Your Trusted Source—
for High Quality Old & Rare Marbles of all Types and Varieties.
German Handmade Marbles
Machine Made Marbles
The beauty of their history
Since these early German handmade glass marbles were made as kid’s toys from 1850 to around the 1st World War. They were not treated as collectibles when made, but were instead 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. Once they landed into the hands of the children, the prettiest ones were the ones that got the most attention and most play action. It’s amazing that any mint examples of the beautiful and rare types have survived!
About the Site Owners
OldRareMarbles.com is owned and operated by Jeff & Tammy Baker of Salem, Oregon (high-end marble collectors for over 35 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.”
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.
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.
Aqua Banded Swirl$250.00 Size: 13/16"
Condition: WET MINT-
Pretty 4-Ribbon Colorful Banded Transparent Swirl in Colored Glass$150.00 Size: 19/32"
Condition: Wet Mint
Large Cobalt Banded Translucent Swirl with Inner Core Threads$240.00 Size: 13/16"
Condition: Mint Minus
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.
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 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.
Marbles of this grade will have very small or insignificant evidence of use, and may have slight incidental handling damage, 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.
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.
Marble sizes vary dramatically. The size of the marble may not be immediately apparent from the photo as there is no background detail to compare and contrast it with, so 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. Therefore imperfections will be magnified and even the most minor of flaws will look more obvious on a computer screen than it will in hand.
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 pen lights and magnifying glassed down the pontils 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).
(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.
3-Ribbon Divided Core Swirl$10.00 Size: 23/32"
15/16″ Unglazed Leaf Spray & Spiral China$10.00 Size: 15/16"
Condition: Near Mint
Pair of Alley Coral Swirls$10.00 Size: 9/16"
Condition: Mint- to Mint
Grade: 9.4 to 9.7
Red-White-Yellow Popeye Corkscrew$10.00 Size: 5/8"
Condition: WET MINT-
Fluorescent Green & Yellow Popeye Corkscrew$10.00 Size: 5/8"+
Condition: Near Mint Plus
Rich Royal Blue & Bright Yellow Popeye Corkscrew$10.00 Size: 5/8"
Set of 3 Red AKRO Slags$12.00 Size: 11/16" -
Condition: Mint- to Wet Mint
Grade: 9.35 to 9.9
Set of 3 Yellow AKRO Snake Corkscrews$12.00 Size: 5/8"
Condition: MINT to WET MINT
Grade: 9.7 to 9.9
3-Color AKRO Corkscrew of Green, Black and Orange$12.00 Size: 5/8"
Condition: Wet Mint
We ship marbles by USPS for a standard packaging and shipping charge of $10. Buy as many items as you’d like, and we will combine orders to save the buyer shipping costs. Packages will shipped as Priority Mail in most cases with the standard insurance included with that service. Buyer accepts responsibility for any additional insurance costs. Any special shipping requests will incur an additional charge based on the service or insurance amount requested.
No Sales Tax
Save money from buying from OldRareMarbles.com! Oregon has NO SALES TAX. You will not incur the expense of sale tax that may be incurred from shopping on other on-line sites.
You will buy from OldRareMarbles.com 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 Marbles
If you have an individual old rare marble or an entire collection to sell, please fill out the form below for more details on the purchasing process.