Group of Sulphide marbles

Sulphides are always an individually handmade single pontil German marble containing a chalk-like “sulphide” figure of an animal or person, or sometimes inanimate objects such as a number or Sulphide figure of a coin.  Figures that contain humans or inanimate objects are rare than animals.  Most Sulphides have faceted pontils under the figure or at the tail end or back of the figure.  Unfinished pontils are sometimes seen, usually on the Peewee Sulphides of under 1”

Donut Hole Sulphides are figures that have an intentional hole through the middle of it.  This was uncommon and they are a premium among collectors.

Sulphides with multiple figures on the Sulphide such as a woman with a dog is uncommon.


Sulphide marbles with more than one sulphide figure inside it is rare.

Sulphides that are in colored glass are rare.

Sulphides with figures that are painted are rare.

Beware of modern reproduction Sulphides such as the famous “California Sulphides” that surfaced in the ‘80s.  They commonly have unique or unusual figures or multiple figures, colored glass, or goofy looking pontils.

Also do not confuse contemporary Sulphides with the old German handmade Sulphides.  Modern contemporary Sulphides commonly have highly decorated/colored figures or objects of many varieties, and the glass will be crystal clear with no surface waviness or imperfection at all and no pontil.  Some may be initialed by the maker but most are not.

One telltale sign of old glass is that it will fluoresce a light yellowish color under a black light (except for most Peewee Sulphides, which are probably made of late production glass).

The most common sizes for German handmade Sulphides are 1-1/4” to 1-3/4”.  Small ones of less than 1” are uncommon and are referred to as Peewee Sulphides.  Large Sulphides of over 2” are difficult to find in mint condition.  Any damage at all is evident on a Sulphide.  For this reason many are polished (buyer beware).

There is much to learn regarding Sulphides.  To learn more about the variety of figures known and commonly/uncommonly seen among sulphides, I would direct you to a few marble books on the subject.

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