Collector Marbles: A Basic Guide to Types and Values

Some handmade collector marbles are small works of art that can command big prices.

Updated July 31, 2020
Old Colorful Marbles in a Glass Jar

You don't have to be a kid to get super excited when you see a gorgeous marble in an antique shop or online. There's so much beauty and magic in the intricate glass designs, but figuring out the different types and what they're worth can be a bit confusing. This guide for collector marbles gives you the various types of marbles and their values.

You can use the guide to help you determine which marbles you wish to collect and which marbles are worth money - sometimes lots of money. All that knowledge lets you collect with confidence and enjoy the beauty of these incredible glass creations.

Types of Handmade Glass Collector Marbles

As you browse the wares at stores and online shops, you'll notice that handmade collector marbles are found in a wide range of types and designs. Not all handmade marbles are glass, since the most ancient marbles were made of clay. However, glass designs are among the most collectible and beautiful. A few of the vast types of handmade glass marbles include swirls, end of days, banded opaques, clambroths, Indians, lutzes, sulphides, and moonies.

Glass marble on textured background

Some types of marbles have subtypes that are coveted by collectors and amazing to behold. There are many types of swirl marbles, for example. Each marble design has specific attributes that define it and make it a desirable collectible.

Solid Core Swirl

A core swirl marble features inner swirls of color within a base colored marble. The different colored canes are twisted to create the swirls.

The solid core swirl marble has a clear base, but the spacing of the one-colored or several-colored bands/strands is closely packed together. You can't see any clear spaces within the core.

How to Determine Value of Solid Core Swirls

Most solid core swirls have outer layers of bands/strands. If you have a naked (without the outer layer) solid core swirl marble, or if the base is colored, you possess a rare marble.

Many vintage solid core swirl marbles sell in the range of $15 to $50. Some other factors that make them more valuable include a larger size (like a shooter marble), pristine condition, and rare colors. For instance, a large antique solid core swirl with a rare white core and yellow swirls sold for over $200 in 2022.

Divided Ribbon Core Swirls

The divided ribbon core swirl is formed by three, sometimes more, separate bands. The bands form a core with clear spaces in between each band. These swirls feature an outer layer of bands/strands.

How to Determine Divided Ribbon Core Swirl Marble Value

There are a few things that determine the value of a divided ribbon core swirl marble. The better the outer bands duplicate core spaces, the more prized the marble is. Five to six bands are rarer than a three- to four-banded core.

Once again, size and condition are also important, as are rare colors. Most divided ribbon core swirl marbles sell for about $10 to $40, but some are much more valuable. For example, a large divided four-ribbon core marble sold for around $65 due to its size, condition, and number of bands.

Latticinio Core Swirls

Colored glass marbles of varying designs

Like the name implies, this marble design features a lattice-shaped core. The most common lattice color is white, although rarer latticinio marbles are orange, yellow, and green with other bands/strands. An excellent condition white lattice marble sells for around $10 to $40. A yellow latticino swirl usually sells for more, sometimes around $25 to $60.

How to Determine Value of Latticinio Core Swirl Marble

In addition to the color of the lattice, there are a number of factors that can affect this type of vintage marble's value. The direction of the swirl is one of them. One of the rarest latticinio core swirl marbles is a left-hand twist.

If you have a latticinio core swirl marble featuring a red or blue core, then you have the rarest of all designs and a higher valued marble. Rarer specimens feature four and five layers of swirls. One with a red and blue stripes and white lattice core sold for over $160.

Ribbon Core Swirls

Ribbon core swirl marbles feature wide swirls with the core ribbon created by several strands of one color, although some may feature several colors. The center color band is typically flat.

Evaluating Ribbon Core Swirl Marbles

The ribbon core swirl can feature outer ribbon swirls or be naked (no outer ribbon swirls). The most common marbles feature a double ribbon core, while a single ribbon core is rarer.

Other factors affecting value include the size, color combination, and condition. Most ribbon core swirls sell for between $5 and $25, but some special ones can fetch more. For instance, a ribbon core swirl with a rare pink and white color combination sold for almost $200.

Coreless or Banded Swirls

Young woman holding glass marbles in cupped hands

A coreless or banded swirl marble features outer strands/bands of swirls. The core doesn't have any swirls. The marble base is usually clear, green, or blue.

Value of Coreless or Banded Swirls

The swirls are usually different colors, and the more colors used for the swirls, the more valuable the marble is. Marbles that feature no spaces between the colors are the most prized as collectibles.

  • Joseph's Coat is a pattern that features bands around a clear or colored base with thin swirls tightly placed with no space between them. Mint condition marbles sell for as much as $200, and an average specimen sold for around $60.
  • Gooseberry Swirl is another pattern that collectors love. The base glass is usually amber colored and features clear glass swirls equally spaced to white subsurface bands. The rarer base glass colors are green, blue, or clear. They tend to sell for about $10 to $30.
  • Peppermint Swirl features subsurface strands/bands of two opaque/white wide bands with two to three intermittent pink stripes that alternate with blue stripes. The blue stripes are usually thinner, but they can be wide. A mint condition Peppermint Swirl marble sold for around $150.

Banded Opaque Marbles

Opaque Marble

A banded opaque marble features an opaque base with a colored swirl. An opaque marble with multi-colored swirls is rare.

Clambroth, a Very Rare Marble

A clambroth is made of hard and soft glass and features an opaque base with swirls of eight to eighteen bands/strands equally spaced. This marble is a very rare find and can be worth some money. Most sell for between $20 to $60, but those with rare colors and lots of bands can be extremely valuable. A clambroth marble with white stripes on a black base sold for around $350.


The Indian marble is typically a black opaque base with colored bands/strands and mica flecks. A black opaque with colored bands sold for around $50. The swirls run from one pole to the other. The End of Day Indian is a rare type that features broken, stretched flecks. Most Indian marbles sell for under $50.


Lutz is finely ground copper flakes or goldstone that's used with a transparent clear base glass. If you find a lutz with a transparent colored base, you have a rare find.

  • Banded lutz marbles have a colored glass base with two sets of double bands featuring white opaque band/strands for edgings. If you find a marble with an opaque base glass, you've come upon a rare marble. A banded opaque lutz marble sold for around $270.
  • Onionskin lutz marbles feature lutz bands and often lutz flakes at the core. An onionskin lutz marble sold for around $125.
  • Ribbon lutz marbles feature lutz edging along a naked single or double ribbon core swirl. A transparent ribbon lutz marble with minimal wear sold for around $40.
  • Mist lutz is a clear transparent base marble with a transparent colored core. Lutz flakes form a layer below the marble surface, and it also has lutz flakes floating between the core and the layer. A very rare black mist lutz marble sold for around $325.

End of Day Marbles

The end of day marbles were made from the end of the day's leftover glass bits and pieces. These marbles weren't marketed and ended up as giveaways to the workers' children. Since these marbles were made from scraps, each one turned out to be unique. The base was either transparent or colored. It might have a core or be coreless. However, the core was simple flecks of different colored glass bits.

  • End of day clouds feature a transparent base with a colored base core or coreless and colored flecks. An end of day cloud marble sold for around $50.
  • End of day mist marbles have transparent/translucent bases and colored flecks with colored transparent bands encasing the entire marble. You'll need to keep a close watch for this type of marble to come up on auction and resell collector websites.
  • End of day paneled onionskin marbles feature two panels stretched and two panels of flecks. Marbles with less that four panels are rare. A paneled end of day onionskin marble that was very old and large sold for around $1,700.

Submarine, a Rare Marble

The submarine marble is a mix of several styles, such as flecks, panels, and other features. It always has a transparent base glass. If you find a submarine marble, you'll end up with a very rare marble. A translucent green submarine marble sold for around $25.


A sulphide marble features a transparent base with a figurine centered inside the marble. The figurines are often animals, humans (bust or full body), flowers, or other objects. The figurines were thought to be made of sulphur, but they're actually made from clay. Rare sulphides contain two figures and are known as "doubles." A vintage sulphide camel marble sold around $300.

Other Types of Handmade Glass Marbles

There are other types of handmade glass marbles that don't follow the same design rules. These include the following:

  • A clearie marble is made from one transparent color. A handmade clearie sold for around $5.
  • A mica marble is made from a transparent glass base and features mica flakes inside. A vintage mica marble sold for around $80.
  • An opaque marble is made from one opaque color. A Christensen opaque marble sold for around $180.

Akro Agate Company Marbles

Akro Agate Company created many marbles that are collectibles. These were made from opalescent glass that the company dubbed opals. Today, these collectibles are referred to as flinties and moonies. Other names include corkscrews, cats eye, popeye, brick, beach ball, and others. A rainbow corkscrew marble sold for around $18.


Aggies were marbles that are made from agate. It became a common name used for almost any type of stone marble. Many times, aggies were colored with mineral dyes to create a range of green, blue, black, gray, and yellow marbles. A banded carnelian aggie marble sold for around $19.

Bennington and China Marbles

While ancient Roman marbles were made of clay, later marble designs also used clay. Bennington marbles were salt-glazed clay marbles. The glaze created what are called little eyes (pits). A group of vintage Bennington clay marbles sold for around $34.

China marbles were made from dense white clay and were painted with colorful designs. Of the types of clay marbles, the china marbles are considered very collectible. A vintage china marble sold for about $13.


A popular must-have for any marble player was the steelie. These novelty marbles were ball bearings that were relegated to be used as marbles. They aren't especially valuable. A grouping of several vintage steelies sold for around $6.

What Marbles Are Worth Money?

As with any collectible, the trend for what's considered valuable depends on the rarity and demand of the marble. The marbles that are rare finds certainly will be worth more money.

History of Collector Marbles

The history of collector marbles goes back to ancient Rome. The popularity of marbles has been able to withstand the test of time.

Roman Empire Marbles

Hands Holding Flint Marbles

Collector marbles have been around in some form since the Roman Empire. Various Roman writers mention marbles throughout their works, and archaeological digs have uncovered early marbles made from clay and then baked in primitive ovens. These marbles often had markings to distinguish them as belonging to one person, and they were used in all types of games.

Antique Marbles From Germany

Throughout the next several hundred years, artisans fashioned marbles out of wood, stone, and other materials. These marbles had to be cut and molded by hand, which made them more expensive than most people could afford. In 1848, a German glassblower determined a way to make marbles out of glass with a more efficient method. He developed a tool, called a marble scissors, that would allow him to make marbles quickly so that they could be sold to the public.

Marbles From the United States

The United States became a hot marble market quickly, but that took a downturn when World War I ended German imports. American glassblowers stepped in to find a way to mass produce marbles. They developed machinery to do it, and manufacturers still use these types of machines to drop out marbles quickly.

Judging Collector Marbles

Collector marbles come in all sizes. Though the standard used in children's play is about one-half inch in diameter, marbles do come in many other sizes as well. Collecting marbles is about finding unique designs and rare availability. Several factors go into making this determination.


Marbles will be worth more money if they are completely rounded. For older marbles, the roundness indicates the amount of time an artisan put into making the toy. More time means a better shape and more value. With newer models, perfectly round marbles add to value. Because the marbles are machine made, they start out round but can get chipped over time.


Today's marbles are pretty basic. They're made of agate or glass and come in all colors and designs. There are thousands of marbles for each design produced. Marbles of yesteryear, though, are more unique. Collector marbles that are very rare will fetch a larger amount of money. Many of these marbles can be worth hundreds of dollars, with the rarest ones worth thousands.


Most marbles don't come in packaging, or they have basic netting bags. Others are sold in tins or boxes, and having these packages intact and with the marble increases the value of the item.

Deciding Which Collector Marbles You Wish to Collect

Once you begin to delve into the various types of collector marbles, you can decide which you wish to collect. You may wish to start out with a few prized marbles and augment your collection with more common designs.

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Collector Marbles: A Basic Guide to Types and Values