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From glass goldfish to crystal cats, glass animal figurines tell their own tale of popular culture and
craftsmanship. Animals depicted as small glass objects and figurines have been celebrated for centuries and
are some of the most coveted glass collectibles on the auction market today.
Though some glass animal figurines survive from the ancient world, it was not until the great advances
in glassmaking techniques around the 15th century that allowed a true foundation for the form. As great
glassmakers across Europe forayed into increasingly elaborate glassware, they also ventured into small
figurines to cater to those who wished for a more petite, and perhaps less expensive, alternative.
Many of the great 20th-century glass companies from Lalique to Swarovski continue with this trend by
creating entire lines of small glass collectibles and figurines. It is this continuity, combined with expert
craftsmanship, that allows the field of glass animal figurines to still captivate collectors young and old
One of the oldest surviving examples of a glass figurine dates to the 18th dynasty of ancient
Egypt. Depicting what is most likely a tilapia, this diminutive fish doubled as a small flask and currently
lives in London's British Museum
Glass animal figurines play a prominent role in Tennessee Williams' iconic play "The Glass
Menagerie," which debuted in 1944 in Chicago
A group of Steuben glass animal figurines set a record price at a Christie's New York auction in 2004.
Totaling 15 pieces, including an elephant more than seven inches high, the collection sold for