Identification and Price guides for Antiques & Collectibles

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A Guide to Their History, Styles, and Value

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Antique CUT GLASS DECANTERSDecanters are a beautiful and practical addition to any home bar or collection. These vessels are designed to store and serve wine, spirits, and other alcoholic beverages. Over the years, decanters have evolved into beautiful pieces of art, with intricate designs and intricate shapes that make them highly collectible.

If you are a collector or enthusiast of antique and collectible decanters, this guide will provide you with everything you need to know about their history, styles, and value.

History of Decanters

Decanters have been around since the 17th century, when they were used primarily to store and serve wine. Back then, wine was often transported in barrels and was then transferred to decanters to allow the sediment to settle. The decanters were then used to serve the wine, while the sediment remained in the barrel.

In the 18th century, glassblowers began to experiment with different shapes and designs for decanters, creating a variety of beautiful and intricate vessels. Decanters became a symbol of wealth and status, and their designs were often highly ornate and decorative.

During the 19th century, decanters became more practical and functional. The Industrial Revolution brought about mass production, which made decanters more affordable and accessible to the general public. The designs became simpler, with less ornamentation and more emphasis on functionality.

Styles of Decanters

There are many different styles of decanters, each with their own unique design and purpose. Here are some of the most common styles of decanters:

  • Wine Decanters - These decanters are designed specifically for wine and are typically wider at the base to allow for better aeration. They often have a long neck to make pouring easier and a stopper to keep the wine fresh.

  • Spirit Decanters - These decanters are used for storing and serving spirits such as whiskey, brandy, and rum. They are usually more slender than wine decanters and may have a more intricate design.

  • Ship Decanters - These decanters are shaped like a ship and are often used to serve port or sherry. They have a wide base, which allows them to sit securely on a table or bar, and a narrow neck with a stopper to keep the wine fresh.

  • Decanter Sets - These are sets of two or more matching decanters that are designed to be used together. They may come with a tray or stand to make them easier to display.

Value of Decanters

The value of a decanter depends on several factors, including its age, rarity, and condition. Here are some tips for determining the value of a decanter:

  • Check the Maker's Mark - Many antique decanters will have a maker's mark, which can help determine the age and authenticity of the piece. Look for marks from well-known glassblowers such as Waterford, Baccarat, or Lalique.

  • Look for Damage - Chips, cracks, or other damage can significantly reduce the value of a decanter. Make sure to inspect the piece carefully before making a purchase.

  • Consider Rarity - Decanters that are rare or one-of-a-kind will often command a higher price. Look for unique designs or limited edition pieces.

  • Check Auction Prices - Check auction prices for similar pieces to get an idea of what the decanter is worth. Online auction sites like eBay can be a good place to start.

  • Consider Age - Generally, the older the decanter, the more valuable it is likely to be. Look for pieces that are at least 100 years old, as they are considered antiques.

  • Check the Condition - Decanters that are in excellent condition will often command a higher price than those that are damaged or have been repaired.

Collecting Decanters

Collecting decanters can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but it can also be quite expensive. Here are some tips for starting and building a collection of antique and collectible decanters:

  • Do Your Research - Before you start collecting, do some research on the history and styles of decanters. This will help you make informed decisions when purchasing pieces.

  • Start Small - Start with a few pieces that you really love and build your collection over time. It's better to have a few high-quality pieces than a lot of lower-quality ones.

  • Set a Budget - Decanters can be quite expensive, so it's important to set a budget and stick to it. Don't overspend on a piece just because you think it's rare or valuable.

  • Buy from Reputable Dealers - When purchasing decanters, buy from reputable dealers who specialize in antique and collectible glassware. This will help ensure that you are getting authentic pieces.

  • Handle with Care - Decanters are delicate and can be easily damaged. Handle them with care and store them in a safe place when not in use.


Decanters are beautiful and functional vessels that have been around for centuries. Whether you are a collector or just appreciate their beauty, antique and collectible decanters are a valuable addition to any home bar or collection. By understanding their history, styles, and value, you can make informed decisions when purchasing and collecting these beautiful pieces of art. Remember to handle them with care and enjoy them for years to come.

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