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The Museum of American Glass in West Virginia (MAGWV) was host to the Third Annual Marble Show on April 23 and April 24.The event was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Museum volunteers and event organizers were happy the event could be held.“It’s the first in-person event we’ve had in over a year,” MAGWV Board member David Bush said.The first Marble Show came about from an idea from the late Bill Law, who started the show in 2018. An Akro Agate Show was held in the Clarksburg area prior to 2018, but had faded out, and Law wanted to start one in the area again, Debbie Mayer said. Mayer has also been instrumental in bringing the marble show to the area.Mayer attended a marble show in Fort Wayne, IN, made connections, and with help from Linda Simmons with the WV Marble Club, got the word out.Bush added that Dean Six, who was affiliated with the Cairo Marble Show, partnered with MAGWV for several years which helped increase interest. People from six states, including Florida and Indiana, came to Weston for the two-day event.One marble collector, Bob Murphy, attended the show, and has made marbles part of his life for 25 years. He previously sold antiques as a side business, and while at an auction, his then-young son, Dustin, spotted a jar of marbles he desperately wanted.“Ten minutes later he was bored with them,” Murphy said. Murphy, however, was not. He began researching marbles and their history.“Now, it’s a hobby,” he said, adding that Dustin is still interested in marbles, preferring contemporary marbles to vintage, which is the style Murphy likes.Vintage marbles are those made beginning in the 1860s up until just before WWI. These were handmade, originating in Germany as children’s toys. Murphy said larger marbles were made, as well, but were used as presentation or decorative pieces in homes.Murphy attends roughly 10 marble shows around the country each year. Though with some shows he sees people only once a year, those connections can prove to benefit both Murphy and others.“Sometimes people know what I’m looking for,” he said, adding that most people who collect and sell marbles are trustworthy, and will even share information.Betty and Doug Lough, from Webster County, attended their first marble show, not knowing what to expect. The marbles they had on display were collected by some residents of Webster County, who reclaim wood from dilapidated structures. They found the marbles, and passed them on to the Loughs. Some of that wood has been repurposed by Doug Lough to hold marbles.“The people are so nice,” Betty Lough said, adding that other marble collectors have been helpful, and they have learned so much from them.“We’ve had fun. It’s been an experience,” she continued.Bob Payton hails from Panama City, Florida, and has been collecting marbles for 25 years. Like Murphy, he dealt in antiques while living in Maryland. Through a friend who asked for assistance with an estate sale, his interest in marbles was born.Payton is partial to German hand-made marbles, and had on display sulphide marbles, which have a transparent base with a sulphide figure inserted inside it. The most common figure found inside is an animal, such as barnyard animals, household pets, squirrels and birds. Wild animals are rare, but Payton does own one with a rhinoceros inside.“The animals inside were an attraction to kids,” Payton explained, adding it was a marketing tool.MAGWV is home to the National Marble Museum. The museum is located at 230 Main Avenue in Weston. Call 304-269-5006 for more information, or visit their website at www.magwv.com.
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