Ports' collection a rarity among Millersburg Glass collectors

Ports' collection a rarity among Millersburg Glass collectors

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Every year Holmes County hosts a Millersburg Glass Auction in honor of one of the county’s most historical collectibles.

While each auction has been a huge success and brought plenty of attention, this year’s auction on Friday, Oct. 8 and Saturday, Oct. 9 at Comfort Suites in Berlin promises to be one of its finest.

The auction will present a two-day sale from the collection of the late Margaret Ports of Wooster. The collection of glass was so extensive auctioneer Jim Wroda of Matthew Wroda Auction Services felt it would be best to break it up into a two-day event.

The Oct. 8 auction will feature more than 100 pieces of some of what Wroda, who has dealt at length with carnival glass and Millersburg Glass in particular, called some of the finest Millersburg Crystal he has ever seen in one collection.

“Many top crystal rarities will be offered,” Wroda said. “Some of these things I’ve never seen before.”

Chris Sieverdes, executive director of the Millersburg Glass Museum, said Ports’ collection was one that would make any collector of rare carnival glass proud.

“Margaret Ports has such a wonderful eye for quality pieces of carnival glass and crystal, especially when it came to Millersburg Glass,” Sieverdes said. “She had some outstanding pieces in her collection, and whenever she went to an auction, she always purchased and participated with a smile on her face. She was such a pleasant woman who was always smiling, even when she didn’t get a piece she wanted. She was a wonderful person who really cared about Millersburg Glass.”

Sieverdes said the collection of Millersburg Glass was so extensive it would have been a marathon effort to auction it all off at one sitting.

When John Fenton built the Millersburg Glass factory in 1909, he made it evident his lavish ideas and creative mind were going to create a company that would be innovative and unique. Millersburg Glass began designing some of the most unique carnival glass pieces in the market, and soon the company’s signature crystal and amethyst and marigold productions were hitting the market. However, when Fenton introduced the new radium line, it took carnival glass to a new level.

Unfortunately, Fenton’s reported extravagant lifestyle, along with his desire to create so many unique pieces, made for bad business, and the company went under in 1911, taking with it many local investors who helped Fenton.

Because much of the glass was destroyed and due to the company’s short life span, Millersburg Glass became tough to find throughout the years.

Thus, its rarity, beauty and one-of-a-kind pieces made it the collector’s choice over the years.

The event will begin Oct. 8 with the Millersburg Glass Auction at 3 p.m., followed by the annual Millersburg Glass Association activities and dinner, sponsored by Mathew Wroda Auction Services, at 5 p.m.

The gathering, as the glass members like to call it, will feature a seminar on Vaseline Glass by collector Matt Young of Loudonville, and Wroda said it is something people won’t want to miss.

“Matt is a wonderful collector who specializes in glass,” Sieverdes said. “He is incredibly knowledgeable.”

For anyone interested in becoming a member of the Millersburg Glass Association, this meal and evening seminar is a perfect place to join, with the $20 annual membership fee including the evening’s meal.

The day-two part of the auction on Saturday, Oct. 9 will begin at 9:30 a.m. when the carnival glass will hit the auction block.

According to Wroda, there will be approximately 275 items from Ports’ collection.

“This is one of the finest all-Millersburg Glass collections we have ever sold from one single collector,” Wroda said.

When it comes to Millersburg Glass, Ports was a fervent collector who invested heavily in finding rare and unique pieces. It is now available to the public, and Wroda said this auction should be on every collector’s list to attend.