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     Toothpick holders or simply "Toothpicks" as they are called by collectors, first appeared in the 1880's in America and only continued in vogue until about 1910. The "fad" only lasted so long as it was polite to pick one's teeth in public! The holders for the handy little slivers were made in china, wood, metal and many other materials but our discussion will be limited to those made of Early American Pattern Glass.
      "Toothpicks" were part of the table set in the Victorian period and they were sometimes a part of a "condiment set" which might also contain cruets, shakers,and/or a cov'd mustard.
Feather, aka Indiana Swirl made by McKee & a number of other glass houses from 1898 in clear, green and this rare amber stained - value ca $350. Beaded Shell or Shell made by Dugan 1904;
value in blue opalescent ca $700.
       Some of the most common and well-known patterns of EAPG toothpick holders were made in those now known as the States' Series. The US Glass Company, formed in 1891 of a number of glass companies who were on the verge of bankruptcy, used as a marketing strategy, naming patterns after states.
     Not all states had a pattern named after them (indeed, not all present day states had achieved statehood) and some of the states which did have a pattern, did not have a toothpick holder as a part of the set.   Maine aka Panelled Flower Stippled is the most elusive of the State Patterns. At recent auctions the Maine has sold in excess of $600.
      Others which are hard to find are Maryland aka Inverted Loops & Fans and Tennessee aka Jeweled Rosettes shown at right and made ca 1900-1905 in clear only.  Its current value is about $175.
     My first great interest was clear pattern (or pressed) glass. I spent many hours with Mrs. Metz' book on the subject and always got the new Wallace Homestead books just to look at Pattern Glass. Then in early 1970 I bought my first book on toothpick holders, 'Encyclopedia of Victorian Colored Pattern Glass', by Wm. Heacock. At that time however the colored ones were several hundred dollars and I was paying only about $20. Oh, but things have changed.
     In April of 1980 I found a Texas aka Loop w/ Stippled Panels toothpick and that led to my joining the National Toothpick Holder Collectors' Society and buying Mr. Heacock's new book, '1000 Toothpick Holders'. The book contained several pages of pattern or clear pressed glass toothpicks in my $20 range. 
      My first specialties were the State Series, & products of Duncan & Miller, Heisey and later Northwood & Associates, and each grouping had about 30-32 patterns with some very rare.

     At the left is HOMESTEAD by Duncan Miller #63 ca. 1907.  It is hard to find - value $110
     Duncan & Miller in Washington, PA was formed in 1892. This factory made 32 known patterns with the 4 most elusive being: #67, Sunburst In Ovals; #80 Sunflower Patch; #63 Homestead (shown at left); and #68 King Arthur. All were made in clear but may be found with ruby stain or gold decoration. Some Duncan Miller patterns have delicate hand cutting. Any enhancement except souveniring adds to value with ruby stained examples being especially expensive. 
       The A. H. Heisey Company was founded in Newark, Ohio in 1896 and remained there through 1913. The earliest Heisey toothpicks were not marked with the well-known 'Diamond H'. These include Cut Block, Fandango, Fancy Loop and Pineapple & Fan & the most expensive, if not the rarest, Locket On Chain (see photo below) which sells for $3000+ when available.  Heisey #1776, Kalonyal (see also below), is also rare. The ruby stained Kalonyal sold in the summer of 2000 for $1400 at a Heisey auction.
Heisey's first pattern made
was CUT BLOCK #1200
c. 1896.  Souveniered
"St. Joseph Mich."
A rare form. $185
Heisey's Locket on Chain #160. Also made in clear, emerald green and Canary
ca 1900. Never marked.
Value $3000+ in color
Heisey #1776 KALONYAL.
Made in 1906 for one year only.
Clear is rare; ruby extremely
rare. Recently sold Heisey Auction for $1400.
Northwood & Associates:
     This is my favorite personal collection, started while at convention in 1985 when Bill Heacock presented a seminar on Northwood.  His 3 volumes on the Northwood and Dugan glass companies were completed by James Measell and Berry Wiggins after Heacock's death in 1988.
   Some of my favorites from this collection are:
Jeweled Heart: (See photos below)   I have the custard (Ivory) form which is the only documented one at this time (Fall, 2000). All Jeweled Heart toothpicks are rare, the value on the custard is about $2000. (Note that I have surpassed my $20 limit of the 1970s!)  Jeweled Heart was made in green, blue and white in both opalescent and non opalescent after the Dugans (Thomas E. A. & Alfred) took over the older Northwood operation at the Indiana, PA factory between 1900 and 1903.
Jeweled Heart**, aka Victor made by Dugan Glass of Indiana, PA after 1905. Extremely rare custard- value $2000+; Blue opalescent value $500+
**This pattern has been widely reproduced in many colors. The fail-safe method to determine repros in this pattern is to look down into the bottom & it if it is the siz of a dime, it is original issue.
     Shell (see photo at top of this page) is also rare and made about the same time as Jeweled Heart. Value of the Shell blue opalescent toothpick is about $700. I have at least one of most patterns made by or attributed to Northwood except a Louis XV, which I have been unsuccessful in obtaining.
      Sarah Jenkins has been a member of The National Toothpick Holder Collectors' Society since 1980. For information on the NTHCS, visit their website or write NTHCS Membership; P.O. Box 852 ,Archer City, Texas 76351.
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