Discovering Royal Blue Mount Vernon

by Rich Desmond
Issue No. 342 - October 2001

During the winter of 1986, I was disabled at the concrete company job I had. While licking my wounds for the next three months, and being the avid collector (dealer) I was becoming, I decided to help promote my lust for acquiring glass for upcoming shows. Through newspapers and word of mouth, I searched for the bargain I could live with, answered an ad in the paper advertising two pieces of blue cobalt glass, a large bowl and under liner. Thinking that this was L.E. Smith's Mt. Pleasant pattern, I called and made an appointment to see the items even though I knew that the price of $50 for the two was expensive. I frequently find that some folks have more than what's advertised anyway, and with the hope that I might be able to acquire more than the offering, I headed out with a mere $200 in my pocket.

Along the way, my gas guzzling van took $20 at the station, leaving me with $180. Not thinking anymore about this, I proceeded to my appointment with what I was sure was a dear, elderly lady. My suspicions confirmed, I entered into a gated, guarded and securely protected apartment house up on the third floor via the elevator, down four doors as instructed, I knocked and was greeted by a somewhat short, elderly Lady. She was looking at my stomach when she answered the door, and slowly lifted her head as she looked up towards my face, standing at 6'3". Most people of slight stature seem intimidated by my size, but soon realize that I'm a gentle soul not trying to take advantage of them.

As she led me into a room where the items were, I soon realized that my earlier suspicions were correct as laid out on a small coffee table were more items of cobalt glass. To my dismay though, they were scratched terribly or chipped. The bowl and liner were there, and as I thought, were Mt. Pleasant glass. We negotiated the price, and feeling quite content with the purchase, I thanked her and got up to leave. She then told me that perhaps I would be interested in the items on the dining room table. And, as she led me through another room, she sternly instructed me that I didn't have too much time left as her Mahjong Club was expected in a few minutes, and I would have to leave before then. Okay. I thought, this'd be fast. I only had about $150 left. As I walked into the room, the dining room table was laid out with a service for eight in a cobalt blue luncheon set totaling about 50 pieces.

My wife and I were new to being glass dealers at this time, and I didn't recognize the pattern offhand, however knew that the way the light shone through the glass and how blue it was, that this was really something. Before I could even pick up a piece, this dear lady again informed me of the time, and that she wanted $225 for all the pieces. I informed her that I only had $150 and some pocket change on me and she right away accused me of trying to chew her down. I informed her I wasn't, and could go to the bank for more money at which she balked and said that her Mahjong Club would be here in seconds and she wanted $200. Again I informed her that my pockets couldn't yield that and would go and call on her again after her meeting. She insisted that this had to be completed soon and she would go as low as $175, but no lower and again her club was coming. Now I don't know what to do other than tell her of my situation, again, and she starts throwing the glass into a large paper bag saying I'm trying to chew her down, again.

Mind you up to this point I hadn't even picked up a piece of glass, nor knew what it was, let alone its condition. She then completed her packing without any newspaper and said she would accept the $150, that I shouldn't take advantage of little old ladies, and now leave as her Mahjong Club was going to be here in seconds. As I left, the door slammed behind me. My head was reeling and not knowing what I just spent my last money for the week on, I waited on the arrival of the elevator, which opened to a car full of Mahjong Club ladies. Whew, I thought, entering into the peaceful elevator. Made it!

Along the journey home, I was reflecting on the purchase, trying to mull over patterns in my head, and how I was going to explain this to my wife. Entering the Bible Bookstore where she works, I proudly presented to her an unmarked cup and saucer and said, I either did something smart or something stupid. She said she had no idea about the pattern either. So, taking them back from her and wrapping them in tissue paper she provided, I left for home.

Upon arrival, I emptied the bags, and started to examine the pieces for chips or scratches. It was there, looking at the polished bottoms of the saucers, that I discovered the Triangle C on one of the pieces. Not all the pieces were marked, and when showing my wife, I must've picked up an unmarked one. Well, this put me into the Elegant Book by Florence to try to find this pattern. Finally, after perusing A to M, my hunt was over. Mount Vernon at last. Then to my horror no prices! Now what? How was I going to price this?

In reading the header, I found the author saying that there was little hope of putting together any large sets of this pattern in Royal Blue, Heatherbloom or Carmen. I was on my own to try to price this. I wasn't going to offer this for sale until I could find out more about it. Thus started my hunt, and my membership in the National Cambridge Collectors Club in 1989. Along the way I fell in love with this pattern and decided to continue to collect it. To date, I haven!t offered it to anyone. To the contrary, and the extreme, I've been an avid collector of Mount Vernon in Royal Blue. I now have over 165 pieces in this set and a service for 12 in most pieces, including the dinner plates. Thanks to all my dealer friends (as we've become over the years) for helping to enhance my set. It goes to show that in collecting any pattern, if you've got the patience, endurance, and resources, you too can get hooked on collecting Cambridge Glass.

To help out other collectors who may be interested in Royal Blue Mount Vernon, accompanying this article is a list of items that I am aware of that have been made in Royal Blue. If you know of others, drop a line so we can try to compile as complete a list as possible for the benefit of NCC members.

Cambridge Mount Vernon Royal Blue - List of Known Items
  Advertising Pamphlets 2 Styles
#18 Bottle 7 oz. Sq. toilet
#31 Bowl 4½" fruit
#12 Bowl,4½" Ivy ball or rose, ftd.
#32 Bowl, 6" cereal
#39 Bowl, 10" 2 hdld.
#15 Box 4½" w/cover
#130 Candlestick, 4" pair
#66 Cigarette Holder
#96 Comport 6½" belled
#11 Comport 7½"
#8 Creamer ftd.
#7 Cup
#52 Decanter
#84 Mug 14 oz. stein
#28 Mustard w/cover 2½ oz.
#91 Pitcher 86 oz.
#5 Plate salad 8½"
#40 Plate dinner 10¼"
  Advertising Shelf sign
#37 Plate hdld. 11½"
#103 Relish 8" 3 part 3 hdld.
#104 Relish 12" 5 part w/metal serving tray
#24 Salt individual
#102 Salt oval 2 hdld.
#28 Salt & Pepper pair
#24 Salt dip
#7 Saucer
#25 Stcm 4½ oz. Claret 4"
#2 Stem 6½ oz. Tall sherbet 4¼"
#1 Stem l0 oz. Water 5 ¾"
#8 Sugar, ftd.
#22 Tumbler 3 oz. ftd. Juice
#21 Tumbler 5 oz. ftd. 4"
#3 Tumbler 10 oz. ftd. Water 4¾"
#20 Tummbler 12 oz. ftd. Tea
#54 Vase 7" ftd.