Thursday, May 27, 2010

Swirled Euros Continued...and the Bahama Batch

The post on the French LV swirled float precepitated a number of emails from other collectors, together with swirled floatos. The Swirled European float is an oddity, occurring much less frequently than Swirled Asian floats. If you follow the auctions faithfully, you will often see photos of Swirled Asian floats for sale. At this point, the number of Swirled Euros that I know of is less than 10.

Bob Buffington sent me two floatos of Swirled Euros he has beachcombed in the Caribbean, the beautiful yellow with heavy brown swirls, and the aquamarine ball with amber swirls. Ken Busse is currently Ebay auctioning a beautiful float that is bright blue with amber swirling. Bill Jessop sent a wonderful cd of a number of his floats, which included a green ball with amber swirls. Lighting struck me twice.

The first time lightening hit me, was early this year. I found and won an auction for a grayish colored LV from France. The float's glass is heavily swirled with blue.

In March, an auction appeared for seven floats. The seller described the floats as being 5" diameter Japanese floats that were beachcombed in Alaska. When I looked at the auction photo, I believed that I was looking at European-not Japanese-floats. Opened the auction to find a series of photos showing a beautiful colorful selection of Euros. One was clearly marked with the Gijon Fabril or GF in the Boat embossing. That embossing was known in the past as a "Scrolled 65".

The top photo shows the floats from the auction. As the reader can see, there are a variety of colors as well. As I pondered the auction, the realization that if all 7 were Euros, and all were authentic, then the auction was something special. How often does one have an opportunity to purchase 7 beachcombed Euro floats at one time? It was saved to my ebay file, and a question was sent to the owner requesting to know if anyother floats were embossed. The reply stated that, "There are two with the same mark." I knew that two were definitely Euros.

On the day of the auction's end, my initial interest and curiosity became a sincere desire to win the auction. As I worked in the greenhouse planting seeds, my mind was preoccupied with thoughts of "how badly do you want to win this auction?", and "what are you prepared to spend in order to try your best to win"? Realized that there was no doubt in my mind, that the desire to win the auction dominated me, and that I would have to step aside from my prudent self, by bidding some serious dollars in an attempt to win.

Normally, I only wear my watch when I dress up, but that day, the watch was on as I worked. I sat down in front of the computer during the auction's waning minutes. With gusto, I bid a bundle, then watched the last few minutes elapse. The bid was just a couple of bucks greater than $20.00 as the countdown reached 5 seconds. The auction ended, and I went to see if I had won, and what the final cost was. *@%!! Another bidder drove the price "way up there," in the last second. Oh well! Did I just spend a bundle for nothing but a couple of common Gijon Fabrils, or were the pair of sunturned floats, and the brown amber float the real deal? There was a nice bright green float, and a dark green that I thought was one of the GF's.

At the time of that auction, we seasoned collectors were in the throes of an ebbtide of good floats that continues... There have been a number of nice Euro auctions, but most of the collectors already have what is being offered. Emails to and from other collectors, reveal that we are all looking hard for great float auctions or trades to get the blood boiling.

A few of my email buddies received the news of my having bid on and won this strange auction. One pal-Todd, the "Norsknailpounder," replied with the wish that the box would prove to be a "treasure chest," and not a big costly disappointment.

After the auction's end, the seller was emailed again to attempt to learn more about the floats, and their description. I wrote that it was unlikely that these floats were Japanese, and the fact that two of them had Spanish embossings on them was puzzling. American-made, Russian and Heye Glass floats have been beachcombed in Alaska, but Spanish-made/normally Portugese-used floats being beachcombed in Alaska, was something I had never heard of.

The seller replied:

"As for the history of the floats... They predate my birth (1965) so I really don't know too much about them. My Dad was in the Navy, and I remember him and my Mom talking about finding some fishing floats from Japan washed up on the rocky shore of Adak, Alaska. But they were also stationed on Oahu, Hawaii and on Eleuthera, Bahamas. I don't know if they also found floats in these locations, but they loved to comb the beaches where they were stationed at."

Ahh... an Eleuthera, Bahama beach seemed like the real finding spot of that batch of floats. Euros found in the Carribean is a fact that cannot be discounted. The answer to my email query was a nice little jolt of confidence. Hurry up package!

The box arrived in days rather than weeks. Upon returning from plant deliveries, a nice big double-boxed batch of floats was found waiting on the porch. I had plenty of work to do, so the time spent waiting for the contents of the box to acclimate to the temperatures inside our home, passed quickly. After a couple of hours, I broke away from work to open the package.

The little Kodak digital camera was taken off the charger-ready to document the unveiling. At that time of the afternoon, the light coming through the south window in my float room was just fine for floatography. So, I sat down to open the box. The floats could not have been packed any safer. Not only were they double-boxed, each float was abundantly encircled with bubble wrap to prevent contact with another float.

Through the bubble wrap, it was possible to see enough color to know which float I wanted to open first. Let's start with the obvious aqua with the GF in the Boat. The first surprise: the float had the GF embossing, but also had the number 6-which is uncommon.

The second float was the dark green float. Not another GF in the Boat. It has the "thought-to-be French-made," #1 embossing. Hmmm...the seller never mentioned that mark. The surprises continued. The light green float-another supposed French float with the #10 embossed. Wow! This batch of floats is amazing. The best was still to come.

There was a second GF in the Boat-a nice very light aqua ball. Next, I decided to open one of the sunturned violet floats-the lightest one first. Before I tell you what it was, a bit of a story in the story.

I was under the impression that magnesium oxide was used to counteract iron oxides from turning glass aqua to green, resulting in colorless glass. The magnesium oxide later turned the glass from colorless to various shades of violet under the influence of the sun's ultraviolet waves. Richard Carlson set me straight, when he mentioned the use of selenium to counteract iron oxides in glass mixtures. Selenium was a new one to me, and his information stuck in my brain. Later, I read that the use of magnesium was expensive, and that most of the late 19th. to 20th. century glass mixtures incorporated selenium rather than magnesium to the batch when colorless glass was desired. Selenium also turns pink to violet under the influence of ultraviolet light waves. Thank you for that clarification Rich.

The lightest violet float, was found to be marked-LV. The second sunturned was darker, and though unmarked, was a genuine European fishing float with ample evidence of usage. I saved the brown/amber float for last.

After unwrapping the float from the bubblewrap, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The float was not brown/amber at all. It was golden yellow glass. The brown coloration in the auction photo, was actually orange/brown swirling. The swirling reminds me of Tiger stripes.

Todd, your wish (and mine) came true. The box did turn out to be a treasure chest.

That's the story of lightening striking me twice. Hopefully, you enjoy seeing the pics of various swirled Euros, and if you have one too, kindly send me a photo to document the float, and to share it with others.


Top...Bahama Batch;
2nd...French LV;
3rd...Bob Buffington's yellow/amber with brown swirls-Carribean;
4th...Bill Jessop's swirled aqua-Canada;
5th...Ken Busse's amber swirled blue float-Europe;
6th...Bob Buffinton's swirled aquamarine-Carribean;
7th...Red Torvald Stranne with black swirls-Sweden;
8th...Side view of Bahama yellow with brown swirls and
9th...Top of Bahama yellow swirled float.