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X. EXCEPTIONAL or RARE Examples


This page will be used to highlight the very best, most spectacular, most unusual examples of Imperial Free Hand (and a few rare Lead Lustres) 
found on this website.




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Free Hand 
Undocumented  Number




Blue Drag Loop Decor
(using Lily Pad technique)
Pale Blue or Clear Satin Lustre
11.25" Tall




Collection 
Wayne & Pamela Balash



 
  

 

 


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Collection 
Wayne & Pamela Balash
 
Free Hand 
Undocumented  Number


Lily Pad & Vine Decor
Heavy Orange Lustre
7.5" Tall


Unusual Clear Base Glass








  

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Free Hand 
Undocumented  Number



Red Leaf & Vine Decor
Applied Blue Rim - S
calloped Top  
8" Tall



Collection 
Wayne & Pamela Balash


Exquisite & Rare
  


 

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                  Former Collection
                  Richard & Mary Ann Krauss
                  
Jeffrey S. Evans & Assoc.




Free Hand Number Unknown
 

Clear Base Glass

Yellow-Green Adventurine

Drag Loops & Applied Foot

Stretched / Crizzled Rim

Iridized

8.25" H


 

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Former Collection
 Richard & Mary Ann Krauss

 Jeffrey S. Evans & Assoc.




FH 241


Special Lot #1986 

Opal Base Glass 

Iridized 
Cobalt Blue Rim, 

Handles & Foot

Blue Drag Loops

Orange Iridized Overspray

9.5" H


 

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Collection of Bob Suslowicz


Exceptional Color.
 

 






Free Hand Numbers Unknown
Blue - Green Lily Pad & Vine Decors
Opal Base Glass
Orange Stretch Throats
10" H & 6" H



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Collection of Bob Suslowicz

   Free Hand Number Unknown
Candlestick Pair
Spider Webbing
     Smoke Colored Base Glass
   Heavy Iridization
    10" H




  
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Collection of Bob Suslowicz


          FH 223: Clear
           Blue Drag Looping
          Blue Inverted Saucer Foot
          Cobalt Blue Rim
        Amber Orange Iridescence
            9.0" H  x  8.5" D




Imposing, large volume example




 
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FH Number Unknown

Similar to FH #292,
Salesman's Special Lot #1989
but with a rarely seen
 white "cup & wax ring"

Drag Loop Decor
Iridized
10" H


Collection of Bob Suslowicz



White "cup & wax ring" iridized too.

 

Drawn foot, not an applied foot

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Unique Example



                                               
    FH Number Unknown

  Floriform Epergne

  Leaf & Vine Decor

   Cobalt Blue Base Glass

Recessed, Applied White Rim

 Iridized, 6.75" H



                                                

                                        Polished & Beveled Base


Collection of Bob Suslowicz

 
Meriden Silverplate

Meriden went out of business in 1888 so 
this is a one-of-a-kind example likely made
for a specific customer or friend/family
member of the glass blower.



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FH 326 Bowl

Two Tab Handles

Leaf & Vine Decor

Green Base Glass, Iridized

9" L x 6" W x 3" H
 

 


Collection of Bob Suslowicz 



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FH 226: Mirror Finish JIP 

10" H

Exceptional Example

Collection of Tony Pacherille

 

 

 
 
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Collection of Rick Cruz



 





 

 
  
 

                Lead Lustre Abstract

                       
                        Shape 622


                            8.5" H



 

I find this to be a very interesting vase.  In Section I "Free Hand 

Lead Lustre: Their Story", I state that when the Free Hand line 

was replaced with mold-made Lead Lustre, creativity essentially 

gave way to "mass production" techniques. While that is 

generally true, there are always exceptions to the rule. I think this

example is a case in point. Here ingenuity has made up for any 

loss of creativity. Specifically, I believe  this vase was created in 

the following ingenious manner:


  -  A Lead Lustre 622 - 10 vase was created (transparent blue 

     glass with "blue glaze" iridescence.

  -  Then opal glass was applied in an abstract pattern.

  -  Lastly orange iridescence was applied over the entire vase. 

     This shows clearly as pale orange over the opal glass and as 

     a magenta/purple where thickly sprayed over portions of the 

     blue glaze.
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Lead Lustre 319 - 37

Candlestick with Crizzled Wax Ring




I believe this is likely the most rare Lead Lustre decor. This

piece is in my collection and there is a second example, 

another candlestick, in the Imperial Glass Museum. These 

are the only two examples of this decor I have seen in any 

shape in 45+ years. 


Bone white base glass with an iridescent orange exterior 

finish. This finish has a dull, rough texture at the top that 

becomes shiny and smooth at the bottom, with some 

evidence of a crazing effect. The interior (flaired wax ring

in the case of this candlestick) has a canary satin finish - the

stretched wax ring emphasizing the green component of the 

canary yellow (chartreuse) color.
 







 
 
 

 








 

 

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 From the Collection of

Frank W. Ford


FH # Unk  (FH 186 Shape)

11" Tall

           

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                                   Very Rare


              Free Hand Basket


                   Clear Glass


   Aqua Handle, Base & Threading


     Free Hand Number Unknown


              14" H with 5" Base



             


              Same shape as FH #177

          Salesman's Special Lot #1984
  
       (documented only with cobalt blue 

      or ruby red handles, base & threading)


                                         
         
 
Collection of Rick Cruz






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JIP Vase

FH 220

Salesman's Special Lot #1984

Clear Glass

Cobalt Blue Threading & Foot

10.0" H with 4.1" Base



 

 


Collection of Rick Cruz

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Collection

of

Robert G. Bjork

 

Only one of two examples of a "Pulled Feather" decor seen to date  



  Opal Base Glass 

 Blue Decoration

  Orange Iridescence

10 1/8 H. 

 

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FH Number ???

 Black/Dark Green Body

 on Opal

Baluster Shape

Turned Down Rim

with an

Orange Crizzled Interior at the Top

Lily Pad & Vine Decor

9" H

 

 

 

 

Exceptional Example

 


 

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Author's Collection



Free Hand #10

Clear Base Glass

Heavy M
arigold Iridescence 

 Applied Blue Green Handles

 Drawn Foot

  8" H




Photo Courtesy: 
Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates




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_________________________________
  




 
Free Hand Compote





Iridescent Colorless Glass
Opal Leaf & Vine Decor
Cobalt Blue Rim & Tall Stem
Unlisted Shape

 



 
 

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_________________________________
  

 

Private Collection

 

 

 FH: Opal Base Glass

Undocumentd Form & Decoration

Blue Pulled Feather Design with Orange Iridescence

Turned Down Lip/Rim

10.5" H

 

 

 


 
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_________________________________
   

 

Free Hand

Floriform

 

 

 

 

White L&V on Blue

Opal Stem & Applied Rim

Top Folded Inward

Iridized

9.75" H - 7.5" D

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Collection of

Wayne & Pamela Balash

This vase has the sought after Lily Pad & Vine decoration, very effectively displayed on the FH 378 shape. The significant size (11.5" tall with large volume) and wonderful color combination (blue decoration with butterscotch/orange iridescence) make this a spectacular example. Also please note the metallic blue effect on the stem.

 
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Collection of
 
Robert G. Bjork
 
 
 
 
Yellow Lily Pad & Vine
 
 Blue - Green Aventurine Background
 
 Iridized
 
11.5" H
 
 

I have seen no better example of art glass by any maker.

 

 


Pictured on the cover & within "Glass Threads"

 by Gay LeCleire Taylor 

 
 
 
 
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Author's 

Collection
 
 
 
 
Yellow Lily Pad & Vine
 
 Blue - Green Background
 
 Iridized
 
 


   
 
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FH???: Bone White
Pink Lily Pads & Yellow/Green Vines
Orange Throat
Iridized
11" H
 

 

 

 

 

 




   Author's Collection

 

          Olive Green & Silver Lily  Pads  

             Green & Purple Vines                

     Pale Green Background

 

 

 

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Author's 

Collection
 
 
The bowl has a highly unusual two colored Leaf and Vine decoration   (white "leaves" but  blue "vines").   
 
 
 

 

 



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                                       FH 332

                                   Not Iridized  
                                                                            
5.75" H 

 
FH ???: Crystal

Purple/Gold Lustre

Wheel Cut Florals

12" H 
 
 

                              

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               Collection of

                Robert G. Bjork

                            "King Tut" Decor

 

 

 

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RARE Lead Lustre Console Set

 



   



 



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A truly exceptional King Tut example. 9 inches tall. Blue base glass with white decor, covered initially in marigold/orange and then iridized, probably with  stannous chloride, producing this glittering jewel.

 

                Private Collection

 
 
 

   King Tut

 

 
 

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_________________________________ 
 

 


          Collection of

    Wayne & Pamela

             Balash 

 

 

 

 




Any "King Tut" vase is very rare. Here is another great example in pale green with dark apple green decoration and orange throat.






 
   

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Author's Collection

 

Free Hand pieces with an "abstract" decor are rarely seen.
 
 The one to the right  has a peach colored throat and a violet iridescence that makes the zigzags (instead of drag loops) appear alternately  blue or purple, depending on the light. The shape shows off the decoration very well.
 

 

 Another never before seen abstract pattern.

It is 8.25 inches tall and retains the original FH 

paper label. 




 

 

Lead Lustre Abstract 

7.5" Tall

                                                                                                                                                                    

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          Author's 

    Collection
 
 
 
 
This example is  
 included here   because of its "triple   gourd" shape and exceptionally strong color.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Private 

Collection

This wonderful example appears on the cover of "Imperial Glass" by Richard & Wilma Ross., 1971.

It was originally owned by Victor Wicke,  President of Imperial from 1916 until his death in 1929 

My experience and research tell me baskets are very rare. I have only seen four baskets in 40 years of collecting. The saleman's catalogs show only 10 baskets among the 271 different shape/decoration combinations available for purchase. If actual production matched choice available, only about 4% of the Free Hand made would have been baskets. Given the inherent fragility of the handles, servivability is likely much less than 4%.
 
 


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FH 40:

Rare &

Beautiful


 














 
 

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FH 425: Opal
 
Green Adventurine
  Drag Loops
 
Green Rim
 
 "Crizzled" Orange Lustre Throat
 
Iridized
 
7" H


Collection of 

Frank W. Ford 

 

 
 


This is a Jack-in-the Pulpit (JIP) vase with a stretch glass treatment. It is very rare and the original paper label makes it even rarer. It is 10 inches tall and 7 inches at its widest.  
 
 
 
 
 


 

 

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 Author's Collection


Lead Lustre Abstract 

I classify this Lead Lustre shape 418 vase as VERY RARE. The design is really a King Tut variation. It is the only example in this decor seen to date. Additionally all previously found LL Abstracts have been predominantly orange in color, see "Abstracts - Lead Lustre Gallery".

 


 

 

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Collection of 

  Robert G. Bjork 

 

 



 

           FH 314: Transparent Green                            Red Leaf & Vine                    Cobalt Blue Rim Iridized - 11.5" H

 
 



 


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Private Collection

 

 FH 142: Clear Base Glass 

Pale Green Drag Loops

Green Rim & Foot

Silvery Iridescence

9.5" H

 

 
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_________________________________

 

 Collection of

Robert G. Bjork

 


 

A fine example of a handled vase -   note the striking form and the         white base.

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                                                     _________________________________                            
 

Collection of

      Wayne & Pamela Balash 

 

A Rare Red

 

 





     
   
                   
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                                                     _________________________________                            
                         
                                  

Author's Collection

This is the only Cased Lead Lustre example in the Lily Pad & Vine decor I have seen to date.

(wonderful butterscotch & blue colors with violet/pink iridescence) 


 
 
 
 

                                     ____________________________________________________
                                                     _________________________________      

 
 Private Collection

Extraordinary Lead Lustre Vase. This is probably a "one-of-a-kind" example. It is on a Decor 

#60 Mulberry colored 418 vase with an unknown and extremely finely cut design. If cut at the 

Imperial factory, this fine piece was probably the work of Telesphore Naome, who previously 

worked at Val St. Lambert in Belgium & came to Imperial in 1925.
 

 




 



Lead Lustre 417/20

Wheel Cut #94

8" Tall

These wheel cut LL pieces are fairly scarce, e.g. I have only seen two offered on eBay the past year.

 
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                                                     _________________________________           
 


 This example shown here  because of  the apparently limited quantities made.

 Cut 94 Close-Up Detail

 

 
 With rare exception, wheel cut designs are found 
   only on orange and gray monochromatic Lead
   Lustre pieces. Wheel cut designs are also found
   on Free Hand "Cut Crystal" pieces.


Author's Collection

 



Lead Lustre
418 - 20


Wheel Cut 94 
&
Abstract
Decor


  

This is one of only two Lead Lustre bowl I have encountered to date. Illustrated on page 90 of Imperial Glass by Margaret & Douglas Archer, Shape 3762. This example 11 inches in diameter. Sold in three colors as part of a console set.

 

 

           

 

 

Second color combination.

 

 







First time pictured on this site and the first time in "captivity". Is it the Loch Ness Monster? Is it Sasquatch?   No, it's the (until now) elusive Lead Lustre 376 Bowl.  Since this site was established in 2009, I have searched for a photo of one. Thanks to Gary Senkar, I now have it & can share it.




Lead Lustre 376 - 40 Bowl
4.4" High by 8.6" Widest







Collection of Gary Senkar


    NOTES:
    • Smaller than described in Imperial documentation (5.25"H by 10" W) & not as flared. Size variations are not unusual, they occur frequently.
    • The "40" decor (opal with yellow-green iridescence) is best seen on the photo of the bottom,  left.
    • Imperial documentation suggests there are at least two other decors.
 
                       
                   


  __________________________________
__________________
          _________________________________      

 

 

Collection

of

Robert G. Bjork

 

This example pictured in "Glass Threads" by Gay LeCleire Taylor 

 

Abstract- White Guilloche Design

Colbalt Blue Base Glass

Lead Lustre shape but Free Handd


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        _________________________________       
 

 

         Author's 

       Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
  Clear Base Glass   
              Cut Top Vase             
Yellow Green
Aventurine Drag Loops & Base 
Iridized - 9" H

____________________________________________________
        _________________________________      

 

Private Collection
 

FH Unknown Number: Clear Glass

Yellow/Green Aventurine Drag Loops

Turned Down Rim

Silvery Iridescence 

9.5" H

 

 








 
 
____________________________________________________
        _________________________________       


 

 

 Private Collection

 

FH Unknown Number: Clear Base Glass

Red Threading & Red Raised Foot

Light Orange Iridescence

10.5" H

 




____________________________________________________
        _________________________________       
 
 





Collection of 

  Robert G. Bjork 


   

 



  




          Red Leaf & Vine

               Blue Rim

                Iridized

               7 5/8" H



____________________________________________________
        _________________________________       
 


 


Collection of

Robert G.

 Bjork

       


 
EXCEPTIONAL COLOR   

   Satin Finish

 
____________________________________________________
        _________________________________       

 

 

Collection of

Robert G.

 Bjork

 

Green Cintra 

Blue Swirling Cintra Foot

9 7/8 H

 
 

 

 
 
____________________________________________________
        _________________________________       

 

 



Collection of

Wayne & Pamela

Balash

 

        Another wonderful          

Lily Pad & Vine vase

 

 

 
 

   


Collection of

Robert G. Bjork

       EXCEPTIONAL COLOR    

      BEAUTIFUL SHAPE   

    10 Inches Tall  

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        _________________________________  


     

 


 ____________________________________________________
        _________________________________      

 

GRACEFUL SHAPE

Blue & White Lily Pad & Vine

Cobalt Body

Not Iridized

 

 

Collection of

Robert G.

 Bjork

 
____________________________________________________
        _________________________________       
 

 

An exceptional form - three looped feet supporting an often undersized or oversized vase. Here shown in two vase variations/sizes and six colors.

 



 Various Collections

 

 

        
  

 


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        _________________________________       

 

Private Collection 

 

 

 

 

 FH Number Unknown: Opal 

Base Glass 

Green Leaf & Vine

9.5" H

 

  


Extraordinary Shape
 
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        _________________________________       

FH 256

Iridized

5" H





VERY  RARE 

Gourd Shaped

FH Vase

(similar vase pictured on page 449 of the Imperial Glass Encyclopedia, volume II)

 

Collection

Cathy Dahms

 These are likely not  "production" pieces, but rather "whimsies"; at least two known.


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        _________________________________      

 



 

 FH Unk.  Iridized

10.5" H

This is #1691, page 449 in the Imperial Glass Encyclopedia, Vol. II

 
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        _________________________________       
 

   


 FH 333 Variation (Blue Stem)

Not Iridized

4.75" H


 

 
____________________________________________________
        _________________________________       

 

 

 

 FH 392 Shape

CRACKLE GLAZE

Iridized

5" H

 

 

 
____________________________________________________
        _________________________________      

 

 


 FH Unk - Abstract

Iridized

5.5" H 

 

____________________________________________________
        _________________________________      
  



 

 FH Perfumes & Lamp


 
____________________________________________________
        _________________________________      

 

 FH 706 Cut 47

 Rare Green Color

 

 



 

____________________________________________________
        _________________________________      

 

FH: Unknown Number     

 Pale Green Drag Loops       

 Lime Green Base      

   Medium Orange Iridescence

Stretch Effect on Foot, Throat & Neck


 



Subtle, exceptionally beautiful example

 

   

 

 


 

 
 

 
____________________________________________________
        _________________________________       

 

 

FH: Unknown Number



 

  

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        _________________________________      

 

Author's Collection

 

 

 

  


This is one of those pieces that crosses/blurs the line between Lead Lustre & Free Hand. I believe this example started in a Lead Lustre Shape 618 mold and then was stretched and hand tooled. The lime green color to date has only been seen on Lead Lustre pieces. I would call this "Lead Lustre 618 Variant with Lime Green Leaf & Vine Decor and Orange Crizzled Throat".
    
 ____________________________________________________
        _________________________________      
 

 






The Lead Lustre #6 decor is exceptionally "eye catching". The dark green background and opal leaves and vines are beautifully set off by the silvery satin iridescence.


Author's Collection



 

 

   
 ____________________________________________________
        _________________________________      

 

 

 Author's Collection


FH 183

 JIP Vase

Cranberry-Red Drag Loops

10" H x 7" W

 


 
   

Smoky Amber-Orange Iridescence 

Green & Chartreuse Highlights

Stretched & Tooled

 ____________________________________________________
        _________________________________       


 

Rare FH JIP Vase

10" Tall

Cut Crystal

Undocumented Decoration

Jeff Easton Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________________________________
        _________________________________       




Author's Collection


Beautiful & Rare JIP Vase

Verre de Soie Treatment

Pale Blue Rim & Threading

Iridized - Stretch Glass Effect

9.75" H by 7.00" W


 

    
  
 

 

    
 
 ____________________________________________________
        _________________________________      
 

 

Author's Collection 



FH 247

Opal Leaf & Vine

Cobalt Base Glass

Highly Iridized

8.75" H 

 
 
 
____________________________________________________
        _________________________________       
  

Undocumented & Previously Unseen Shape

 4.5" Tall, 6.25 Wide 

          Blue Green Lily Pads on Opal 

              Orange Interior

               EXCEPTIONAL EXAMPLE

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 
  
 
____________________________________________________
        _________________________________       
 
          Bowl

                Blue Green Lily Pads on Opal 

              Orange Stretch Interior


Undocumented & Previously Unseen Shape

 5.5" Tall, 10.0" Wide 

 





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_____________________

  

FH 335

White Leaf & Vine Decor

Transparent, Non-iridized Cobalt Blue Base Glass

Opal Handles & Trim

7" H by 7" W


 FH # ???

Cranberry Drag Loop Decor

Clear Base Glass - Iridized Orange

5.75" H by 6" W

 


 
 
 
 
Copyright © 2012 Ernie Albanese
 All Rights Reserved 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
  
 
 
 
 
 

Copyright © 2010 Ernie Albanese

 All Rights Reserved