How to clean antique glass including Tiffany Studios Favrile glass and French cameo glass

Monday’s post will be up by noon.

Please note that I am permanently changing Thursday’s post day to Friday.

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Fridays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Friday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

Every once in a while, I will re-post one of my most widely viewed blogs of the last nine years. This is one of the top three, originally written on September 14, 2009.

Having sold many thousands of antique glass vases over the years, I’ve learned a lot about how to clean them from trial and error. It also doesn’t hurt to have a Master’s Degree in Chemistry.

Most people are quite timid about using chemicals on glass. They’re afraid they’ll ruin their vases by removing the decoration or somehow damaging them. There are very few times this would actually be true. Cold-painted decoration on a vase could be ruined by the use of some chemicals but Tiffany Favrile vases and French cameo vases by Daum, Gallé, and others have no cold-painting, so all of the steps I describe below are appropriate. If you suspect that your vase has cold-painting on it, test a small area with one of the cleaners below, using a Q-tip. If any color comes off, stop and use only the mildest cleaners.

Eco-House citrous thinner

Eco-House citrous thinner

The first step is to remove any sticky substances, which will dissolve in organic solvents such as mineral spirits or acetone (nail polish remover). There are also some good  commercial products available, such as Goo Gone, available at stores like Home Depot or Office Depot, or online. Another product I like is citrous thinner, made from orange peels. It smells a lot better than the other solvents and is quite effective. Click here if you’d like to order it.

Start by looking for anything sticky with your eyes and your fingers. Put very little solvent on a Q-tip, rag or paper towel. Rub the affected area until the dirt or stickiness is gone. Mineral spirits is a gentler solvent than acetone, so try it first. Mineral spirits is especially good for removing the gum from old labels. Use acetone second, if you need a stronger solvent. These various solvents will also remove crayon, sap, or any similar substance.

Easy-Off Fume Free

Easy-Off Fume Free

Next we’re ready for aqueous cleaning. I suggest you do this in a sink. Most of the cleaners will make your vase slippery, so be very careful not to lose control and break it. The gentlest cleaners are dishwashing liquid or Windex. I like to use them with an old toothbrush. Scrub the vase with the first cleaner and see if the dirt comes off. If it’s stubborn, you can proceed to the next level of cleaning power with commercial products like Scrubbing Bubbles or Dow Bathroom Cleaner. Repeat the process. Spray the vase, let it sit for a few minutes and clean again with a toothbrush or similar brush. If that’s not strong enough, you can go to the highest level of cleaning power — Easy-Off, of which there are two types available. The blue can, labeled “Fume Free” is the one I recommend. (It’s not really fume free, but it’s not too bad.) It’s powerful and should remove any leftover dirt. Finally, rinse your vase thoroughly in plain water and dry completely with an old towel. If it’s safe, let it dry upside down. It’s a good idea to use gloves to protect your hands, an apron to protect your clothing and glasses to protect your eyes. Easy-Off in the yellow can is lye (sodium hydroxide). It’s very powerful. It will eat through the dirt nicely, but also through your clothes and skin, and can severely damage your eyes. Immediately flush with plain water if you have an accident. You’ll know you’ve gotten it on your skin if it feels slimy.

To clean the inside of your vase, you’ll need various brushes to reach hard-to-get-to areas. Just use one of the sprays above, let sit, and brush away. Justman Brush Company sells hundreds of different brushes.

A sick vase whose glass has been etched on the interior

Vases that have been filled with water can present bigger problems, such as scratches on the interior. The second and more serious problem is sick glass, which includes etching of the glass interior or the depositing of lime or other minerals. Etching will appear as frosting, while depositing will appear as white crust. Cleaners will not effectively fix these problems. The only real way to treat problems of this sort is to go to an expert who can “tumble” the vase to resurface the interior. It’s basically the same as sandpapering the entire interior — great for a transparent vase, but not as good for a vase that has a finish on the interior, like an iridescent vase. Use this link for Paul Nulton, who used to do this kind of work, but may or may not still be in business.

Sometimes vases were kept in homes where the owners smoked or had smoky fireplaces or stoves. The vase will probably appear to have dingy color. With a minimum amount of effort, the results can be quite gratifying, revealing unexpected bright and beautiful colors!

Good luck! (Have a good story to tell me? Please send it to

Our next show is not until May 18-20, 2018, when we’ll exhibit at the 2nd edition of the resurrected Chicago Antiques + Art + Design Show at the Chicago Merchandise Mart. It’s a wonderful venue for a show that deserved to be restored from purgatory.

We’re still very much in business between shows, so please don’t hesitate to email or call. I recently listed some of the new items on my website and will list more every week. Click Philip Chasen Antiques to take a look. I will make every effort to actively list new items as often as time permits. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

Tesla is taking pre-orders for solar tile roofs

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

A Tesla solar roof

I know this subject has nothing to do with antiques, but it’s so cool, I decided to write about it. Tesla is taking pre-orders for solar tile roofs. Click here to find out all about it. You have to scroll down. It includes a calculator for the approximate cost and savings. All you have to do is put in your address and answer two simple questions about your home. It’s not cheap, but it’s the future.

Now why don’t they put them on the roofs of their cars? Then the cars would recharge just by sitting in the parking lot on a sunny day.

The revived Chicago Antiques + Art + Design Show at the Chicago Merchandise Mart opens to the public next Friday, May 19th. I was quite sad when the original show folded a few years ago, as it was always one of my favorite shows. The new edition will have a new promoter, Dolphin Promotions, headed by Rosemary Krieger. There hasn’t been an antique show in downtown Chicago for several years, so I’m hoping this one will be met with a lot of enthusiasm. The show runs from May 19-21, 2017, with a preview party the night of the 18th.

I recently listed over 15 new items on my website and I’ll be listing more in the near future. Please check my site as often as you can.

Click here to check my website for the latest items and to look around. I will update it as often as time permits. We’re still very much in business between shows, so please don’t hesitate to email or call. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

Spamming my blog

Recently I’ve had less time to write about the interesting things happening in the antiques world, because I haven’t had a show in a few weeks. When there’s no one in my booth at a show, I keep busy by writing blog posts. My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

Andy Rooney

This post was inspired by Andy Rooney. Think of him while you read it.

I write my blog using WordPress. It’s a handy tool for the job. One of the features of WordPress is the spam filter. It’s quite good, as it filters out about 75 spam posts a day. Occasionally one will get through and post to the site. I then have to go through the process of trashing the comment, which deletes it. The humor in them is surely lost on the senders. Here are a couple of the latest for your enjoyment and amusement.

New comment on your post “Tiffany Studios lamps soar at Christie’s New York 20th Century Decorative Arts auction”
Author : купон гид красноярск (IP: ,
E-mail :
Whois :
Thanks for the good writeup. It in fact used to be a leisure account it. Glance advanced to far brought agreeable from you! By the way, how could we keep in touch?

How could I not keep in touch with such a gifted writer? From the URL, you can see that it possibly originated in Romania, except for the fact that the author’s name is in Cyrillic, so maybe it really came from Russia. I assume the original was put into a computer translator and presto! — out popped the beauty above! Usually you can tell what the original intent was, but not this one. What really baffles me is why send it in the first place?? Oh, I guess they wanted someone to visit their URL for some nefarious reason, but what were the odds of that?

Here’s another gem.

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Submitted on 2011/11/11 at 2:45 PM

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This one appears to have originated in a Spanish-speaking country, even though the email address does not use an Hispanic name. What the heck were they trying to say? I think they borrowed the translator from the guys in Romania.

I could list many, but I’ve chosen only the best. Here’s one last one.
Submitted on 2011/11/20 at 2:31 PM

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Don’t spammers have anything better to do? They surely hope to get something out of it, or why do it in the first place? I don’t think it’s being done by a bunch of high school kids in Russia, who have nothing better to do. Here’s hoping their computers get a virus and melt down.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year!

Fine R. Lalique Monnaie du Pape vase with sepia staining

In the meantime, check the listings on my website, which I will update as often as I can. I regularly add Tiffany vases, lamps and desk accessories, as well as French cameo glass by Galle and Daum Nancy and Louis Icart etchings. Here’s the link.

Shopping for antiques at the Paris flea markets

The Rue des Rosiers, looking east toward Marché Dauphine and Marché Malassis, in the heart of the St. Ouen antiques flea market district

It’s hard to beat the quantity of antiques and antiques dealers in the Paris flea markets. There’s hardly anything French that you can’t buy, from junk for one euro to paintings for thousands of euros. Decorating your home? Whatever you can think of, you can find.

Sunday at the general merchandise flea market

The flea markets, known as the Marché aux Puces (a puce is a flea), are located slightly to the north of Paris in an area called St. Ouen. You can get there by Metro if you take the 4 train to the last station, Port de Clignancourt. From there you walk north a few blocks, first passing the many street peddlers who look like they’re selling what fell off the last truck. Keep going and pass the regular flea market, where you can buy jeans, sneakers, tee shirts, all manner of tourist items and basically anything you find in flea markets everywhere. Continue another block and pass under the periphérique (the elevated road that encircles all of Paris). One more block to Rue des Rosiers and turn left. Rue des Rosiers is the main street of the antiques flea markets. There are many merchants with shops right on the street and hundreds and hundreds more in the various markets on the left and right and in the neighborhood. Some of the markets are more high-brow than others and some are distinctly low-brow. Give yourself lots of time to meander in and out of the many shops. The antiques flea markets are open Saturday and Sunday, approximately 10 AM – 6 PM, with a few dealers open on Monday. Some of the antiques markets are open very early on Friday morning. The regular general merchandise flea market is open Sunday only.

One of the aisles in the Marché Paul Bert

The problem for Americans is the exchange rate. On our recent visit, the euro was hovering around $1.47, making it exceedingly difficult to buy. The prices on most items in euros were what I wanted to pay in dollars. We’re trying to buy at fair prices, so we can turn around and resell the items in the US. After pounding the pavement for several days at the flea markets and elsewhere, we did manage to buy a few items, but it wasn’t easy. We’ve developed excellent relationships with many of the merchants after shopping there for years, so that made our buying possible. On the other hand, collectors and decorators, not buying for resale, should have an easier time.

Inside the Marché Dauphine, one of the more modern markets

On a working trip to Paris, the fun is in the evenings. We go to our favorite restaurants and usually have great food and wine. Sunday night was our last evening and I got it into my head that I wanted to have the best mussels and fries (moules et frites) in Paris. So we did a little research on the Internet and came up with La Cagouille. It was late, so before taking a 45-minute, 3-train ride to the restaurant, we asked the clerk at the front desk to call the restaurant to make sure they were open (until 10:30 PM). We made a reservation and off we went. By the time we got there, we had to rush because it was already 10:30 PM. We were worried we might not be seated, but luckily they had our reservation and seated us right away. The evening weather was perfect and we sat outdoors. Lovely! One of the girls brought out the board with the hand-written menu. Great, but where were the mussels? Guess what? No mussels. We called the restaurant, we rushed, we took three trains and no mussels. They claimed the season was just beginning and the mussels were too small. Excuse me, but that same day, the special at one of the restaurants by the flea market was mussels à la marinière. It was too late to go anywhere else, so we decided to make lemonade with our lemons. We ordered a nice bottle of Côtes du Rhône white wine, fried calamari with onions, a salad, skrie fish for Lia (on the recommendation of the waiter) and a different fish for me (also on the recommendation of the waiter). Out comes the wine (very nice), out comes the calamari (very nice). Out comes scallops for Lia and fish for me. I’m sorry, but we ordered a salad and two different fish dishes. I’m always amused by waiters who don’t write down the orders. Sometimes they have very good memories and get everything right. More often, they have terrible memories and get everything wrong. What’s up with that? Do they think they’ll look incompetent if they don’t write down the orders? Rather, they look foolish in getting the orders mixed up. But I digress. So Lia decided to keep her order. She likes scallops anyway and they looked nice.

Did the waiter do anything about it? Absolutely nothing. In fact, he basically ignored us and paid lots of attention to a group at another table. Waiters make mistakes all the time. If the errors were serious, and this one was serious, they apologize and try to make things right by offering a free dessert, or drink, or making an adjustment to the bill. Nothing! Rien! Nada! So I was put in the awkward position of having to ask the waiter if it was customary to do nothing when a waiter makes a mistake. Oh, says the waiter? Would you like a cognac? No, thank you, how about dessert? You mean you want a free dessert? (Can I punch you in the nose for phrasing it that way?) Why, yes, I would (you dummy). So out comes a reluctant, but good chocolate cake. Was I right to be so upset with the waiter? Lia didn’t think so, but I know good service and this wasn’t it. Would I go to this restaurant again? Yes, I would. The food was good, but I would call in advance to make sure they had mussels.

One of the many street hawkers near the Sunday Paris flea market

Check out my new Tiffany, Daum, and Gallé acquisitions. I just listed a couple of important Tiffany vases, straight from a private home. I also listed about ten Daum and Gallé vases plus about 10 Tiffany Pine Needle and Grapevine desk pieces. I’ll be listing even more Pine and Grapevine pieces within the next few days. Here’s the link.

The Denver Antiques Show, July 16-18, 2010

A view of some of the lamps in my booth at the Denver Antiques Show

A view of some of the lamps in my booth at the Denver Antiques Show

I’m writing from the floor of the antique show in Denver. It’s the third time I’m exhibiting here and this will be the acid test of whether I’ll return to Denver. After the first few hours of the show, the early results are inconclusive.

In the meantime, let me first apologize for not updating my blog recently. Preparing to exhibit at my summer shows has been a time-consuming task and I just didn’t have the time. Now that the shows have started, I’ll try hard to update my blog regularly, twice weekly, usually on Monday and Thursday.

I’ve heard from several people that they’re received pop-up notices from Microsoft that my blog is not safe to view. I’ve had this thoroughly checked by my son (who is an expert on website design and safety), as well as Norton Antivirus. If you suspect that a site is not safe, enter the URL in the search box on the Norton site. Here’s the link. Norton Safeweb. You can check the safety of any website. I’ve entered my own blog URL and received the following notice.

Norton Safeweb evaluation of

Norton Safeweb evaluation of

I suggest that you ignore the unsafe notice from Microsoft or add my site address to your list of “trusted sites” and the issue will go away. Please write to me if you’ve experienced any similar problems.

Back to the Denver show. Setup went smoothly, but was a bigger deal than usual because so much of the merchandise was new. I spent a good part of the spring and early summer buying like a madman, so I could display many new and fine items. In that respect, I was highly successful. During setup, I sold a couple of large fantastic bronzes to another dealer. Pre-show sales are always nice and got the show off to a good start.

Rare Quezal vase with flower decoration

Rare Quezal vase with flower decoration

The show has now been open for a few hours. Attendance was pretty decent for the first few hours, but sales were slow. A great Quezal vase was one of the first items out the door. I’ll keep you posted with the final results on Monday or Tuesday, and a decision as to whether we’ll return to Denver the following July.

I recently added over 10 Galle vases to my website, 7 Tiffany lamps, 1 Grueby vase, 1 Newcomb vase, Daum Nancy glass and a fabulous Burgun & Schverer internally decorated vase. This coming week, I’ll be adding many new items. Please take a look. Click on this link

Please send me your comments or questions about art glass, lamps, Louis Icart, shows, auctions, etc. If it’s interesting, I’ll answer you in a future blog.

Thank you, New York

My booth at the NYC Pier show

My booth at the NYC Pier show

The Fall edition of the NYC Pier show is over. Attendance was extraordinarily good this time. The place was packed, but sales didn’t quite keep pace with the level of attendance and interest. It was a good show for me, but considering how many people were there, I was hoping for better. Tiffany desk set items and lamps garnered the most interest. In asking around to other dealers, the word was mostly good, with a couple who were disappointed.

One gentleman, and I use the term loosely, came up to me and said “Cash. You know what cash is? If you give me a really good price, I’ll pay you cash.” Then he asked for the best price on a vase that was priced at $850. He offered me $500 (which happened to be my cost). I didn’t think it would be a good idea to laugh, but I wanted to. After that buildup, I thought we were talking about at least a $10,000 item.

Late Sunday at the Pier, when the crowd was dying down

Late Sunday at the Pier, when the crowd was dying down

It was a hoot to see the cast of characters walking around. One man, who lost one leg and walks with crutches, likes to dress up as a pirate. He comes to every Pier show. I always enjoy seeing him. Then there was a very skinny guy in his 60s, with a ponytail, who came dressed in skin-tight leotards, a bra with falsies, necklaces, bracelets and long plastic earrings. He was quite the queen. He, too, comes to every Pier show. These were only two of the very interesting attendees, and there were quite a few more.

Please send me your suggestions or questions about art glass, lamps, Louis Icart, shows, auctions, etc. If it’s interesting, I’ll answer your question in a future blog entry.

Call or write and let me know what you would like to buy, sell, or trade. or 516-922-2090. And please visit my website.

Amazing antique gold discovery in the UK

Terry Herbert with some of his discovery

Terry Herbert with some of his discovery

For 18 years, 55-year old Terry Herbert’s hobby was to use his metal detector to search for buried metal objects in the ground. On one recent, very special day, he asked permission of a farmer friend in Staffordshire, England, to search his land, and discovered the largest gold and silver treasure trove of Anglo-Saxon artifacts ever discovered. The approximately 1500 objects contain 11 pounds of gold and 5½ pounds of silver, and are believed to date from the 7th century. A government official has declared the find to be a treasure, which means that it belongs to the crown. However, Terry Herbert and the farmer will share in the value, to be determined by the British Museum, which is likely to be in the millions of dollars.

A few of the extraordinary items

A few of the extraordinary items

Ultimately museums will be allowed to bid on the objects, where they will be studied and displayed. The first display of a number of the items was held at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, where the objects are being stored. Archaeologists can’t wait to get their hands on the objects for study. They are all war-related, including sword fittings, sword hilts and helmet sections. The quality of the craftsmanship is such that the objects are believed to have belonged to Saxon royalty, with many inlaid with semi-precious stones.

Some of the objects as found originally

Some of the objects as found originally

It’s likely that the history of this time period will be rewritten as a result of this unprecedented discovery.

Please send me your suggestions or questions about art glass, lamps, Louis Icart, shows, auctions, etc. If it’s interesting, I’ll answer your question in a future blog entry.

Call or write and let me know what you would like to buy, sell, or trade. or 516-922-2090. And please visit my website.

No more room to collect? Christie’s has the solution.

62 Imlay Street in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn

62 Imlay Street in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn

I’ve often met collectors who told me they no longer have any room for new purchases. Well if you’re from the greater New York area, you no longer have an excuse. Christie’s New York has signed a lease on a huge 235,000 sq. ft. warehouse and you can rent space there. It will be in the up-and-coming Red Hook section of Brooklyn, which already boasts major IKEA and Fairway Market stores.

The building is a mess at the moment, but after Christie’s gets finished with it, it will be a state-of-the-art, high security, climate-controlled, storage facility. It will be equipped with infrared video cameras, biometric readers, and detectors for motion, smoke, heat and water. Nice, since it’s likely that the value of the art stored there will exceed the value of the building.

Christie’s already has offered this service in London for many years. Now New York has been added, with additional plans for the same service in Singapore.

Please send me your suggestions or questions about art glass, lamps, Louis Icart, shows, auctions, etc. If it’s interesting, I’ll answer your question in a future blog entry.

Call or write and let me know what you would like to buy, sell, or trade. or 516-922-2090. And please visit my website.