Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Touched By History

Today, is one of those days when I am having a very hard time pulling myself away from the computer, and thoughts of glass floats.

A valuable piece of historical float information has been placed into one of the latest float puzzles that I've been working on. A number of emails have been written, and then it happened...

Sitting across from a display case putting my socks on, I got up and walked over to the case to open the door and look in at the floats. My eyes gravitated to the beautiful American Pat Pending Teardrop, then to a green float in the front right corner.

Having forgotten which float rested there, I picked it up to see its mark. Ahh, the recently-traded-for Laurvig. After admiring its unique shade of green, and the embossing, placed it back in its spot, and looking up, I saw the tag: #46, staring at me. Charles Abernethy's S-marked beauty.

I picked that float up, and turning it to the light coming through the north window, began to gaze at it. Feeling a strong emotion, I realized that Charles had once held the float in his hands just as I was, and found myself saying, "Did you hold this float in your hands the way I'm holding it, Charles?"

Wishing that I heard him say, "Yes," I had to be content with the realization itself. The float had been held and admired by a succession of collectors, by the glassblower and the apprentice, perhaps the net maker, definitely the capnet maker, the fishermen, the person who found and sold it, then Charles.

I cannot help myself, and have to put the experience in today's post to share with you.

Have you had a similar experience? Have you ever looked down, and there at your feet was an Indian arrowhead-then realized that the last person to touch the stone may have been the long-ago Indian who made it, hunted with it, and lived through it's use?

How often do you hold a float in your hands and are filled with wonder-the wonder of the float's experience-it's life? Now, that float rests in your hands, and the history continues...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What A Run!

It started with Roger and Torvald Strannes in early July, and is still going on as I write. Together, we accomplished one of the best experiences in float collecting-we made a trade that ended with both of us having new floats to marvel at, and a shared happiness. That trade was the start of a tremendous shot to the system via a 2-month-and-counting stretch of many prime floats.

As all of the collectors know, Ebay and other auction sites have over the last month, replaced late spring and early summer's dull lull of good float auctions, with an incredible burst of rare and beautiful glass floats. A mini-myriad of hard-to-find, some rare, and a couple of ultra-rare glass floats from European and Norwegian makers have suddenly appeared. We all saw two floats that were absolutely amazing: the third find of this year's discovery-an amethyst-colored Ship's Wheel and the first Cameleyre Freres Arcachon that I have seen anywhere. That particular float has inspired me to add one to the collection since I first saw the drawing of the mark in Stu & Alan's book. I've searched and searched, and finally one appeared. There is a chance that another will come, and hopefully, come to me. I'm certain that all of you are thinking and hoping for the identical wish to come true! Very nice auctions continue to appear. Charge cards have to be paid off. Wallets are a lot thinner, but you've got to go for it when the opportunities are there, and the excitement level is high. Back to July.

As the trades were crossing the Atlantic to reach their new homes in Norway and the United States, good friends from Germany finished a Norwegian vacation. During the hunt for museum quality bottles, my collector friend looks for floats too. As soon as the family returned home, he sent me an email, and promised another email with floatos. Oh Boy!

Two days later, I began opening email attachments showing an array of wonderful floats. A trio of floats left Germany on August 17th. They just arrived. The 21st. of September to be exact.

A pal responded positively to my offer to buy his gorgeous Cobalt Albrechtson's. He also offered other incredible floats that were for sale. Could not help myself, and purchased them too. They have crossed the Atlantic, and are currently in Customs awaiting clearance. Can't wait! The green glass Bjorkshults. was shown in the last post.

While all of this was going on, my first VB was purchased from France. Woody auctioned off two spectacular Asian floats, one of them, a bright skyblue colored Pumpkin. An ultra-rare beauty that sold for $2000.00 plus bucks. Two more VB's-a green and a nice light yellow/amber, a couple of Fortex's, an amber/green Grooved 5-incher, Starfish floats, the incredible Ship's Wheel (which sold for a bit more than $1,000.00) and others appeared on the auctions.

PerEinar offered an incredible array of rare Norwegian floats, including a large Teardrop or Sea Dog buoy float. The rare 2-float Kavelhund (both floats in the wooden enclosure are marked, one rich aqua F1 and one light green P.C.F) came to the collection, and two wonderful Eggs, one of them a fat-looking Knobbed Egg without the net. Great! I get to see the glass. The second is a green egg in an exceptional capnet with a snood tied into the end. That pair are in transit, crossing the Atlantic as I write.

After the first three great trades and buys, as Per Einar's incredible and rare Norwegian float auctions were being bid on, and counting down to the closing, another trade was in the works. The trade was culminated by each of us winning separate auctions, and trading those wins.

During the auctions, we had decided that good feelings meant more than winning. We would not bid on the same floats. Instead, we decided to each bid on a different float, and if we both won, to give eachother the float we had won. I'm sure that a day will come when we both desire to bid on the same float, but for now, we are giving eachother gifts.

Not only did we do the auction trade, we also traded some floats from our personal collections. I sent him a beautiful and large dark green or blackglass Czech. He sent me my first Laurvig, not to be confused with the dotted L's.

During the last month, have you been wondering, "when is the Seahermit going to write a new post?" I have been writing-everyday. I've been writing emails.

Every morning, during the day and evening, emails have been received. 2-4 hours per waking day, have been spent reading and writing emails. In the past, once in a while and normally on a weekend, a couple of hours were spent reading and answering emails. Lately, that has been a daily occurance. What great fun!

I have been immersed in floats, and have finally surfaced to breath. Taking another deep breath, I'm headed back into the depths of float wonder.

I sincerely wish all of you collectors success. Trade whenever you can. However one acquires a treasured glass float is a bit of heaven. And if the mood strikes you, kindly email me with attached floatos, and stories to share.

Click on the photos in order to see the beauty of the floats and their marks.

The little Grooved Egg has one full dot of glass on the side of the float's body, and a partial dot on the opposite side. Those dots were molten glass filling the vent holes of the mold. Often, dots are mistaken as being maker's marks. There are floats purposely seal-marked with one or more dots, not counting the dotted F's, etc. and those dots are more meaningful.

I've begun to wonder if the GW floats were French-made? Have always thought that they were made in Germany. Could GW stand for German Works? The engraver was a true artist. After looking closely at the float's glass and GW seal mark, and feeling the heft of the glass, I'm beginning to wonder. There is more to the "French Connection" than meets the eye. I'm certain of it, and would bet a bundle that as time goes by, we're all going to learn more.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I'm not accustomed to this lack of blog writing. It was so much fun writing almost everyday during Per and Amund's expedition. As you may have guessed, the guys made it home safe and sound. Amund's been out of touch, and it's possible that he might be stuck in bed trying to recover from living in the wake of Per's exuberance. Per and I continue to send emails to eachother almost daily, and there has been a continued exchange of float history and floats between us.

This post is more of a catching up for me, and hopefully, an interesting read for you. The last two weeks have been quite full. There has not been enough time in the last days to accomplish all that I would have liked-namely writing a post, researching and looking for floats on Ebay. Many emails have been received from collectors and others, and many float deals have been in the works. A wonderful trade was finalized, boxes are on their way across the Atlantic, and new friendships have started. Established friendships continue to bring emails, good thoughts and smiles.

A very exciting relationship was started thanks to Vebjorn. Most of you are familiar with Vebjorn's website, Best Norwegian. Vebjorn and I have been close email friends for a number of years, and he did me a huge favor by introducing me to another collector.

I woke up one morning to an email from a collector that I was unfamiliar with. The email began with an excellent introduction, followed by the kind of personal history that only another ardent collector could fully appreciate reading. This collector's experience and knowledge of Norwegian floats is unmatched. It has been completely exhilarating sharing photos of our floats, exchanging a few historical ideas, and forming a camraderie that will last for many years.

I continue to cut 6 acres of grass every week-thanks to a nice rain-filled summer that has kept everything lush. The business doesn't stop either-keeping up with the watering between rainy days, planting, etc. Always enjoy finding time to be with Nancy too. It is odd going to sleep knowing that there were a number of Ebay sites that I haven't searched for days. Trying to finish a good book while lying in bed before sleep has been all but fruitless too. A paragraph, then a line, then single words or phrases have to be reread a time or two, before I give it up and turn out the light.

Above is one of the most exciting floats that I've seen in a long time. As most of you Euro collectors know, the normal colors of Heye Glassverks floats are a few shades of green and sometimes shades of amber. Per has found an aqua Heye float. Not only is it aqua, but it also has water in it. This is the first aqua, clover marked Heye float that I know of. Here is Per's rendition of the story of his finding this wonderful and uncommonly-colored German float:

Hi Tom!

It is good to be back home again. It was fun traveling with Amund, and less stressful.

My conclusions from this expedition:

There were plenty of floats at the areas we visited. Only a handful of floats that had interesting marks, no rare shaped floats at all, and only round glass floats for sale. All the beautiful and rare shaped floats were not for sale, *%#?!!

This expedition had good luck too with histories concerning the use of glass floats, float color, etc. There are taped Mp4 record files of interviews too.

We have spent approx 5 days looking for floats and history. 10 days were filled with writing emails, photoshooting floats and areas, phonecalls, local advertising for floats, Eagle photography, fishing, driving my SUV and vehicle ferries to fishing districts far from the mainland, with hardly any population at all. Some of the places even advertise for people by offering free land if you settle down and make those places your new home.

Anyone interested? Your own Island home-away from everything. Purchase your own fishing boat, build a house with a boathouse. Go for it! You can connect onto the internet by cellular or satelite phone, and run your own business. LoL

A fisherman and I had a great conversation last week. He told me histories about using new fishing nets and other gear for deep water fishing. Very often, they pulled up old fishing nets with glassfloats instead of fish. Often, those glass floats were filled with seawater from the pressure of the deep. The floats were still intact and without any damage.

I have a few in my exhibition at home. My favorite is a 1/4 filled with sea water, 8 inch Herman Heye float, ice blue color and a beauty. It is my first find at the Austevoll area, just a few miles east from my hometown Bergen, and only one vehicle-ferry crossing. ;-)

Enjoy the terrific auctions that Per currently has on Ebay. If you look into each auction you will find additional photos from the expedition. Photos which were unavailable to post to the blog during the expedition. I've got myself psyched for at least one of Per's floats. Hope I win it! Hope you win one too. Enjoy seeing rare and beautiful floats, some with beautiful nets, a great wooden barrel, and wonderful photography from the eyes, mind and hands of Per.