Your Trusted Source—

for High Quality Old & Rare Marbles of all Types and Varieties.

German Handmade Marbles
Machine Made Marbles

Dr. Jeff Baker and Tammy Baker on vacation smiling with palm trees in the background

The beauty and history of old marbles

Although glass marbles were discovered in 2nd century Venice ruins, it wasn’t until more recent times that playing marbles become a common passion of children or a commercial product.  Beginning in the mid 19th century,  Germany began making beautifully colorful handmade glass marbles as an export product, primarily to the US, then later to the UK.  Prior to this children only had clay, stone or earthenware marbles of very bland colors. These new colorful glass marbles really were a hit to children, and were made and exported as kid’s toys from 1850 to around the 1st World War.  Although now we appreciate them as collectible hand-made works of art today, marbles were not considered or treated carefully as “collectibles” back when they were made.  Instead the glass marbles were thrown together in boxes and shipped in crates, transported (without care) on horse-drawn carriages down bumpy roads and handled by dock workers for their cross-Atlantic ship voyage to the US, and once again thrown around as “cargo” by low paid dock workers.  Once they found their way into children’s hands, the prettiest ones were the ones that got the most attention and most play action, and ultimately were prone to receive the most damage and pocket wear.  It’s amazing that any mint examples survived, especially the beautiful and rare types!

Therefore, it has been our quest to acquire and present to you collectors Old Rare Marbles of High Quality! We hope this website provides you with information about the different varieties of collectible marbles as well as opportunities to acquire rare and beautiful gems for your marble collection!  Inventory is added constantly, so please remember to check back.

About the Site Owners is owned and operated by Jeff & Tammy Baker near the Spokane Washington area (high-end marble collectors for over 39 years). Most collectors who know Jeff & Tammy will say they are well-known, well-liked, and trusted members of the marble community.  Jeff & Tammy Baker are the founders of the very first marble show in the Pacific Northwest (The Pacific NW Marble Convention) in Salem & Portland in the late 1980’s, which was moved north and taken over by a different host who called it the SeaTac show.  Later the International Association of Marble Collectors (IAMC) was established, which is still in operation in Tukwila Washington today…known as the “Seattle Show.”

Dr. Jeff Baker and Tammy Baker on vacation smiling with palm trees in the background

Our Mission

We strive to provide collectors with unparalleled access to high quality, rare or hard to find marbles at reasonable prices with the assurance of a money-back satisfaction guarantee, to maximize the collecting experience to new collectors through educational information on marbles, and to become a trusted resource for exploring, building and enjoying the antique marble-collecting hobby.

Our Vision

It is our vision to promote this site as a hub that connects collectors and promotes the marble-collecting hobby to new or perspective marble collectors.

Grading System

Grading is extremely subjective and is not an exact science, therefore you must always use your own assessment when determining your opinion of grade and appeal when assessing a marble. We do our best to use conservative and accurate standards whenever grading or describing a marble, but we’re human too and sometimes miss something, so use your best judgment in determining if a particular marble meets your standards and expectations. Following is the guidelines we try to follow when grading a marble.

WET MINT (9.8-9.9)

This is the highest grade you could expect to acquire for a hand-made marble from over 100 years ago that traveled across the sea and endured decades of handling. It is essentially as nice as the day it was made and its surface glass will be devoid of any significant wear and will be shiny as if “wet”.

MINT (9.4-9.7)

This grade marble will essentially be essentially undamaged and will show no obvious signs of play use. It will have little to no detracting flaws, but on occasion this grade may include minimal incidental bag-marks or “as-made” factory imperfections such as cold roll lines, rough or snapped pontils, inclusion bubbles, touch marks, discolorations of the glass, annealing lines, or anything not considered as damage from play use.

MINT- (9.0-9.3)

Marbles of this grade will have very small or insignificant evidence of use, and may have slight incidental handling damage, visually significant production flaws, surfaced bubbles, minor fleabite chips, scratches or pocket wear or as-made issues that are minimal but just enough to keep it out of the MINT category.

NEAR MINT+ (8.7-8.9)

This grade will have flaws compared to the above “MINT” category including potential signs of mild to moderate chips or moons from play use. Evidence of play will be minimal.

NEAR MINT (8.3-8.6)

A near mint marble will be in collectible used condition with good eye appeal and a strong example of the type but with mild to moderate visible damage from impact play history. These were toys meant to impact one another and few survived in pristine condition. A near mint marble will show a history of use which may include any of the following – chips, nicks, flea bites, dullness from pocket wear, scratches, and internal flaws such as reflections, moons, or minor cracks.

NEAR MINT – (8.2 & under)

We do not offer highly damaged or low grade marbles on this site.

old rare double ribbon core marble - 2 inner ribbons of bright red-yellow-green-yellow-red. 4 outer ribbons (2 cobalt/white, 2 red/white).  Reverse twist! Faceted pontil.

The purpose of this site

We have something for everyone with an emphasis on quality, therefore most of the marbles offered through site will be in a highly collectible grade (NEAR MINT – WET MINT) and will also include many unusual, rare, or highly sought after varieties!

You will find a wide variety of marbles for the beginner or the advanced collector, with prices from a single-digit to 5-digits.  

Our goal is to promote the hobby of collecting marbles and to encourage new or aspiring collectors.  We encourage the new collectors or collectors on a small budget to contact us, we enjoy teaching and supporting new collectors. 

We also welcome collectors to share their WISH LIST. We have many contacts and resources and may be able to help locate that hard-to-find item you’ve been searching for.

Also, if you or someone you know has questions regarding the value of an unusual marble or would like assistance in selling it, we may consider consignments for rare or unusual items.

Variations & Imperfections

” Nearly every marble offered here will have original as-made surfaces.  Assume all marbles offered on this site will have the original surface glass unless otherwise indicated.  We avoid polished, buffed or reconditioned marbles whenever possible.

Pictures are taken to be honest representations of the marbles and we do not manipulate pictures to hide damage or flaws. We also do our best to capture the authentic colors of the marbles and will adjust the photo to accomplish this if necessary; therefore you may notice a slight difference in background color from slide to slide. We attempt to capture the true colors of what you would expect to see in hand if possible. Sometimes this is not possible in spite of our best efforts and in such cases we try to make note of it in the description.

Marble sizes vary dramatically.  The size of the marble may not be immediately apparent from the photo.  Background detail can be helpful to compare and contrast with other photographed marbles, but always pay close attention to the size description.  Marbles may appear to be approximately the same size in the photos but vary greatly from less than 1/2” to approximately 2-1/2” in diameter.

Most likely the marble will look better in hand than in the photos. All marbles are photographed to show close up detail, which can exaggerate surface imperfections.  Even the most minor of flaws will be magnified and look more obvious on a computer screen than it will in hand.

German handmade marbles were typically made from canes of glass that they created first, then stretched to a desired length or diameter. The construction of the caned dictated what the marbles would look like and they would all look basically the same from that one cane.  Most canes would be produced with an inner core design (typically of a circular core of latticino threads, multiple ribbons, a solid core, or a single flat ribbon), then a second layer of outer threads or ribbons.  Most commonly if there were threads inside, ribbons would be applied to the outer layer and visa versa.  Once the canes were made, they’d begin working marbles off it one at a time, shaping it while still hot, then cutting it free with marble scissors…creating the “pontil”.  There is a smoother cupped pontil and a basal pontil from where it was pinched from the cane, which is either “faceted” or “rough”.  Pontils were finished with fine little facets to make them more perfectly round during the first few decades of glass marble manufacturing, but around 1880 this practice was discontinued to increase factory efficiency and profits, and the pontils were left rough.  Therefore, viewing the type of pontil on a German handmade marble will give you insight into its approximate age.   

Earlier marbles that were cut from a cane would have less of a twist to them than marbles worked from the canes later, as the canes would become more twisty as they would work with them.  Marbles will almost always have 2 pontils (one from where the cane was cut free from the last marble made, and the second from where the marble was cut from the cane). Exceptions to this are marbles that were the first off the cane, or those that were intentionally made as single marbles, such as sulphides, which have a white chalk-like carved figure inside. 

We are often asked whether factory imperfections affect the value of a German handmade marble.  It’s not a simple straight forward answer…  
(1) Some factory flaws are desirable such as broken and re-fused canes, starter cores (where they built a marble over a previous cane), which is common in onionskins because they thought the new “skin” would hide the one inside, but they didn’t know there’d someday be collectors looking with a pen light and magnifying glass down the pontils to view inside the marbles for unique inconspicuous features.  Even end-of-cane swirls are factory errors because the ribbons splay and come to the surface instead of to the pontil (most first-off-cane ends were discarded).   The last of the canes were always discarded when they grew too short to be worked with anymore, as they were just a stretched out tail of a cane remnant.
(2) Most factory flaws don’t cause much concern or effect the value such as a piece of oven brick or mild cold-roll lines.
(3) Other factory flaws can be detrimental such as annealing fractures (where the marble cracked during cooling), being made out of round, big protruding or intrusive pontils, snapped pontils, obtrusive bubbles, drastic asymmetry to the pattern, or deep cold-roll line crevices.  

Amazing Deep contrasting best MFC Brick marble of incredible size reaching max size made.

Browse Products


Save Money by ordering multiple items at one from OldRareMarbles, LLC for one low shipping price.  We ship marbles by USPS by Priority mail at standard rates.  This comes with $100 insurance.  Buyer accepts responsibility for any additional insurance costs.  Buy as many items as you’d like, and we will combine orders to save the buyer shipping costs.   Any special insurance or international shipping or special shipping requests will incur an additional charge based on the service or insurance amount requested.

“Wish List” Fulfillment

See a great marble you want but can’t afford?  Text Jeff Baker at (503) 507-7883 with the Description & SKU# and I will pull the marble and set it aside for you with only 25% down -residual balance due within 3 months (25% each month).

Washington Sales Tax

The company is located in Washington and operates under the name of OldRareMarbles, LLC.  As such, Washington residents will be subject to a Washington sales Tax. 

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Buy from OldRareMarbles, LLC with confidence!  We offer a full 30-day money back guarantee of the purchase price minus shipping costs if you’re not pleased with the item for any reason.  Returns will be accepted with return shipping costs at the buyer’s expense provided that (1) the item is received within the 30-day return period and (2) the item is the same marble purchased and in the same condition as it was in when it was purchased.

We Buy Old or Rare Marbles

If you have an individual old rare marble or an entire marble collection to sell, please fill out the form below for more details on the purchasing process.  If you require multiple photos, please email us and we will respond with an email that can accept multiple photos.

  • What are you interested in selling?
  • Picture of Marble/Collection (Required)
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