03/16/12 Marble collector Annette Ray of Bourbon spoke to residents and guests at Miller’s Senior Living Community on Tuesday afternoon. Ray first became interested in marbles when she happened to swallow one as a child. She has been collecting marbles for approximately twenty years.

Ray believes people collect items for a variety of different reasons.  Some may collect marbles because of the age or the value. But when she decides to purchase a certain marble it is usually because of the color.  She loves the round shape of marbles and she thinks marbles are fun, beautiful but, most of all she loves the colors.

Ray’s presentation was a hands – on learning experience. She told about the different types, names and characteristics of the marbles as she passed them around.  The oldest known marbles are clay marbles followed by Benningtons; which are clay marbles with a glaze.

Marbles are one of the first toys known to man.  Marbles range in size from 1/4″ – 1 13/16″.  Anything larger than that are usually known as decorative, glass balls.  A good “shooter” in the United States would be 3/4 “; while outside the United States a “shooter” is 1″.  The different types of marbles in Ray’s collection include clay, Bennington, China, sulfide, Piltier, steelies, agate, slag, plaster, onion skin and fiber optic.

  Questions from the residents involved the value of a marble.   Ray explained that the value of a marble depends on many things.  You have to look at the condition of the marble, the color, the age, whether it is signed or not, etc.  She told about a marble convention she attended where she saw a sulfide marble with a number inside that was priced at $4,000.00.  However, she did not purchase it.

The residents enjoyed touching the marbles and reminiscing about playing with marbles when they were kids.  Some still have marbles left from their childhood.  Resident Verda Karn left the discussion and returned with a jar of marbles that she keeps in her apartment.  Ray enjoyed looking through Karn’s marbles and explaining the different types that were in her jar.  Karn shared a poem about marbles with the group which was a perfect ending to the presentation.

Photo Caption # 1:  Annette Ray explains about sulfate marbles as Helen Lukenbill and Vonna Rettinger listen.

Photo caption # 2: Annette Ray enjoys looking at Verda Karn’s jar of marbles.