It 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?)
One 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.
Some 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.
Collecting 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…..