We hand-pick antiques for our readers and may earn a small commission if you buy something featured on this page.
Antique milk glass is a popular collectible dating from the late 1800s through the 1980s. Beginner collectors gravitate to milk glass because it’s beautiful, is relatively easy to find, and is very affordable. Milk glass value ranges from next to nothing to a few hundred dollars for a quality piece or set.
If you want to know more about milk glass prices or determine the value of milk glass in your collection, let this price guide serve as a starting point.
Identifying Milk Glass
Companies created milk glass during the Victorian era as an inexpensive alternative to fine china. The opaque white glass used in milk glass is thicker and less costly to produce because it is made from glass, not porcelain.
Milk Glass Qualities
- Milk glass is primarily white. However, milk glass comes in other colors too. Common colors include soft jade, pale pink, powder blue, and black.
- Vintage milk glass is opaque. The transparency of the glass is the main difference between milk glass and other collectible glassware (like depression glass or carnival glass).
- Companies produced milk glass from the late 1800s through the 1980s. However, milk glass wasn’t popular this entire time. The collectible went out of favor in the 1930s for decades. Be aware that there are companies producing reproductions today.
- White dinnerware and dishes are usually not considered milk glass. Glassmakers were more apt to create solo home decor items like vases, salt shakers, or candy dishes. Again, large sets of milk glass dishes were uncommon. Manufacturers made most sets of china with porcelain or ceramic instead of glass. In the early 1900s, many household features like doorknobs and lampshades were made using milk glass.
There are several common milk glass manufacturers. These companies have produced milk glass on a large scale with varying qualities and values.
What is Milk Glass Worth?
The milk glass market is continuously evolving based on demand. However, these items are not unusually rare, so they are easy to find at garage sales, flea markets, and antique malls.
You can generally find milk glass anywhere from $5 to $30 for a single piece. Of course, some pieces might fetch dramatically more, but this value depends on several factors.
Appraising Milk Glass
Look at the following characteristics when assessing a piece of milk glass.
- The age. Early milk glass examples from the late 1800s and early 1900s are considerably rarer than milk glass from the 1960s.
- The quality. Be aware that companies are producing milk glass today. Look at the color and texture to determine if a piece is old. Old milk glass tends to be smoother than new, rough milk glass. Also, try to find the manufacturer if possible. For example, Avon produced large quantities of milk glass that are not worth a lot of money.
- The condition. Avoid pieces with apparent chips or cracks. Staining and worn detailing in decorative enameling or paint can lower the value.
- The design. Some Victorian designs or milk glass examples with decorative enameling can sell for more money. When the farmhouse style regained popularity, some more simple, streamlined pieces were worth more money. Designs vary depending on the era.