The Stamp and Coin Place Blog: connecting the past and present of stamp and coin collecting, and looking to the future.

Gems of the Ocean: Collecting Glass Fishing Floats

Lovers of the sea or fishing will enjoy these items. The stunning glass balls come in shades of sea green and blue and make excellent collectors’ items, whether they’re being collected for the sake of beach combing or for decorating. They’re wonderful in displays of the sea-centric type.

Though the floats are often associated with Japan, they got their start in a different country. Norway started producing them around 1840.

The primary use of these glass fishing floats was to float groups of fishnets in the ocean. Even to this day, beachcombers find glass balls that float on shore from way back when fisherman set them out to sea. Imagine finding a glass fishing ball from the 19th century that floated on shore: you would be holding a piece of fishing history in your hands!

Via the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Via the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: two large glass fishing floats.

Japanese fishermen started making glass floats in the early 20th century. Japan’s close proximity to the sea and its large fishing industry allowed for extensive production of the glass floats.

Soon, most any country with a fishing industry had replaced their wood or cork floats with glass.

Want to collect your own glass fishing floats? Start with this basic question: What makes a float authentic? Many replicas have been created thanks to these beauties’ popularity, but they’ve never made it to the sea. (Source)

Look for bubbles. If the glass doesn’t have bubbles, it’s likely fake.

Also, check for wear. If the float looks new without any wear, it’s unlikely it has seen a fishing boat before.

Plus, most fishing floats will have a uniform shape.

Do you collect glass fishing floats? Do you go beach combing for them? Let us know in the comments!

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