My collection of L.E. Smith caramel glass cake stands from the Martha by Mail catalog is finally complete. It took quite a while to gather each of these pieces, because I didn't have the luxury of buying them from the catalog when it was in business. A vendor here with a set, a vendor there with one, and then the keen eye of a friend of mine (thank you Daniel!) who thought the cake stand may or may not have been a Martha by Mail piece. That is how I acquired these cake stands.
This exclusive shade of slag glass was commissioned by Martha Stewart for her catalog business (Martha by Mail) in the late 1990s. I've written a detailed post about this collection before. You can read about it by clicking here.
The plain round cake stands for the catalog come in four sizes. The smallest measures 6" in diameter and the largest measures 12" in diameter. The ones in between measure 8" and 10" in diameter.
I had no idea that the 6" cake stand existed in this color until my friend sent me a photo of it, and until I held it in my hand. The stand is perfect for a pair of donuts or even some bagels to have on any given morning.
The scalloped cake stand measures approximately 11" in diameter. If you notice, the scalloped cake stand's hue is slightly lighter than the plain round ones.
What's important to know is that the scalloped cake stands in the Martha by Mail line were not marked or stamped, while the plain rounds ones were. Don't you just love the rich caramel color and the whorls of creams found throughout the glass?
As you can see, this cake stand is richly detailed underneath, and yet, there is no Martha by Mail stamp on it.
The plain round ones are stamped though. Carefully flip your plain round cake stands and look for this.
When my friend Daniel in Texas discovered this cake stand, he told me that it wasn't marked. As soon as it arrived at my home, I checked. Sure enough I found evidence that there had once been a stamp underneath the base. It, however, had been filed down.
When the Martha by Mail catalog was transitioning into The Catalog for Living, as a result of the founder's personal (not business!) legal dilemma, the publicly traded company wanted to diminish the Martha Stewart name. To my mind, and others will agree, this was a big mistake. Martha was always the brand and always will be.
It's my understanding that many vendors thought it would be wise to file down the Martha by Mail stamp from the bases of their cake stands in order to make them marketable at the time. It's almost as if they wanted to erase history. Again, a big mistake.
The largest of my caramel glass cake stands looks like this where the stamp was filed down. It's ghastly, but it is something that cannot be undone.
If you are ever shopping online or at an antique store and come across a cake stand that you think is a Martha by Mail one and you notice this upon flipping it over, then you know it is a genuine piece.
It is my opinion as a collector that this DOES NOT take away from the value of the piece, nor does it take from the beauty of it.
The more you know, the better off you are as a buyer.
I treated myself to a couple of donuts this weekend to celebrate this final acquisition. A chocolate frosted donut and a cup of strong coffee was all I needed to start my day.
I want to thank my friend Daniel for being so kind and generous with this small cake stand. Without his help I would not have completed the collection.
May you all have a healthy end of summer and may better days come our way.