Wednesday, March 31, 2010

E.C. & M. ~~ & M & M & more M.

HOLY CRAP!!  What the heck is going on. 

Have you been following the "pressed glass" in Pole Top Auctions?    I admit,  I'm the dude that is usually late to the party but come on.... this is ridiculous. 
Move over Clubhouse,   don't look back Cassins,  another form of western glass is on it's way to the moon!

I have several good friends that enjoy these heavy glass objects,   heck,  I like 'um.   I even thought I might enjoy owning a couple of the less common greenish or blue shades...  that was before I finally realized "that train has left the station"  for me.   At the Las Vegas Show I got a reality check from Dennis E., when he told me he was the winning bidder of a highly acclaimed / borderline fantastic E.C.&M.  

Ok,  I'll bite....    what did it cost you ... says me.  

Good thing I was sitting down,  or you could have knocked me over with a feather. 

Let's just say it was a lot of dough!!   

But compared to the price these E.C.&M.s,  from the Patocka Collection,  are getting hammered down at... looks like he was way ahead of the pack.     Check out the results on line.... be sitting down!! 

Like all of you,  I enjoy many different aspects of Western collecting.    Bottles, insulators, advertising,  gold rush items,   California gold rush history,  gold rush pioneer coinage... now there is a category that will make your palms sweat before making an addition to the "little collection".    

I think it's getting too late in the game for me to be getting into this "heavy glass".    I'll just have to enjoy it from a distance.  

Too many things I like!!!    Not enough   M 

It is really amazing to me how well the insulator hobby has recovered from the E.C. &M. fraud of a few years ago.   Some dedicated western collectors helped put an end to that potentially devastating scam!    Phony specimens have been identified,  and pretty much corralled I have been told.   If these prices are any indication... looks like confidence restored.

The story of the capture of the a-hole that allegedly faked the ECM's is fantastic.  Allegedly my arse!  They caught him with the moulds.  Very worthy of a post..  anyone have a copy?  Is there a copy??   


  1. Wow Roger, you would have to bring this up! Man, am I licking my wounds after this one. I was an avid insulator collector in the late 60's, early 70's, specializing in threadless and E.C.& M. stuff. In those days, you didn't buy them unless they were mint or near mint. All gone, I don't own any insulators now, and can't believe these prices from the Patoka collection. Pat collected when I did, and we bought and traded with each other. He was the smart one by keeping the collection going, dumb ass me sold all mine many years ago. Examples: I owned a green upside- down embossed E.C. & M. (this auction $24,000), 2 cobalt "Blobs" ($5,250), olive amber E.C. & M. ($3,250), cobalt Cal Elec. Works ($7,000)as well as other E.C.& M's, Cal. Elec. Works, C.E.W.'s, etc. Also, had many of the threadless types in this auction as well. Bottom line, I thought that the insulator hobby was petering out in the late 70's, so sold everything! Literally gave them away then, who'da thunk?

  2. Been there done that . I to collected insulators back in the 60's. Had cobalt Cal Electric as well as ec& m's in various colors And an emerald green one with a unuseual bottom.Got 300. for that one and 800, when I sold by blue cal elictric . My brother ted and I use to trade with a guy in Elko who liked crock ales and traded us aqua ec&m's one for one , we only took the near mint ones .Oh well,that life in the collecting game.

  3. Heck even the aqua ECM's are bringing a couple a hundred +. Remember the post about Circle Cutters (probably 400 known). I'll venture a guess that there are 2000+ aqua ECM's. 2 per pole, 600 miles from Sac. to Promontory. Plus all the feeder lines, so on... are you kidding me. Early diggers used to walk the line in N. Utah in the 1960's and pick them up by the gunny sack full. It's all about what's hot... ecm's are hot! unusal colors are on fire!

  4. A good portion of the information regarding the fake EC&Ms, etc., can be found in the National Insulator Association's Fall 2003 newsletter. Scroll down to the First Past President's report, then scroll further down for pics of the molds.

  5. In 1983 I dug an extra tall deep yellow green E C & M with millions of bubbles with my friend Danny, a real King Kong insulator. After researching it's value I sold it to Glenn Y for what was considered a big price at the time, $600. That very same insulator sold last year for a little over 17k. Talk about a great investment, that definitely was one.

    Insulators and certain categories of bottles especially the historical flask & sodas in many cases have flat out skyrocketed in price in the last 5 years. Has anyone checked out the latest Heckler auctions estimates on some of the better historicals? Flask that sold in the 5k range only a few years ago are now in many cases going for triple that. I still say and always have said better Western bottles are very under rated, a real bargain and a great investment. With many folks no longer seeking traditional investments paying next to nothing and in many cases loosing money, it's only a matter of time before we'll start seeing better Western bottles start to get the attention & recognition they deserve.

  6. Thank you IXL for the heads up on the ECMs -- National Insulator newsletter. Great stuff! It is always a herculean effort to get these a-holes put away, even after you catch them basically in the act!
    I spoke with a collector that was involved with some of the forensic investigation on these scum bags. Even to the point of finding the exact tree that was used in a staged "finding" of a phony sierra block insulator. As part of the criminal investigation the tree was removed as evidence? (tree ring dated) and found to be only 80 years old. About 50 years too new to have been used for such an insulator. Amazing stuff.

  7. I remember seeing some of these fakes for the first time at the Auburn bottle show in the lower building around 2001. They looked to good to be true and in odd colors I'd never seen before. To me that was the give away and also the fact that there was no wear in the wire grooves. The guy had bright sky blue, cotton candy pink, clear, black glass and even a puce one. The story I got was that they were all found by a backhoe operator in the old Rail Road yard near Old Town Sacramento while trenching deep for a pipe line.

  8. Nice expensive paper-weights ! Would be cool to find some and trade them in for some good Western bottles though.......

  9. Yeah, the outcome on the tree ring dating was exactly what we expected. Actually, there were several staged "discoveries". They saved the best one for last. Two of the fake EC&Ms suddenly appeared on pins in the rafters of an old outbuilding on the grounds of the Sacramento Train Depot. One had a thick strand of dusty cobwebs carefully placed on the dome, draping down the sides--completely bogus looking! After the bust, both culprits left the state. Last I heard the son moved to Oregon and the father moved to Kansas.

    As for EC&M prices, from the time I entered the insulator hobby in the mid 80's they've always been on an upward climb. Most of the productive lines were hit hard many years in the past by collectors and rarely do you now hear of a new colored EC&M find from the field. We bottle diggers are about the only source for an occasional new find, so I think it is finally becoming a supply and demand issue, thus spurring prices upward at a much faster pace. The insulator hobby as a whole has seen several records broken in the last two years. I know firsthand of a recent private deal that involved the sale of an insulator for $65K, which I believe is the current standing record.

    I have to say, just like the Western bottles from the same era, there's something about that 1870's Western insulator glass that gets the heart pumpin'. Crude and colorful--a combination that's tough to beat!


  11. Pat "took" me and several other diggers who willingly let him have the insulators we dug. Sometimes his "fair" prices weren't really so, but we still liked the guy tremendously. His knowledge base concerning these things was extensive, yet the silly colored "EC&Ms" caused him to forget all of that. As soon as than these pieces of garbage appeared I knew that they were all wrong. I tried to warn Pat, but he knew better.

    I had spent weeks digging in the available parts of the project and there were absolutely ZERO EC&M insulators dug there. They got Pat hook, line and sinker.


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