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    Diner plates and 1950s glasses

    I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but there’s something about having a cup of black coffee (no cream, please) in one of those heavy diner cups. The coffee seems to taste better, stays hot longer and is so soothing.

    I was at an auction a couple months ago, making my second round of the tables when my eyes settled on them: a set of white diner dishes with a green pattern around the edge. Four plates, four cups, seven saucers.


    They were just gorgeous. I had to have them so I could have my diner coffee-and-meal experience at home. I believe that I was the only bidder on the lot and got them at a dirt-cheap price.

    For me, they conjure up an image of a silver diner, long countertop from end to end, booths straddling the wall. Best of all: longtime waitresses who greet each customer by their first name and start the conversation with, “What can I get you, hon?”

    This wasn’t the first time I’d come across a diner lot. About a year ago, I managed to get a set of six individual cream pitchers. The ones that are no taller than about 2 1/2″ inches. They were all the same shape and plain white.


    Both the plates and the creamers looked to be from the 1950s. Just like the glass tumblers I picked up a few days ago. Again, I was making the rounds and came upon them. That’s why you have to get to auctions early and tour the tables a couple times. I always miss something the first or second time around.

    The set of eight glasses – 5 large and 3 medium – had silver and turquoise fish on the sides, and a ring of silver on the rims. On the bottom was a makers mark – a cursive L. They had an Art Deco look and feel. I got them for $5, along with a lilypad lamp thrown in.


    Once I got them home and Googled them, I found that these were made by the Libbey Glass Co. in the 1950s. The pattern is called Mediterranean or Atomic Fish.  According to a writer on the Wedgwood Tulsa blog who collects them, they came in several different shapes in boxes of eight, and sold for $3.50 to $5.50. The pattern was reissued with turquoise and black fish and no silver on the rim. (Note: The fish in my photos look black but they are actually silver.)

    Some of the descriptions I found via Google mentioned that the glasses are a mid-century Eames design. Charles and Ray Eames were known for creating quality affordable designs for average buyers. 

    dinerglasssoloOne site was selling a set of 12 reissues for $44. On another site, one original retro glass (this one had a flared top) was selling for $6. A set of six of the originals sold for $14 on Ebay.

    I won’t be selling them. They’re in my kitchen cabinet, right next to the diner dishes.

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