These little dishes seem to have made recent leaps and bounds in collectability, and it’s easy to see why with simple forms and colours making a good display proposition.
Predominantly these appear to be ashtrays utilising the creased leaf to rest the cigarette on. As unfashionable as smoking is these days I would call them trinket dishes! They could have numerous uses from table or even wedding table decorations, earring holders, pin dish or just as a beautiful light catching display.
In our research we are inconclusive on who made which colours and shapes, only that a number of companies are likely to have produced versions as a cheap and cheerful home accessory back in the days of nicotine stained ceilings and smoking being a more social affair. Clear lead crystal pears and apples have been seen etched to the base with an Art Vannes logo and a beautiful clear apple we have is acid etched ‘Radiola’ to the rear. Miller’s 20th Glass Century Glass refers to, oxymoronically, a peach coloured apple dish as having been produced in Murano or Venice.
We’ve seen apples oft attributed to Archimede Seguso but haven’t seen any conclusive evidence of these having being produced by the firm. It does appear as though the Art Vannes versions are a heavier full lead crystal variety although some examples lack definition. The majority of coloured versions we’ve seen are a much cheaper pressed glass, although in great colours, but by far the best quality pieces we’ve handled are the mysteriously marked ‘RADIOLA’ apple and the Art Vannes examples. Suggestions have been made to us that the Radiola version was also produced by Art Vannes as a promotional gift.
Our conclusion is that Art Vannes produced the original apple and pear and these were imitated by Nason & Co, as despite the obvious uniqueness of their own version the shape has the appearance of the pressed glass characteristics. Art Vanne Crystal was produced at the factory at Vannes-le-Chatel, France, and was given the name Art Vannes until 1976, when there was a merger of Vannes-le-Châtel, Bayel in Champagne, Vallerystahl in Moselle and Portieux in the Vosges.
Apples we’ve seen in clear, green, lilac, turquoise, dark amber/olive, yellow and peach thus far, as well as the fantastic Nason & Co Avventurina example. Nason & Co also made a pear shape too. West German boxed and labelled examples can be found of the pear in clear glass, not crystal, and H is for Home have a great example of a pear in a mid blue of which we’ve only seen the one!
In this age of infographics we thought a little table was in order, please click to enlarge.
(These are only examples we’ve seen, we’re sure the gaps were filled and would love to see your pictures if you have them!)
Retail values are around £10-15 each, although strangely since we started researching this article prices have gone up to £20-25 for some examples and we’ve also sold a few! The Avventurina range are usually priced higher still and the entire Avventurina range is very collectable in its own right – That’s a story for another day though!
This lovely mid blue pear recently sold by H is for Home
This gorgeous amber Apple recently sold by yay retro!
This turquoise apple available at Retro Mojo
This dark amber version available at Retro Mojo
This Crystal Apple available at Retro Mojo
There’s also a beautiful Art Vannes crystal apple available at Paisley Crystal & Glass
Many thanks to Sue @ yay retro! and Adele and Justin @ H is for Home for the use of their images. We recommend both of these fantastic websites a visit! Please excuse some of the lesser quality images, these are sourced from old eBay auctions etc. and I thought better to include for reference rather than not at all.
Thanks for reading 🙂
Many Thanks to Mark for this aubergine coloured pear!
A reader has sent these photos of a new example in. It’s a gorgeous blue glass throughout with some touches of white – a well made piece judging from the weight and the ground, not moulded, base.