Wouldn’t it have been amazing to have had an encyclopedia just for marbles when you were a kid? We think so. So we’ve put this great guide together in our Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Marbles.
Marbles are magnificently nostalgic. They transport us back to a time when we were children. We had our favorite marbles and those we treasured a little less.
But in the end, it came down to the game and how you could acquire your next battle ball of brilliance?
Did you know, marbles are made from glass, wood, clay and many more materials. There are those treasured spheres of agate and there have even been marbles made of steel. These little beauties are made from all sorts of materials and they come in a wide variety of designs and colors.
The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Marbles
To the untrained eye, one marble often looks no different from the next.
So the first thing you will need to know is that there are actually two types of marbles, handmade and manufactured. But also, there are two primary categories for marbles.
There is the standard marble which is made at a ½ inch diameter in size. These are the smaller marbles you see on the Marbles playing field – the Circle. Often referred to as “ducks” or “mibs”.
These are the marbles players try to knock out of the ring.
Next, you have the large marble, or the “shooter” or “taw”.
This is generally sized at a ¾ inch diameter and is heavier, making them better for shooting.
Every player will have their prized taw ready for the ring. Whether it be a more decorative one or unique, or simply plain and ugly; as long as it gets the job done, this is what matters most.
The variety of designs available in marbles is endless. The materials used to make them will influence this but also the method of their creation. Many are machine-made, while some of the rarer ones to be found are handmade.
Types of Marbles
The first of the marbles to take note of are “Aggies”, or “Agates”. These are one of the best known of the Taws. They are also one of the most valuable and were produced in the US as well as in Germany.
They are made from ground Agate and dyed with various mineral dyes; typically green, blue, yellow and gray. A player always knew an Aggie when they saw them. They are a good weight and size and they make a great shooter.
In the marbles world, Immie stands for imitations. Don’t be fooled by their look alike characteristics of the Aggie. These are glass marbles with streaked colors to appear to be of the Agate family. And though they are imposters, they still have their value and their beauty.
Some would say that Alleys, the alabaster beauties recognized the world over are better still than even the Allies. However, if you spin your marbles, these are revered as a very good option. Anyone worth their salt either had an Alley or was on the lookout for one.
Alabaster is a soft stone related to actual marble and these marbles are very well-loved.
Next on our list with their brown and blue glazed finish, the Bennington.
Benningtons are easy to spot because they aren’t perfectly rounded as others were.
Where they touched another marble during the glazing process, a flat unglazed spot remained leaving them with their distinctive mark.
Another widely recognized type of marble is Cat’s Eyes. These clear marbles with their distinctive vanes feathered within are sure to be a part of any collection of playing marbles.
These mesmerizing orbs will take you to an alternate state of mind if you’re not careful. Watch out for their multi-colored spirals spinning beautifully from its poles. You may find yourself under its power.
End of Day
A very special marble is the End of Day. These are made from leftovers pieces of glass. They were gathered and heated to give them their color, then heated and rolled again over more pieces of junk glass. This creates a unique design. No two are alike.
One of the more psychedelic and beautiful marbles is the Onion Skin. This is another of the End of Day variety. With this marble, the colored flecks of glass are heated and stretched over the core. This gives it its Onion Skin appearance. Not to be confused with the Onionskin.
This particular marble has a more deliberate appearance to an onion and is not an End of Day marble. Rather it is handmade using two pontils rather than one.
The Onionskin is created by layering the glass to give it the onion effect and there are three types: speckled, segmented and single color. This is another prize if you have one.
These are rare and very sought after marbles. Clouds are handmade from clear glass with colored glass pieces floating frozen within.
This type of marble is another the collectors seek. It can be a clear or colored glass sphere with chips of mica suspended within. In bright light the mica sparkles and glitters.
The marbles are made of blue, amber, green, clear or rare red glass.
There is a group of small marbles known as Commies, or common marbles. They often appear as gray balls of clay.
Initially, they are painted bright colors, but after some time, the paint fades and wears away. Giving the marble a vintage look.
China marbles are glazed china orbs decorated with either crisscrossing lines or as a bull’s eye.
Plasters are non-glazed china marbles and decorated in the same fashion as Chinas, but dull in appearance.
Or the Bumbo is the name often attributed to any of the larger marbles.
Marbles smaller than a ½ diameter are referred to as Peewees.
The Most Expensive Marbles
The Lutz Marble. The Lutz, named after its creator, Nicholas Lutz in 1800 in Massachusetts, is the most sought after and valuable marbles. In 2018, an opaque Lutz Marble sold for $25,000.
The Lutz’s characteristic of gold-colored crystals and alternating colored bands ensure its beautiful appearance.
So there you have it—our Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Marbles.
Now you know your marbles. And you know some of them will cost a pretty penny or two.
So find that bag full of marbles you have stuffed away in storage and have a look. What treasures round and small might you find there?