Tiffany Studios New York." Its rim is chased and decorated with tiny abalone chips. - W.G., Absecon
Answer: Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) was a prolific artist, designer and proponent of the Art Nouveau style who established a New York glass factory and a foundry during the 1890s. The son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of Tiffany & Co., he trademarked his famous Favrile glass in 1894, exhibited his bronzes abroad in 1899 and by 1900 was marking his art ware "Tiffany Studios New York."
Handcrafted bronze Tiffany Studios items such as yours were either etched or chased, then finished with a silver, gold, green or brown patina. The "speckled" patina you mention, known as gold dore, was achieved by first electroplating the bronze charger with 24k gold, then treating the finish with acid. Abalone or colored glass inserts frequently were used to decorate such pieces.
Elegant simplicity and modulated texture are typical attributes of Tiffany Studios picture frames, desk sets, bookends, candlesticks and smoking accessories as well as lamps, wall sconces and items such as yours made during the first quarter of the 20th century. Although out of favor by the mid-1930s and frequently donated as scrap metal during WW II, Tiffany Studios bronzes now are collected and many gold dore chargers are selling for $170 to $600, based on size, design, decoration, rarity and condition.
Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Life section, The Press of Atlantic City, 11 Devins Lane, Pleasantville, N.J. 08232. Email: email@example.com
Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.