Following on from the last post, my formal relationship with The Old Fruit Jar began with the discovery and sale recorded there. A quarter of a century and 1000 fruit jars later I was standing in the basement of Maine's most prominent antiquarian fruit jar vender's store viewing a DEXTER JAR with the fruit ring around it. "Oh so long ago" thoughts turned into a spur of the moment purchase of that… very fine and prefect… Dexter and two equally fine and perfect FRANKLIN DEXTER FRUIT JARS. These are the jars in the photographs. This fruit jar dealer was not always a fruit jar dealer and way, way, way back I had "bought" (purchased with my own money earned from the paper route and lawn mowing… a single bottle; a very tiny "Major's Cement" bottle, from this same dealer when he was but a… small table of "old bottles" he'd found out by the street in front of his home.
We reminisced this transaction and juxtaposed that with the tidal wave wash away of subsequent transactions that brought each of us to stand as we were then standing. I said "I will make a commemorative shrine" of the three jars in honor of the antiques trail they started me on. Then we discussed the jars, the fruit jar as itself (the object), the fruit jar collector, the state of the collecting interest and collecting market and… did not get misty eye but found real value.
The real value IS that, when overviewed, the old glass fruit jar has several tiers of "respectable". The old fruit jar is available and accessible. This is because the collector boom has long ago stabilized into a at-the-very-top rarity based… moderately small… group of advanced collectors. This small world fights it out over advanced collector rarities. THAT causes old, fine, attractive and charming truly antique fruit jars to sort of "sit there" in the market. The jar type I am noting is NOT the bottom-feeder ATLAS-BALL-LIGHTING-MASON classic yard sale and flea market jar. It's the ladder rungs of collectable above these focusing on the …middle rungs. Perfect, pretty, precious, popular, pleasing, proper and …postulating (putting themselves forward)… these particular old fruit jars be. They also …be available and do not cost very much. For the latter, for example, a DEXTER may be found "pretty and perfect" for $80-$150. The FRANKLINS: $30.-$85. with a $110. for "SUPER CRUDE" one (meaning clear aqua wobbly bubble filled old glass). The LOWER priced jars of this type have the odd market ratio of being found at the best price from the best fruit jar dealers. A chance find of an old odd jar by a general dealer will usually be priced "too much" compared to the price of the same jar in the hands of a …top fruit jar dealer… who is very, very, very, VERY familiar with what I have written. Buying fruit jars that are, to the decorative eye, the seven P's above is a sure bet if bought from a fruit jar pro.
That established, I change the subject to those P's. Simply place one's purchased jar out on display and… DONE. It will be admired. Saying that you don't know anything about it but just liked name (such as "THE QUEEN" or "THE EAGLE", for example) will defer the need to explain ANYTHING about "old glass" …and that IS the obvious positive art quality an old fruit jar purveys. Let the jar do that. Let them handle the jar. Let them unscrew the lid. Let them screw it back on. If it is an odd closure, let the viewer fuss with it to their hearts content. YOU already will have done that and know the necessity satisfaction that comes from this.. round lid on round top… skill builder. All this play will make the guest viewer all the more covetous… after the jar is set back down in it's display space. They won't forget it.
The next time YOU are THERE, THEY will… have one? This is the tiered respect blossoming. The nasty neat message is proclaimed… in clean, clean, clean antique glass. The fussbudget eye catcher is handled by the "closure" (the lid). The "obvious antique" is there and often affirmed by a clear date ("1865"). There is no mess. No large amount of space required. A clear "don't break this" message is included with no actual notice needed. And… above all… the "nice"; old fruit jars are "nice". Not pushy, not arty, not pretentious, not poison, not weird. Nice.
For the curious beyond "nice", there is the Bible of the subject: Douglas M. Leybourne, Jr. "THE COLLECTOR'S GUIDE TO OLD FRUIT JARS RED BOOK" with the latest edition having the highest number after "RED BOOK". One does not need this book nor need the most current edition to "do fruit jars" (just use your art eye). I had #1 when it came out. I use and picture #8. Trust me; the subject is covered. I show two pages listing the Dexter. One should be able to get the idea. Every fruit jar there is… is in the book. And fruit jars quickly become mind boggling in tiny print. But "NEAT!" the book is and will stand alone on one's coffee table suggesting to anyone that …you do "know" fruit jars IN ADDITION to being a book that… all will thumb through… especially if one… displays nearby… a respectable old fruit jar.