Monday, June 17, 2024

Historic Floats from Watson Glass Fishing Float Collection for sale

Glass floats-not representative of those for sale

Explore Lincoln City and the North Lincoln County Historical Museum (NLCHM) announced the opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts to acquire antique glass fishing floats from the James L. Watson Glass Fishing Float Collection as a fundraiser for NLCHM will take place on Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, 2024, located in Lincoln City’s Historic Taft District.

James L. Watson (1944-2002) was one of the world’s leading collectors of Japanese glass fishing floats, amassing an extensive collection throughout his lifetime. His dream was to one day have his collection displayed in a museum, sharing the beauty and history of these unique objects with the world. This dream became a reality in 2023, when Mrs. Diana Watson generously donated the most significant pieces from Watson’s collection to NLCHM, ensuring that her husband’s legacy would live on.

At the time of donation, it was agreed with the Watson Foundation that a portion of the glass floats would be made available for sale, as a fundraiser for the museum. All proceeds will go toward continuing Jim Watson’s legacy at the museum by supporting operational expenses, and continuing NLCHM’s mission of providing the public with an educational resource dedicated to the preservation of North Lincoln County History.

The upcoming sale features only a portion of the Watson Collection’s approximately 350 antique floats, representing a wide variety of styles and sizes created by Japanese glassmakers in the early 20th century. Floats from the Watson Foundation’s donation that have been designated as “not for sale,” will be accessioned into the museum’s collection. These rare floats showcase the artistry and experimentation of the glassmakers at that time, who pushed the boundaries of form and function to create indispensable tools for the fishing industry.

“We are honored to be the permanent home for the James L. Watson Glass Fishing Float Collection and are excited to offer this rare opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts to own a piece of history,” said Christopher Melton, Executive Director of the North Lincoln County Historical Museum. “The extensive collection features rolling pins, balls, sausages, and float variations of all sizes. There will be a wide range of values available to give all levels of collectors a chance to purchase a glass float from the esteemed Watson Collection. All items will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.”

Watson found his first float walking on the beach near his home in Hawaii — a large lavender float the size of a basketball. Jim’s found his calling: to seek out the rarest glass fishing floats he could find, and share their beauty and history with the world. Jim later moved from Hawaii to Neskowin, where he continued to beachcomb along Oregon’s sandy beaches, an historical hotspot for Japanese floats. Throughout his life, he traveled extensively to Japan where he befriended locals, fishermen, glass makers, and collectors. He also gave talks and presentations, teaching people about the history of these unique objects, which functioned as both important tools and exquisite pieces of art. His collection represents the widely different styles and methods that makers experimented with to create floats indispensable to historic fishing industries.

Glass fishing floats have a rich history dating back to 1844 when Christopher Faye in Norway invented them, revolutionizing the fishing industry. Japanese glassmakers began creating their own unique styles around 1900, and due to ocean currents, the oldest and rarest floats often washed ashore on the beaches of Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii.

Information about the sale of the historic glass floats:

Dates: May 31 – June 1, 2024

Where: North Lincoln County Historical Museum

4907 Oregon Coast Hwy, Lincoln City, OR 97367

Sale Hours: 11AM – 4PM

Museum Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 11AM – 4PM

Phone: (541) 996-6614

News Release
News Release
This information was provided for dissemination to our readers via an outside agency.


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