How do you acquire target balls?

I am often asked, "How do you acquire target balls?" My answer? Acquiring them is easy.

  1. Start collecting them around 1970, when few other people knew what they were, or cared.
  2. Spend several hours a day on the computer; check eBay of course, but signing up for access to auction house listings here and in England is a must. (And in other countries if you speak the language.)
  3. Be in contact with collectors/dealers across the country, in England, France, Germany, Sweden, Australia, etc.
  4. Attend antique glass shows all across the country and in England.
  5. Go to major antiques markets across the country, in England, France. (Travel thousands of miles and spend thousands of dollars in motels, gas, food, admissions, etc.)
  6. At all the shows and markets, wear a sweatshirt emblazoned with target balls and your name. (On rare occasion, someone will say: "I have one of those." However, nine times out of 10, they don't.)
  7. Advertise monthly, for years, in antique glass magazines here and in England, and in special programs at major antique glass shows.
  8. When you are offered these empty pieces of glass — they usually weigh less than two ounces — pay more for them than you would for pure gold. Pay for one ball more than you've ever paid for an automobile. Pay as much for one ball as your first home cost, 35 years ago (and it was a lovely home).
  9. Be willing to pay so much for these empty pieces of glass that your non-collecting friends and relatives will believe you to be certifiably crazy. And ...

In no time you'll have a nice collection!

Where do you find target balls?

My answer? Beats me!

They show up where and when they want to. In a drawer or on the window sill of an old home; in a dusty box in the attic; in a dank cellar; in a barn; in a well; eight to 10-feet down in a 125-year old privy; on the top of the ground in a briar patch; in a box of vintage Christmas tree ornaments; in a lake adjacent to a long-abandoned shooting club; in a little box on the top shelf on the third day of a three-day garage sale in Buffalo*; on eBay, but sometimes advertised as a fire grenade, a witch ball or lightening rod ball; in an e-mail sent by a stranger who finds your name on the Internet.

All the above are true.

*I once gave a woman 40 one-hundred dollar bills for a ball she purchased in a Buffalo garage sale — for $1.

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