The National Glass Fair in Birmingham

This Sunday was spent at the last glass fair of this year – the National Glass Fair at the Motorcycle Museum just outside Birmingham. This fair is perhaps the most prestigious and best known of the superb fairs run by Paul Bishop & Christina Glover of Specialist Glass Fairs. But there are plenty more planned for next year, so click here to find out more.
I knew this fair was going to be busy from the moment I arrived, as the car park was packed to the gunnels. The same term can be used to describe the four large halls packed with glass from the 18th-21st centuries – they were full all day. For photographic evidence, just look at the image above! And people were buying. Glass is rising dramatically in desirability, and has become a real boom area over the past few years. Not only that, but with interest rates offering such tiny returns on cash in the bank, many had clearly decided to invest their cash in something beautiful to behold that may also rise in value.
As ever, I had a marvellous day. Fairs like this soon become a way to catch up with good friends as well as acting as brilliant buying opportunities. I was delighted to see my dear friends Mike and Debby Moir, whose selection of Rene Lalique, Daum, and Gallé was, as ever, beyond excellent. You can see a picture of us below – judging by Mike’s expression my joke must have been funny! Pete Elliott & Danny Walker’s display was typically eye-popping – that is if you got to see everything before they sold it! I also managed to catch up with Isle of Wight Studio Glass specialists Ron & Ann Wheeler of Artius Glass. Another thing that made me very happy was to hear that demand for postwar Czech glass is stronger than ever at all levels. It’s taken a while, but a few years after the Hi Sklo Lo Sklo exhibition and accompanying catalogue, it seems to be the hottest area in 20thC glass right now.
Ivo, David & CharlesThese fairs also usually see the launch of a new book, and this one wasn’t an exception. Sunday saw the launch of eminent glass expert Ivo Haanstra’s incredible book ‘Blue Henry – The Almost Forgotten Story of the Blue Glass Sputum Flask‘. Yes, a bizarre and niche topic, but a highly absorbing and potentially financially rewarding one. Keep your eyes peeled for these blue glass bottles as, despite being only a few inches high, the best examples regularly fetch three figure sums on eBay! However, most start at around £20 – less if the seller doesn’t know what they have – making them an ideal ‘budget’ collectable. The second photo below shows publisher David Encill, hyacinth vase collector Patricia, expert author and curator Charles Hajdamach, and author Ivo Haanstra himself. If you want to know how to spot one of these flasks, and read Ivo’s fascinating tale, click here to find out more. I was particularly delighted to meet Ivo as I have long admired his meticulous research and unfathomably deep knowledge. All in all, a classic event that further cements Paul & Christina’s fairs as the best in the business!

Leave a Reply