Remember marbles? Those small, smooth round things kids used to play with for fun before the internet and Xbox LIVE? Of course you do, marbles were a staple of fun and comradery back in the day. Even though the days of drawing a chalk circle on the sidewalk and blasting marbles out of it are gone, popularity for some marbles have increased, as have their prices.
Marble collectors of today are not afraid to lay down some serious cash for specialty marbles or ones made with certain materials. But what makes a marble worth throwing down a couple thousand dollars? A combination of condition, rarity, demand and vintage are all aspects that make some marbles more desirable than others. Here are some of the more absurdly priced marbles one can find.
Sulphide Marbles – Sulphide marbles are the ones that bring in the biggest coin and are also extremely rare. The best thing for a collector and value is ceasing production, and nobody has been producing sulphide marbles for almost a century. These marbles contain tiny porcelain figures, usually white, that depict animals, mythological characters, famous buildings etc… The most expensive one to date is a 1900 marble containing a bust of President Theodore Roosevelt which sold at auction for $4,500.
German Swirls – These glass marbles have a swirled pattern suspended in the middle of the marble and were handmade in Germany from around 1850 to about 1930. In this case, the bigger the marble, the bigger the price. A 5/8-inch marble will get you anywhere from $10 to $20 with a larger, finely detailed one getting you several thousand dollars.
Agate Marbles – While many collectors go after glass marbles, agate marbles, which are made from a type of quartz, are also worth a lot to the right buyer. The weight and hardness of these marbles made them popular amongst hardcore players and they were primarily made in the United States and Germany. Good quality, larger marbles can run in excess of $200 a piece.
Lutz Marbles – These marbles, characterized by their beautiful golden metallic crystal swirls, were made famous by French designer and glassblower Nicholas Lutz, who worked out of a glass company in Sandwich, Massachusetts. Lutz pioneered the use of “goldstone”, which is copper aventurine, a form of glass bearing tiny copper crystals. Basic Lutz marbles nowadays can run around $100.
China Marbles – Referring to the ceramic china and not the country, European craftsmen began creating these little marbles from porcelain around the 19th century. Each one was handpainted and came with a high-temperature glaze, making them both attractive and durable. Some of these came with intricate designs that included geometric shapes, bullseyes and extremely desired scenic portraits. Good examples of a scenic china marble could land you a pretty $10,000 if you can find one, which more than likely you can’t.
Source: Yahoo! – The world’s priciest marbles