Contemporary Thrifting with Amy

Drinking Glasses

Drinking GlassesThe question is “why.” The answer is “thrifting.” On a top shelf at Belfair’s HUB thrift store were six striped Libbey drinking glasses. The very last thing I needed but, what the heck. Lots of singles, but it’s getting hard to find vintage sets these days.

An adventure ensued with these seemingly common Libbey glasses. Was I wrong. Upon research, I discovered zillions of vintage striped drinking vessels, so I calmed myself down and limited research to primarily the ’70s. Still, stripe variations were endless. Libbey design workers back then must have had a ball.

Some 10 years ago, after two months of research and gathering tons of drinking glasses, I wrote an article on the subject. Interviewing, purchasing and shooting photos took me to a strange world. Then, what to do with hundreds of spectacular vintage drinking glasses? They became a gift-with-purchase in the Amy Burnett Gallery (I did say “strange”).

One day, a little guy — maybe 7 — and his mom were visiting. “This is for you,” I said, handing him a clear, tall, olive-green patterned glass. “Your grandmother might have had one like this.” Surprised and mystified, he took the glass, and now as an adult, probably still has it. I wish I would have given all those glasses away to kids.

This time, I decided to do a now-and-then approach — how thrifting for glasses has changed in the last 20 years. We could find more full sets in the past, even with a carrier. The Starburst midcentury pieces are seldom seen anymore, except for online thrifting with enormous quantity and variety availability. With online thrifting, be prepared for higher prices plus shipping. Thrift stores will sell for half this much or less, and Goodwill always has masses for 99 cents.

I discussed this with workers in local shops. Puzzled at the drinking glass questions, most just shrugged, saying there is a steady supply coming in and going out. Several mentioned the downsizing, smaller kitchen trend and the Chinese influx of products keeping drinking glasses plentiful in the thrifting world.

I’m happy to have these striped Libbey drinking glasses from the ’70s, but did notice a minor issue to consider while thrifting. Though it was hardly noticeable, I discovered a slight glass cloudiness, which is caused by dishwasher use. One of the six was not cloudy, and the stripes color variation was different.

With this exciting, provocative drinking glass story, I will stop — only captured your imagination until next issue with even more thrifting adventures.