The Collector’s Guide To Jadeite
These green glass pieces will put your kitchen shelves and cupboards in mint condition.
The Beginner’s Guide
In 1933, with the Great Depression at its height, consumers were on the hunt for affordable kitchen and dishwares. Pennsylvania’s McKee Glass Company added green scrap glass to its opaque formula, producing an inexpensive product with a novel color that satisfied that demand. Following suit, Jeannette Glass began producing what they coined “Jadite.” In 1942, Anchor Hocking copied the look with their Fire-King line of “Jade-ite.” Benefitting from a post-World War II economic boom, the line sold more than 25 million pieces over the next decade. Today, these prized picks are still popular with collectors.
The Collector’s Guide To Jadeite – Bowls and Dishes
- Beaded mixing bowls: The thin, rounded edge of this 1950s four-piece group was only produced for a short time, making a complete set a rare find. (For comparison, the set of four bowls in the upper left-hand corner of the next slide goes for about $140). Value:$550 for the set.
- Batter bowl: This spouted number is one of the most frequently reproduced pieces of Jadeite. A telltale sign it’s an authentic 1950s Fire-King batter bowl? The height. Vintage versions like the one shown here measure in at 4 inches, while contemporary imitations are 2 to 4 inches taller. Value:$40.
- Canisters: Dating to the 1930s, these 48-ounce McKee canisters—the largest the company ever made—were designed to store kitchen staples of coffee, tea, and flour. While a single canister commands a respectable $200, a set with matching green tones is a prize indeed. Value:$750.
- Butter dish: In the 1930s, butter was commonly sold in whopping 1-pound blocks. Made the same decade, this McKee lidded dish would have accommodated the spread in style. Value:$125.
- Range set: McKee sold small shakers called range sets, which were designed to be kept in easy reach of the stove for a quick sprinkle of flour, sugar, salt, or pepper. This set’s desirable black Art Deco lettering ups its estimate. Value:$200.
Jugs, Mugs, and Jars
- Ball jug: Sold in limited quantities in the 1940s by Anchor Hocking, these pitchers are now the most coveted single pieces of Jadeite. Even damaged specimens (they’re prone to stress cracks around the neck and handle) go for $150. Value:$400.
- Ginger jar: This 3-inch canister by Jeannette Glass was part of a four-spice set that retailed for $4.25. Value:$145.
- Water dispenser: This 1940s water chiller has a chrome spout that twists down to dispense water. The missing glass cover knocks $10 off its worth.Value:$90.
- “New” platter: Displaying a 1960s Fire-King sticker, this unused piece is called “new old stock” in collector’s parlance. Value:$80.
- D-Handle coffee mug: These 9-ounce Fire-King mugs are valued for their notable grip. Value:$30 each.
Pick a Pattern
These striking designs are six of the most iconic Jadeite styles.
- Sheaves of wheat: Available from 1957 to 1959, this delicate design is a rare find. Value:dinner plate, $100.
- Restaurant ware: From the 1940s through the 1960s, this sturdy, no-fuss style was a staple for churches, hospitals, and its namesake, restaurants. With its sleek lines, it’s now the most collected pattern. Value:salad plate, $18.
- Jane Ray: This ribbed pattern had a long run from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s. Its ample availability keeps current prices down. Value: saucer, $5; dinner plate, $10.
- Alice: Cups and saucers in this floral pattern were given away inside boxes of oatmeal from 1945 to 1949. Dinner plates are more rare. Value: dinner plate, $45; saucer, $6.
- Charm: The mod, square shape on this 1950s plate has many current-day fans, making it one of the hardest styles to track down. Value: dinner plate, $27.
- Shell: The last dishware pattern debuted in 1965 and was produced for 10 years. Value:dinner plate, $8.
How to Spot the Real Deal
On the hunt for an authentic piece? Look for the logos of the three original Jadeite purveyors.
McKee (top left): The company emblazoned their logo on canisters, shakers, refrigerator containers, as well as a single, short-lived tabletop pattern.
Jeannette (top right): Although many Jeannette pieces were left unmarked to be used in grocery store promotions, those with a mark bear this simple emblem.
Anchor Hocking: The company’s very first backstamps in 1942 simply said FIRE KING OVEN GLASS in block letters. But soon, a Fire-King logo began appearing.
DC Estates, LLC: An online estate sale with a large Jadeite inventory; dcestates.com
Jeanne Rondeau: Impressive assortment of mixing bowls; jeannerondeau.etsy.com
Just About Modern: The go-to for Restaurant Ware; justaboutmodern.etsy.com
Kolorize: Best variety of Fire-King patterns; kolorize.etsy.com
One Pom Mom: Specializes in canister and shaker sets; onepommom.etsy.com