Antique Glass Carafes
Antique Glass Carafes are vessels used for serving wine and other drinks, such as coffee and water.
History & Description
A carafe is different to a decanter as it does not include a stopper.
Glass carafes can be traced as far back as Ancient Rome where they were used to serve wine. Their popularity began to decline due to the introduction of other materials, such as silver, bronze, gold and earthenware pottery. However, from the late-fifteenth and early-sixteenth centuries, the use of glass carafes again became widespread in Europe.
Many wine experts tout the aesthetic value of using a carafe to serve wine, particularly those made of clear glass and with an elegant design. Moreover, they are also used as they allow the wine to “breathe”. It is believed that they help to stimulate the movement of molecules in the wine, thus releasing more of the wine’s aromatic compounds
Guide for collectors
Instances of glass carafes sold at national auction houses are quite common. However, prices can range considerably. Prices are determined by the quality of the item’s glass, its design, condition, age and maker’s mark. Any dents or damaged glass can significantly decrease the item’s price.
The most important, and therefore valuable, examples are typically sold through international auctioneers, such as Christie’s. At present, the most expensive antique glass carafes are those produced by the Imperial Glass Factory that operated out of St. Petersburg, Russia, between 1777 and 1917.
Notable auction sales
On December 2nd 2009 at Christie’s in London, a glass carafe and seven tumblers, made by the Imperial Glass Factory, St. Petersburg, circa 1830s, realised a price of £34,850.
On December 2nd 2009 at Christie’s in London, a rare miniature glass carafe and tumbler from Alexander II’s own service from his countryside residence, made by the Imperial Glass Factory, St. Petersburg, circa 1840, realised a price of £11,875.
On February 10th 2006 at Christie’s in New York, a glass carafe, made by Rene Lalique, circa 1912, realised a price of $10,800.
On September 9th 2005 at Christie’s in New York, a glass carafe with grey patina, made by Rene Lalique, circa 1911, realised a price of $10,560.