Heart of Glass - Blenko Glass

Blenko Glass is a West Virginia treasure that spans generations. Nothing symbolizes the state of West Virginia better or more beautifully than Blenko Glass. We will discuss current and former craftsmen and designers and how important it is that Blenko and West Virginia glass be appreciated and valued by the younger generation.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

West Virginia Birthday Vase


Can you tell me about the Blenko Birthday Vases? Why people collect, how much I should pay, and are they 'for real' a limited edition? When are they sold? How many are there? Where are they sold?



Thank you for writing. Below you'll find a brief history of this series (http://www.blenkoproject.org/). My family has collected these since 1982 - My Dad later acquired, with the assistance of T. Kosla the Blenko Society President, the first two from a former Diamond employee. Yearly, he and two hundred other hopefuls stand in line at Blenko Glass in Milton, WV on or near June 20th ( the birth date of West Virginia). This blog and the Blenko Glass website, and the newspapers announce the date and time.

Yearly Blenko Glass produces a unique and special vase for the occassion. In the last 5 years Arlon Bayliss ( http://www.arlonbayliss/. com has designed the WV Birthday vase. Many feel the last five are the most beautiful. If you are starting a new collection - my suggestion would be to start searching for the last five. You don't need to have the entire collection to be a Blenko - WV Birthday Collector.

Overview - Blenko - WV Birthday Vase

In the late 1970's Blenko Glass had three shifts of glass shops working. Business was good.

The West Virginia Birthday series began with a conversation in a shared taxi ride to the airport.

The Diamond Department Store's buyer approached Mr. Bill Blenko with the idea of

Blenko making a vase each year to honor the State of West Virginia's birthday. The vase would be sold exclusively at the Diamond on W.Va. 's Birthday ( a State Gov't holiday). The vase would be limited in number ( one for each year of Statehood) and signed by the artist and the

President of Blenko Glass.

Mr. Bill Blenko told us he returned to Milton spoke with the part time Blenko Glass designer Don Shepherd three Proto-types were developed. The Diamond and Mr. Bill Blenko decided on a crystal bowl - a bowl that is said to be perfectly suited to hold fruit or flowers and set in the center of a side or dining table.

These vases sold out before noon. It was the beginning of a series, the longest series for Blenko Glass and one of the longest series of any American Glass manufacturer.

Blenko worked hard over the years to keep the price down. The first vase was sold for less than $50 ( current value is between $800 and $1,500). Today the first five are the most difficult WV Birthday vases to find on the after market.

Shown in this photo is the #1 of the first year of Blenko Glass W.Va. Birthday Vase series.


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