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American Pottery Demands Respect

1/1/2008


American Pottery Demands Respect

That Pottery on your shelf just might have a wee bit of value and should be treated with a certain degree of respect!   Some of those vases, novelty, and dinnerware items are household names:  Fiesta, Hull, McCoy, Roseville, and Bauer to name just a few. But just by chance, you might have something hidden amongst those well-known names that is obscure and has value.  Different types of clays, glazes, artists, and firing techniques along with location, and company must be researched to determine if that unknown potter is worth more than the average.


From the late 1800's up through the 1960's there were over fifteen hundred studio potters who have some degree of merit. Of course, this does not include the over one hundred and fifty different potters who opened up shop and kiln in California from1930 to 1960. Pottery abounds and so do collections and collectors.  Art pottery verses industrial pottery commands greater notice to the well-healed buyer. 


Paul Revere Pottery from Massachusetts is well-know because of the "Saturday Evening Girls" or the S.E.G. as it was called during the early 20th Century.  These immigrant women who showed talent were taught the fine art of form and decoration.  If you happen to have the Chrysanthemum vase on your top shelf, you have the most expensive and sought-after piece of art pottery from this potter.  Depending on its condition, you would be a star on the Antiques Road Show.


Alas, most of us common folks probably have some seemingly insignificant novelty figurine that filtered its way on to the shelf from some long ago trip that some distant relative brought home from California during the 1950's.  To mention just a couple of early pottery factories does not do justice to the great wealth of items that poured forth from our western neighbor; however, Brayton Laguna and Brad Keeler are two that might be in your grasp.


Brayton was founded in the late 1920's and specialized in a number of ethic and whimsical figures that caught the eye of tourists:  Swedish, Chinese, Hillbillies, story book characters, pirates, Mexicans, Blacks all found their way to the potter's imagination.  Values can range from $35.00 on up to over $500.00.


Keeler's items might be more commonplace since he loved birds, especially cranes, flamingos, swans, and pheasants.  Since retro is in, a Keeler Flamingo is a hot item on today's buyer's wish list:  $90 on up to $650.00 if you have the right buyer for that special bird.


Today retro styling is in the driver's seat.  Fiesta has been on the reproduction list for over ten years and consequently, the values have dropped on all the pieces except the rare and the original such as carafes, syrups, vases, and other early 1930's and 1940's pieces.  So, if you have that demitasse set with the single handled cups, dust them with care.


So, next time the dust cloth comes out, look at that colorful object with a different inquiring perspective.


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