The Joe Bonnefin Collection of Carnival Glass

Fieldings Auctioneers are delighted to announce that they have been instructed to handle the outstanding collection of rare Carnival Glass that was owned by the late Joe Bonnefin. Joe was an avid collector for more than 30 years and well known within the international Carnival Glass community. His collection includes exceptional and rare pieces, many not seen before on the UK market, giving a unique opportunity to acquire part of this rich history.


The Carnival Glass antiques market is currently undergoing a resurgence, with interest in the UK heightened by the Carnival Glass Society’s stunning exhibition of more than three hundred pieces of carnival glass at the Stourbridge Glass Museum. This exhibition has drawn interest from across the world and features some of the rarest and finest examples of this longstanding area of collecting.


What is Carnival Glass? For anyone new to carnival glass questions spring to mind – what is it? How when and where was it made? Why are there so many shapes, patterns and colours?


In its broadest sense, Carnival Glass is press moulded glass that was often hand finished to create different shapes, then iridised with metal salts to give an ‘oil on water’ effect, so that whatever the colour of the base glass, the surface reflects back a myriad of tones and hues.


However, behind this simple definition lies over a hundred years of glassmaking, spanning a range of design influences from the Aesthetic Movement and Art Nouveau through Art Deco to the current day.


Over 2,000 patterns have been identified, many featuring flowers, fruit, birds and the natural world, including animals and mythical themes. Others looked like lace or cut glass. Combined with over 60 different colours and a variety of shapes, it makes this glass fascinating to collect and interesting to learn about.


With many of its inspirations rooted in Stourbridge, carnival glass was first made in America during the early 1900s and sold with enticing names such as Iridill, Iris (the Greek Word for Rainbow), and Venetian; aimed at transporting the buyer to faraway places as they purchased these iridescent luxuries for their home. The craze for carnival glass soon spread worldwide and by the 1920s and 30s it was being made in Europe, Australia and other countries – Joe’s collection encompassing this eclectic mix.


Joe Bonnefin’s Legacy. Joe’s collection is offered on behalf of his family who share their memories of their late father

For as long as I can remember Dad had always been an avid collector.   His collections ranged from Goss China in the 70’s to Coins and Michael Angelo medals later in the 80s.  However, his passion for Carnival Glass didn’t begin until the mid 90’s with purchases of a few small items from local antique shops to begin with, very soon both Mum and Dad were travelling all over the Country to acquire ‘ that special piece’.

The admiration for the glass was often shared by Mum who particularly liked any blue and green hues,  although it was Dad’s commitment to learn about the different makers, designs and colours, together with his desire to own more and more pieces that grew the collection to the size it is today.  The pieces he collected were all equally important to him and he loved nothing more than displaying and talking about it to anyone that visited his home and took an interestThe pieces before you are among some of his most prized possessions and deemed highly sought after by specialist collectors.’

Angela Carr


The collection will be offered in our September Fine Art sale on Friday the 22nd of September with 87 lots from number 759 through to 844. Estimates range from a modest entry level £30 through to £800.


The collection will be in view on Tuesday the 19th and Wednesday the 20th of September and for members of the Carnival Glass Society and any other interested buyers there will be an additional private view on the evening of Wednesday the 20th  between 4-00pm and 6-00pm with a talk from Steve and Trudy Auty of the Carnival Glass Society on some of the key pieces within the collection.


Refreshments will be available and the doors are open to anyone interested in hearing more about this wonderful area of collecting and meeting fellow enthusiasts.


For further information, sale details or images please contact – Will Farmer – Fieldings Auctioneers Ltd


Tel – 01384 444140

Email – will@fieldingsauctioneers Ltd

Posted on 11 September 2023 in: What's new

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