The first step to collecting marbles is to try and educate yourself regarding the varieties of marbles available in the market. Resources such as websites and books can be extremely handy in this journey. You can also attend marble shows in your area to know about collecting marbles as a hobby.
Marbles is a great hobby because it allows for individual or group participation. The varied types, styles, sizes, and colors of the marbles lend a unique look to any collection. There is also no limit to how many one can collect, or to how they can be used or displayed. Even though marbles were once thought of as solely a child’s game, their diversity and beauty make them a wonderful collectible for kids and adults alike.
The History Of Marbles
Archeologists have found marbles dating back to as early as Rome and Egypt. Marbles used to be played with in China made out of clay or stone but glass marbles were not introduced until around the 1800’s in Venice Italy. A German glassblower invented a tool called the marble scissors in 1846 that allowed for the public to have ready access to marbles.
Young boys used to collect marbles and play with them during the early 20th century, in the pre-war eras. At that time, marble collecting as a hobby was very popular. Most of the marbles collected by the young boys were later sold in estate auctions and were purchased by antique dealers. A great way for kids to occupy themselves quietly for long periods of time, it is no wonder why marbles became so popular among kids of all ages and social settings.
Fun Facts – Collecting Marbles
- Hand made glass marbles are the most sought after marbles for any collector.
- The patterns and designs of marbles can simply leave you enthralled and you must have complete knowledge about them before you start collecting marbles.
- Clay marbles began to be produced in bulk from about 1870 onwards on both sides of the Atlantic.
- The most common method of shooting a marble along the ground is known as ‘fulking‘.
Getting Started Collecting Marbles
As far as collecting marbles is concerned, you can buy or locate marbles for your collection at local garage sales, flea markets, estate auctions and other similar venues. Once you become knowledgeable about genuine marbles, you can find them easily in auctions and sales with relative ease.
You can also purchase marbles from reputable dealers. With the help of websites, you can find local collectors and dealers in your area from whom you can buy marbles easily. You can avoid costly mistakes by knowing what to look for in a marble, which can avoid frustration later on.
No special equipment or supplies are necessary for pursuing this hobby. You can take up this rewarding hobby at a nominal cost provided you are not too keen on collecting only the valuable pieces. If you are persistent with your efforts, you can own a handsome collection of marbles within a few months.
As far as the price ranges of different marbles are concerned it depends on the type and texture of the marble. The price of marbles can vary significantly based on the type of marble or even where you buy your marbles. Buying a pack of 40-60 marbles at a flea market will probably cost you around $40. Vintage and antique marbles will cost a lot more.
There are different types of marbles such as onion skin, cats’ eye, oxbloods, sulphide, handmade spirals, agates, Christiansen Swirl, art glass marbles, ribbon hand crafted ones, machine made marbles and others. With a base layer of colored glass, Onionskins are usually yellow or white in color. You can also see stripes of other colors on top of the base layer of this marble. Oxblood is a type of marble with a streaky patch that resembles blood. The Christiansen Swirl marbles have good color properties with a nice wet looking surface.
While selecting marbles, you can keep the following points in mind. You can take into account the eye-catching design of the marble. The more symmetrical and brighter the marble, the more valuable it will be. The prices of marbles also vary depending on whether they are machine made, hand made or of contemporary styles.
The condition of the marbles must also be analyzed before collecting. Marbles are classified under near mint, mint, collectibles and good condition categories. Marbles are rated from one to ten depending on the condition. The size is another factor that must be considered before buying a collection of marbles. Size also determines the value.
How To Start Collecting Marbles
To start off with collecting marbles as a hobby you must first of all gather and read up on materials related to marble collecting. You can learn more about the history of marble collecting, marble types, and the best places to collect marbles. You can use the Internet for the best resources relating to this hobby, although your local library undoubtedly has valuable resources as well.
You must think about the types of marbles you would like to collect before heading to buy them at antique shops or online. This can also safeguard you against frauds. Will you be basing your collection on size? Shape? Style? Color? Genre? Perhaps you want to cultivate a collection that features a wide variety of marble styles? No matter what you are going for, the main thing is to know what you want before you jump into the hobby.
Look for opportunities to play and collect at the same time. Tournaments and hobby shops are also great places to find more marbles. If you will be looking to online retailers as a means of expanding your collection, consider eBay and Craigslist, as they typically offer up-to-date listings in specific searchable areas. There are also places that you can go to trade marbles to add to your collection.
Keep in mind that part of the fun of collecting marbles is in playing with them. So try and keep your valuable collections separate from a set of playing marbles. Be sure that you spend time reviewing the rules of the game so that when you play you are ready for whatever comes your way. Look online to find people close to your own skill level to compete against. There are also some really cool online marble games that let you play marbles and even design hi-tech marble tracks online.
Tips and tricks
Take into consideration the following tips and tricks when collecting marbles…
- Take care to avoid marbles with dings or scratches as these blemishes can lower the value of the marble.
- Larger marbles are generally more valuable than the average sized ones. You can also look for the colors and symmetry of marbles before collecting the same.
- You can ensure the durability and good condition of marbles for a long time by keeping them in individual sandwich or plastic bags before storing them.
- Look for one of the hundred of variations of marbles to keep the game interesting.
Ways To Expand Your Marble Collecting Hobby
If you wish to progress with your hobby of collecting marbles, the best way to start is by cruising the web, going to a marble show, joining a marble club or getting maximum information pertaining to marbles from a book about marble collecting. It pays to read everything there is to know about marble collecting including their actual worth. Armed with this knowledge you can make rapid progress and flaunt a truly exquisite marble collection.
Here are a couple other ideas for ways to expand your hobby…
- Seek out rare marbles. They often have unique and interesting stories to go along with them. Choose elegant ways to display not only these marbles but also a placard that briefly describes the marble’s history.
- Look to organize events to bring more attention to the game of marbles of the hobby of collecting them.
- By joining groups and forums online you can meet plenty of like-minded people who are interested in marble collecting. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn about marbles from others.
Related Marble Resources
The following online resources can help you learn more about collecting marbles…
Moon Marble Company – an awesome site that deals with everything marbles – bulk marbles, box sets, handmade items, racetracks, virtually everything for your marble collecting hobby!
Central Connector – features a huge list of possible marble games.
Land Of Marbles – go here to find a great explanatory diagram of how to play traditional marbles
Related YouTube Videos
Check out the following videos to learn even more about starting this hobby.