Collecting Jadeite Fire King

img_0935It all started with a Jane Ray cereal bowl back in 1988. I was at a friend’s garage sale when I spotted the bowl sitting on a table. I recognized the color from watching old Martha Stewart videos where she talked about her extensive collection of Fire King.

So, I bought the bowl, and a new collection was born. Right away, I began buying jadeite whenever and wherever I saw it. Back then, it was inexpensive and plentiful. I quickly found a chat group on AOL and we called ourselves the “Fire King Fanatics”. We first met up in Lancaster, Ohio – the birthplace of Anchor Hocking Fire King. We poured through local antique malls and flea markets and each left with a suitcase full of glass. (Don’t forget to always pack tissue and bubble wrap when you’re traveling, right?)

img_0929One year, we found what is considered one of the Holy Grail pieces of Fire King – the jadeite Kimberly coffee mug. There were four of us – and four mugs – thank goodness! When we saw them sitting on the table, priced at around $2.00 each, we each grabbed one. We knew we had found something special. 

I remember us sitting around one of the members’ homes in late August of 1997, surrounded by our glass purchases when we heard the news that Princess Diana had died. That’s a night I will never forget.

img_0934Some of my other memories of my Fire King purchases:

  • Finding a (very) dirty large jadeite teardrop (Swedish Modern) bowl on a blanket on the ground at the Long Beach Antique Market (longbeachantiquemarket.com)
  • Scoring the elusive jadeite juice-saver pie plate – also at the Long Beach Antique Market
  • A friend calling me to tell me he’d seen four jadeite custard cups and divided platters at an antique mall in Garden Grove. I quickly snatched up my young daughter and bribed her with a trip to the local arcade/miniature golf course if she’d behave while I drove to Garden Grove to find those hard to find pieces at a steal of a price.

Over the years, I’ve sold a lot of my collection (moving five times will do that to a person). I’ve kept a few of my favorites and have even had a tattoo of the jadeite restaurant ware cup and saucer added to my wrist.

d6ef9250-ebd7-41bd-9dad-0b64d922e8dfCollecting never goes out of your life. Even today, I still can spot a jadeite green piece of Fire King from a mile away at a vintage market. Unfortunately, the prices today are crazy high so I can only look and not buy. But once in a while…..

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