Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Bruce Gidoll's Favorites of 2010

Bruce and I have known eachother for over three years. Many thanks to Kamichia's Website, "GLASSFLOAT JUNKIE." On her site, a beautifully shaped light lavender Japanese float is shown. When Bruce saw it, he wanted to know how to contact me. A mutual friend-Stu Farnsworth-gave Bruce my email address. Stu knows that I am always eager to meet anyone who shares our passion for glass fishing floats.

One Sunday afternoon, a surprise email from Bruce started our communication. In the email, Bruce included his telephone number, and asked me to phone him. Starting with that first telephone conversation, we've enjoyed comparing notes on floats we bid on, trade, and enjoy as often as we can. As time has passed, it has been our custom to phone eachother at least once a week. Last spring we finally met in person.

A few days prior to April 27th. Richard Carlson, and his wife Peggy, had taken a trip east to visit family. On the 27th. in a rental car, they traveled from Virginia northward to New Jersey to meet Bruce and his wife Lupe in Atlantic City. Bruce and Lupe were in the resort enjoying the casinos. After picking them up at their hotel, the four drove to our home for a visit. Too short of a visit. Together with my wife Nancy, the six of us had a great time. Of course Richard, Bruce and I were all about the floats in my collection, and quickly left the ladies to go hang out in my float room.

During the first week of last November, Nancy and I flew to Boston, rented a car, and drove to Bruce and Lupe's house for a two-day visit. It didn't take long for Bruce, Lupe, Nancy and I to make our way into the cellar where Bruce had set up a display of his largest floats and other floats that would not fit into his displays. It doesn't take very long for collectors to share the common malady of never having enough display space, does it! The first float that I held was one of Bruce's massive Japanese Scallop floats. The Japanese are farming Scallops, and use incredibly huge (over 50" circumference) floats in that operation.

Following our time in the basement, we went back upstairs to the 2nd. story where Bruce has his float room. One of Bruce's favorites greets you at the door. It's an absolutely beautiful large Blue with cobalt swirls Japanese float. The float was recently obtained from Betty-a wonderful Australian seller who's auctions are often seen on Ebay.

The rare colored floats start with that float, and never quit. As Bruce likes to say, "I'm a collector who doesn't care about marks, I only care about color." Not only does Bruce have undoubtably the finest collection of rare colored floats in the world, but also wonderful shapes and Barnacled floats.

Having been in the collecting game for many years, he is friends with or knows all of the major Japanese floats collectors in the world, and has traded with all of the greats who are no longer with us, as well as those "old timers," who are still finding, buying and trading the world's rarest floats. His collection is just a joy to behold. There are so many floats that I will never forget seeing, and will always be happy to have held in my hands.

For hours during the next two days, much of the time would find me on my back, left hand and arm holding a float aloft, in an effort to backlight it using the ceiling light. While holding a float, I would also be doing my best with my right hand to take a floato of each magnificently colored or shaped beauty.

As I photographed, Bruce told stories non-stop, about where this float came from, where that one came from, trades, stories about collectors and their collections and the rare ones he had in the past that were traded for this float, or that float...

It was two days of bliss sharing our float time. Together, the four of us enjoyed every minute visiting favorite places in the town that Bruce and Lupe live in, sharing delicious meals, conversations and friendship. Hopefully, we'll enjoy another visit with them at our home this spring. I've got a new case, and new float displays that Bruce is dying to see, and I'm wanting to show him.

Richard Carlson and Bruce also share a fine friendship. I was the lucky one who had the opportunity to introduce them to eachother, and have enjoyed the two of them sharing stories of their adventures with me. Richard is a master carpenter, and as you look at the photos, one case stands out. It is shaped like a sail, and is one of at least two that Richard has built. He also spent a long weekend with Bruce installing a lighting system for him. It's an amazing electrical installation which lights up all the of cases' shelves. Each float is backlit beautifully. And Richard and I share a special place in common in Bruce and Lupe's town- The Bobcat Grill, a restaurant and brewery.

The other day, Bruce sent me the following email for the blog. He wondered if I might write about his favorite floats-added to his collection during 2010. He also hopes that others who collect and frequent this blog, might also contribute their favorite floats and photos from the last year? On behalf of Bruce's idea and wish, do email me with your favorite floats added to your collection in 2010, and include photos. I'll be adding a few of mine soon, but would rather feature your's first.

The following are Bruce's favorites:

Hey there Tom,

Thought about doing this Best list for my floats obtained in 2010, and hope you and other collectors will do the same.

In 2010...52 Floats were obtained on ebay and trading. The top 5 in the order in which they were obtained:

1)Feb...16 X 13 inch wide Pear float-Japanese Colorless;

2)May...20 inch long by 13 inch wide Huge green teardrop-pear from England;

3)June...45 inch Cobalt deep Blue swirl from Australia-Japanese;

4)July...Black Euro-Grapefruit size with seam-Redish when held to light and

5)Oct...41 inch Violet with Red Net-Japanese.

2010 was a great year for me. Hope it was for you too, and 2011 is even better.

All the best,

Enjoy the photos of some of Bruce's great floats, and do share some of your's with the other readers. That would be fun.


  1. I just started collecting floats in 2010, so my collection isn't very big. My favorite floats are the ones with lots of character - bubbles, swirls, net marks, imperfections in the glass... I doubt my floats are rare or valuable, but I love how they look and how they feel in my hand. I'm just so amazed that these delicate glass floats survived their voyages across the ocean!

    The first three floats that I bought are my very favourites. And I have a sunturned float that I won on EBay that's pretty special to me. I can send you some pictures of them if you'd like.

  2. Hi Kelly, It would be a pleasure to see your floats, and to enjoy them with you. My email address is:

  3. Hi Tom,

    So many beautiful glass floats and pictures.
    Brilliant work and what a collection, wow!

    And congrats Tom, that Hammer & Sickle float was a great surprise and find!


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