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The Best Of Cut Glass
( Article orginally published December 1959 )
The story of a collector who outwitted the space problem and streamlined her collection by becoming a dealer in antiques-by-mail.
Like many a collector before her, Dorothy Pearson found her way up the primrose path to the antiques business by "in-evitable accident." One pleasant step had led to another, until of a sudden, a forkroad sign pointed sternly to Sell or Stop. By then, Dorothy was too en-trenched in collecting to consider a halt-she found herself in trade!
Some fifteen years ago when the Michael Pearsons of Brooklyn, New York, were newly married, they bought a house-then found the down payment had swallowed all the funds earmarked "New Furniture." Second hand was the immediate answer, and the fine cut glass pieces Dorothy's mother and grandmother had given her, made accessories of high order. For the first few years the young couple changed furniture often, buy-ing the best they could afford, then swapping or selling, almost always at a profit, whenever the desire for change struck them. As finances improved, so did their furniture. More and more antique pieces settled down in their home for a permanent stay. Antique furniture led to more antique accessories, and Dorothy had taste and talent for selection. But always, cut glass remained her love.
When her young son set off for school about five years ago and left her free time to fill, she decided for her own enjoyment to build a serious collection of cut glass around the fine pieces she already owned. She read everything she could find on the sub-ject, studied collections, and talked with collectors, intensifying her na-tural taste and discrimination.
Her search for quality pieces has been extensive and persistent. Many of her prized pieces were especially made for their ori-ginal owners; others, for stockholders or relatives of the owners of glass houses or cutting houses. The Brooklyn area, where sev-eral glass and cutting houses had flourished, proved a fertile hunting ground. She does not insist on signed pieces-rather on fine workmanship and un-usual or unique design or type. She has worked to the end that her col-lection should show the development of different patterns and types over the past 100 years; it is now one of the finest and largest in the country.
She had not been long at her pur-poseful collecting before her house was overflowing with cut glass. Since she had barely started her project, the solution to overcrowding was to dispose of duplicates, and reduce the number of pieces in the same pattern. With the fun and experience the Pearsons had had in buying and sell-ing, it was logical for Dorothy to enter the antiques mart.
For her particular needs, she has found mail order dealing most satis-factory, and 95 per cent of her business is conducted via post. The other 5 per cent comes from out-of-town dealers, visiting in New York, who call on her by appointment. Unhampered by shop hours, she can use all her time for buying, for correspond-ence and keeping her mailing lists up to date. Packing can be done at her convenience.
Dorothy Pearson pictured below: