Antique Milk Glass Basket Identification and Value Guide

Aptly named for its translucent—and sometimes, opaque—white ivory hue, antique milk glass is one of the most popular items for collectors. Some of the factors that make antique milk glass basket attractive to collectors include the fact it is easy to find, affordable, and very attractive.

On average, the cost of antique milk glass baskets sits between $30 and $500. When it comes to vintage milk glass, the value tends to reduce and can be as low as $10.

However, the big question that bothers collectors is how to separate the genuine milk glass from the reproduced versions. Also, collectors serious about only getting pieces at least 100 years old want to know how they can differentiate antique milk glass baskets from vintage versions.

In this detailed guide, we will show you how to identify milk glass baskets. What’s more, you will learn how to correctly estimate the price of an antique milk glass basket so you do not get overcharged when buying or underpaid when selling.

Antique Milk Glass Basket Identifications: 8 Tips That Work Every Time

Dating back to the Victorian era, antique milk glass took over from porcelain and fine china materials because of its affordability. Starting in the 1800s, the popularity of antique milk glass baskets run to the 1930s when carnival and depression glass became the new popular thing. In the 1950s and the 1960s, the popularity of milk glasses peaked again.

Irrespective of the time when the milk glass was manufactured, the items produced using this type of glass boasted several characteristics that made them stand out. A deeper look at these characteristics can help you separate antique milk glassware from reproductions and vintage versions.

1. Check the Opacity

Just like milk, milk glass baskets are largely opaque. If you hold an antique milk glass basket against the light, it will block most of the light. Depression glass, on the other hand, will allow most of the light to pass through.

2. Check the Color

Antique milk glass will be mostly white—that is, classic, pure white. It is an attractive neutral white that goes very easily with different types of utensils.

However, what new milk glass collectors may not know is that milk glass was also available in several other colors, including:

  • Soft pink
  • Robin’s egg blue
  • Lovely pale green
  • Sometimes, black

In milk glass, these shades are usually opaque, meaning that the glass will not allow light to pass through. It is important to note that with antique milk glass, the color is part of the glass itself—this means that it is not painted on the glass.

3. Check the Style

Manufacturers did not use milk glass for producing full sets of dishes. Instead, this type of glass was used to produce decorative items and serving pieces.

The decorative pieces included:  

  • Dresser trinkets
  • Vases

The serving pieces included:

  • Pitchers
  • Covered dishes  
  • Cake stands
  • Dessert dishes
  • Teacups
  • Punch bowls

4. Check the Edges

The oldest milk glass baskets utilized iridized salt as one of the raw materials. These types of glassware show opalescence and a delicate, fiery glow that appears on the edges of the pieces. This fiery glow appears when you hold the piece against the light.

The earliest examples of antique milk glass feature a very distinctive look and are impossible to reproduce. A collector with enough experience can quickly distinguish between an antique milk glass basket manufactured in 1850 from a vintage one produced 100 years later in 1950.

5. Check the Antique Milk Glass Pattern

Feel the raised pattern on the outside of your antique piece. The earliest antique milk glass baskets were generally pressed into molds.

The pressing gave their outsides an ornate pattern featuring lots of detail and texture. The pattern does not feature sharp edges—instead, it features a rounded and smooth feel.

6. Check for Mold Lines

Sharp seams or mold lines are generally an indicator of the oldest versions of antique milk glass baskets. These were produced between the mid-19th century and the early 20th century.  This age of the milk glass is generally the most sought after by collectors—in most cases, it will also be the most valuable.

Generally, the seams or mold lines will not be in the middle of a pattern. Instead, they will be sitting on a smooth part of an exterior part of the glass basket.

7. Utilize Milk Glass Catalogs

Many antique milk glass catalogs are available. These usually showcase the images of the original antique milk glass pieces, often taken from a variety of angles.

Antique collector’s guides may also give you a good idea of the value and age of a specific piece. You can find a large number of these guides at the local library. The National Milk Glass Collectors Society owns photo galleries that are dedicated to different manufacturers as well as collectible and rare antique pieces.

8. Talk to an Expert

One of the best ways of identifying antique milk glass baskets is by talking to professionals. Find someone who has worked at an auction house or local antique store—they should help you find someone reliable who can appraise your antique milk glass basket.

You may also want to search online for a milk glass expert who could be willing to check your piece remotely. This professional could check the piece over a video call or they could request images.

It is, however, worth noting that a professional appraisal will cost you money. The value of a professional appraisal varies depending on the reputation, skill, and expertise of the appraiser—for this reason, you will need to be careful to avoid paying more money for the appraisal than what the piece is worth.

Factors That Affect the Value of Your Antique Milk Glass Basket

While most of the pieces of antique milk glass baskets will sell for $10 – $30, some pieces can be worth hundreds of dollars. Below, we will look at the factors that impact the total price of antique milk glass baskets:


Compared to vintage milk glass manufactured in the 1960s, antique pieces produced before the 1920s are generally more valuable. Some of the highly-valued milk glass was made in the 19th century and has its origin in France.

American-manufactured milk glass made in the later years of the 1800s is also valuable. Figuring out whether your antique milk glass is old can be hard—below, we will look at several clues you can use:

  • Check the texture of the glass. Bumpy or rough milk glass is generally newer. Smooth pieces are generally older.
  • Check the markings. Most of the oldest antique milk glass baskets will have markings indicating the pattern number or manufacturer. Some will even carry a patent date.
  • Check for a “ring of fire.”If you hold an old antique milk glass up to a source of light, you should see subtle colors. This is a result of the use of iridized salts in the production of milk glass before the 1960s.


Several different manufacturers were involved in the production of antique milk glass through the years. A lot of these manufacturers added their marks to the pieces they produced.

To see if your piece has maker’s marks, turn it upside down and check its bottom—in most cases, you should find the mark near the center. Examine the mark carefully and then proceed to compare it to the library of marks that sit at the 20th Century Glass.

Some of the oldest manufacturers—and the ones boasting the most costly pieces today—include:

  • Bryce Brothers
  • Atterbury & Company
  • Gillinder & Sons
  • New England Glass Company


Antique milk glass baskets featuring cracks and chips are generally worth less compared to pieces that are in ideal condition. Staining, marring, or yellowing of the object can make the milk glass less attractive—this can lower its value.


Defined, the term provenance refers to the story behind your antique milk glass—this story, however, should be solid enough to set the antique piece apart. For example, if your piece was owned by a renowned person at some point, then it will be worth much more compared to a similar piece owned by a regular person.

When purchasing an antique milk glass that features a high price because it has an unusual provenance, always demand a certificate of authenticity. This is an official certificate stating that the milk glass you are receiving is just as it has been advertised.


The value of your antique milk glass will depend on how much collectors want what you have in your hands—this, however, can change from one country to the other. For example, one antique milk glass piece may be extremely rare and collectible in the UK, driving the cost up. The same piece may be too common in the United States, lowering the price.

It is, however, worth noting that some pieces boast hand-painted details. These can make them desirable in all locations.


Pieces that were produced in smaller amounts are rarer today compared to pieces that were produced in millions. In most cases, the rarer the piece, the higher the cost.

10 Most Valuable Vintage and Antique Milk Glass Baskets

It is worth noting that most of the milk glass baskets currently available in the market were manufactured after 1950. We only found a few antique milk glass baskets—below, we have combined both vintage and antique milk glass baskets.

Cost (USD)
Sowerby Pressed Milk Glass Basket
Fenton Silver Crest Milk Glass Basket
Vintage Fenton Hobnail Ruffled Basket  
Vintage Indiana Milk Glass Basket
Fenton Blue Milk Glass Basket
Vintage Fenton Hand-Painted Milk Glass
Vintage Westmoreland Milk Glass Grape Basket
Victorian Blue Milk Glass Basket
Small Westmoreland Milk Glass Grapes Basket
Duncan Miller Milk Glass Candy Dish Basket

1. Sowerby Pressed Milk Glass Basket

Sowerby Pressed Milk Glass Basket
Source: ebay

This antique milk glass basket came out in 1877. Produced in the United Kingdom, this piece boasts Sowerby as the manufacturer.

The milk glass does not feature any signs of wear and tear. Currently listed on eBay for $173.73, this piece has already attracted the interest of 6 buyers.

2. Fenton Silver Crest Milk Glass Basket

Fenton Silver Crest Milk Glass Basket
Source: ebay

While the seller does not indicate when this piece was manufactured, they identify it as an antique. The piece is 11 inches high and has a length of 7 inches and a width of 6 inches.

While the basket part is made of milk glass, the manufacturer—Fenton—decided to use a different glass version on the handle. The handle is clear unlike the rest of the body. Currently listed on eBay, you can get this piece at $129.99.

3. Vintage Fenton Hobnail Ruffled Basket  

Vintage Fenton Hobnail Ruffled Basket  
Source: ebay

Dating back to the second half of the 20th century, this piece does not fit in the antique category—it rather fits in the vintage category. The milk glass basket boasts a glossy finish and a ruffled design.

Produced by the Fenton brand and fitting in the Hobnail style, the seller notes that this piece was handmade. Currently listed on eBay, you can get this basket for $99.99.

4. Vintage Indiana Milk Glass Basket

Vintage Indiana Milk Glass Basket
Source: ebay

Produced by the Indiana Glass Company, this piece has not yet hit the 100-year-old mark—the seller notes that it was manufactured in the 1970s. For this reason, it fits in the vintage category.

This piece boasts a height of 11.25 inches and is 3.25 wide. Weighing 2 to 3 pounds, it does not feature signs of damage. The seller is currently selling the piece on eBay for $79.99.

5. Fenton Blue Milk Glass Basket

Fenton Blue Milk Glass Basket
Source: ebay

If you are interested in something that looks different, this might work. Blue in color, this vintage Fenton milk glass basket sets itself apart from all the white pieces Fenton produced over the years.

Fenton utilized the mid-century modern style to create this piece that dates back to 1981. Currently listed on eBay, you can get this basket for only $62.95.

6. Vintage Fenton Hand-Painted Milk Glass

Vintage Fenton Hand-Painted Milk Glass
Source: ebay

If you enjoy art, this piece might be ideal. The vintage milk glass basket boasts a hand-painted flower—artist Donna R is behind the impressive painting.

The basket itself is designed to resemble the petals on a flower bud—this makes it stand out in the eyes of art collectors. Currently listed on eBay, you can get this piece for only $61.50.

7. Vintage Westmoreland Milk Glass Grape Basket

Vintage Westmoreland Milk Glass Grape Basket
Source: ebay

An elegant piece from Westmoreland, this vintage piece boasts a height of 11 inches, a width of 4 inches, and a length of 8 inches. Fitting in the paneled grape product line, this piece has existed for more than 3 decades.

The seller, however, notes that it has very minimal signs of cosmetic wear. The piece is currently selling on eBay for $48.  

8. Victorian Blue Milk Glass Basket

Victorian Blue Milk Glass Basket
Source: ebay

Produced by Sowerby, this piece has its origin in England. While the seller cannot trace the piece back to its exact manufacture year, they note that this piece came out in the Victorian era.

The first blue antique milk glass basket on this list, this piece boasts an oval shape and comes with its lid. This piece is currently selling on eBay for $39.99.

9. Small Westmoreland Milk Glass Grapes Basket

Small Westmoreland Milk Glass Grapes Basket
Source: ebay

If your goal is to get something interesting for under $30, this piece might be ideal. This antique milk glass basket is currently selling at $29.66.

Featuring a unique design, this piece can be used for a variety of purposes, including as a grape and nut dish. The piece does not feature any cracks or chips—the seller notes that it is in a “like-new” condition.

10. Duncan Miller Milk Glass Candy Dish Basket

Duncan Miller Milk Glass Candy Dish Basket
Source: ebay

The last piece on this list, this antique milk glass basket was produced by Duncan Miller in the early 1900s. The piece boasts a height of 5.5 inches, a length of 7 inches, and a width of 4.75 inches.

Designed as a candy dish basket, this piece still boasts a perfect design that does not feature any signs of wear and tear. Currently listed on eBay, this piece is selling for $29.99.


Antique milk glass is one of the most searched collectibles. It is, however, very easy to see why this is the case—to begin with, these pieces are attractive, extremely easy to find, and are not too expensive.

This detailed guide looks at the process of identifying and valuing antique milk glass. Keep in mind that the most effective way of determining the exact and accurate value of antique milk glass is to work with a professional appraiser—however, with the tips in this guide, you should be able to avoid overpaying—or getting underpaid—for antique milk glass baskets.

We hope that this detailed guide did answer all the questions you had about antique milk glass baskets. If there is something you would like clarification on, be sure to let us know in the comments.

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