Archives for September 2006

Mollring Roseville Pottery Price Guide Listing Mishap

Those of you that know Lana and I will appreciate this story… it kind of ranks right up there with the time I forgot the pins for the shelves at the APEC pottery show or when I forgot the back supports for the shelves at last year’s Wisconsin Pottery Show.  Both of which events left our pottery displays for the shows looking a little less than ideal. 

Anyway those are past issues, so back to the point at hand.   Early Friday morning I was trying to get the recently updated 2006 Gloria Mollring Roseville Pottery Collector’s Price Guide listed on our website and send out our email newsletter notifying customers of the addition of the latest Roseville estate collection to our inventory.  I really wanted to include Gloria and Jim’s new book in the newsletter since it has been such a popular resource for Roseville collectors over the years.  Pict3720_2

As many of you know, Lana normally handles listing items on the website but Friday morning she was unavailable (because she was sleeping at 5:00AM like most normal people) so I thought I would take it upon myself to list the book!  In my infinite wisdom I thought I would list the book not only in our online pottery bookstore but also in our Roseville Pottery categories so the book would get a little more exposure since I knew so many customers would be excited to see it.  Well as I’m listing the book and when I should have been thinking I wonder why Lana doesn’t do it this way I was thinking boy I will have to tell Lana about my great idea of listing in two categories. 

So, I get the listing completed and send the newsletter and I’m sitting back thinking that was a job well done and in record time. About 5 minutes later, I get my first email questioning why I was charging $14 for shipping a book!  I quickly realized I had a problem on my hands!  It turns out when I added the book to our pottery category the site assumes it was a vase and was trying to add $14 for shipping.  Unfortunately, since I included the listing in our newsletter it wasn’t something I could easily correct at that point without creating more confusion. So I have been fielding emails explaining the issue and trying to direct customers to the correct 2006 Gloria Mollring Roseville Price Guide listing on the website.

The best thing about all this is, just like when I forgot the components for shelving for the pottery shows I never once heard that "I can’t believe you did that" from Lana.  She must really be a sweetheart or maybe she’s just used to this sort of thing from me by now!

Greg Myroth – I promise to leave the pottery listing to Lana!

Shipping Service

This is definitely one of those "why didn’t I think of this ideas" I can’t help but share.  The October 2006 issue of Business 2.0 had a short write up on a new, one-stop, free shipping site RedRoller.com.  The site will allow customers to compare shipping services by price, carrier, or delivery time.  After comparing carriers you are able to print labels and ship items entirely through the Red Roller website.  In order to make sure the site is update on the latest shipping rates, Red Roller is directly connected to DHL, FedEx, USPS.  For some reason, UPS is not included in the offering at this point. 

Sounds like a great option for arts and crafts furniture buyers and sellers or frequent shippers of art pottery or anything else for that matter.

Greg Myroth – Shipping Lots of Pots

Grueby Pottery Marks

Yesterday I received an email from a potential Grueby Pottery customer who was told by an alleged "pottery expert" that the impressed Grueby stamp mark was not authentic and was a mark that was used on "fake Grueby Pottery". 

I recognize that fakes and reproductions of Grueby, Roseville, Weller, Van Briggle and many other art pottery makers are becoming more and more of a concern to pottery collectors.  As such, I thought it might be helpful to provide some visual ads of original Grueby pottery marks. 

1.  Circular Grueby Boston USA Stamp

Below is an example of the circular Grueby stamp mark. Dsc6717  This is the most commonly seen Grueby pottery mark and is present on probably 70% of the pieces.  In addition to the circular Grueby stamp, the second photo also has the original Grueby Pottery paper label which is not commonly seen.  Dsc6721

2.  Impressed GRUEBY BOSTON. MASS mark

Another somewhat common Grueby mark is the impressed stamp mark.  I believe the impressed Grueby Boston. Mass as shown below is a later mark used by the company.  Dsc04134 Dsc9742

3.  Other authentic Grueby Pottery marks

Grueby pottery also used a few variations of the stamp mark including: 

  • GRUEBY
  • ATWOOD & GRUEBY
  • GRUEBY POTTERY BOSTON USA

While I don’t have visual examples of these particular stamp marks, they are documented in The Ceramics of William H. Grueby by Susan Montgomery.

4.  Unmarked examples of Grueby Pottery

It is important to note that not all Grueby was marked so it is not uncommon to find unmarked examples of Grueby. 

Greg Myroth – Buying and Selling Grueby Pottery!

Buying Art Pottery at Live Auctions

Live auctions can be a good place to purchase art pottery for your personal collection or for resale.  However, it is important to realize that in most non-guaranteed sales typically 50% or more of the art pottery for sale is damaged or repaired.  Some auctioneers do a good job of describing condition issues while others will make no effort whatsoever to identify damage or repair. 

    Here are some tips for successfully buying art pottery at live auctions:

    1. Give yourself plenty of time to personally inspect anything you plan to bid on.  Most auctioneers will not accept returns for any reason for in house bidders.   There are a very few exceptions where galleries guarantee condition or auctioneers allow a 1 to 2 minute inspection period before considering the sale final.   
    2. Understand that in many cases, the pottery at the auction is selling with a reserve price.  If the piece doesn’t meet the reserve price the vase will not be sold.  Many auction houses are discrete about pieces that do not meet reserve so it isn’t always clear if an item sells or not.  Reserves are not necessarily a bad thing but it is important for bidders to realize that in most cases you are not only bidding against other bidders but also against the seller’s reserve price. 
    3. Bring the necessary items to assist you in identifying repairs on art pottery and the printed catalog or a note book to record notes on specific lots. Many pottery sales are cataloged so that often helps with note taking but some of the best sales are still non-cataloged and do not sell in any order.  For these events, note taking can be vital to making you day at the auction a success.
    4. Determine the buyer’s premium ahead of time.  Many of the larger art pottery auction galleries are charging 20% or more as a buyer’s premium.  This buyer’s premium is added to your final bid price so if you bid a $1000 on a Roseville vase and there is a 20% buyer’s premium you are actually committing to paying $1.200 for the piece.  Make sure you factor the premium into your bid when considering the maximum you will pay for an item. 
    5. Identify acceptable payment methods in advance. Some auction houses will not accept credit cards. Others accept credit cards, but charge a higher buyer’s premium if you pay with a credit card.  Some auction houses will not accept checks from out of state buyers without prior approval. 
    6. Come to the auction prepared to transport your pottery purchases. I typically bring hard plastic storage tubs like you get from Menards or Home Depot and plenty of bubble wrap for packing. 
    7. If I do not know the auctioneer I will typically make my first bid by raising my hand to be sure by bid has been seen. After the first bid, if you want to be more discrete about your bidding activity, you can make subsequent bids by nodding your head or making a less noticeable hand gesture while the auctioneering looking at you.
    8. If multiple people are bidding on the same item I am interested in, I will wait for the bidding to slow before entering the bidding action.  Rapid fire bidding can start a frenzy that can drive prices up.  By slowing the bidding down you may be more successful. 
    9. Many pottery auctions sell upwards of 100 lots an hour, so it is important to stay focused and know when you item is coming up for bid.  At small, local sales things typically move a little slower but still it is important to pay attention.  A perfect example of this was a sale I heard about recently where there were 2 small Rookwood vellum vases.  It was very small sale and only two parties appeared to recognize what the vases were.  The one gentleman left the room for a smoke break.  The other “gentleman” saw him leave and requested the “small pottery vases” be sold next.  He promptly bought them for around $20 a piece.  This is an extreme example but the point is pay attention to when and where your item is the sale process.  It is also a somewhat common thing for box lot items to end up switched around doing preview; so again pay attention.
    10. Finally, set your bidding limit ahead of time.  Don’t let your pride or competitiveness control your bidding. Don’t get caught in that “auction fever”.  Remember your bidding limit and that in most cases you can find another one of the item you are bidding on if you are not successful.

    Greg Myroth – Buying Art Pottery

    Cleaning Art Pottery

    We are often asked for advise on cleaning art pottery and removing everything from darkened crazing, mineral deposits, silver marks, paint drops, oil stains, to common dirt.  Here is a good source for information on various methods to clean art pottery.  If you have information on other successful cleaning methods please contact us and we will add them to this post.

    Greg Myroth – JustArtPottery.com

    Frankoma Pottery

    Frankoma Pottery was founded in 1933 by John Frank.  The name Frankoma was developed from Frank’s last name and the last three letters of Oklahoma.   The company is best known for its sculptures and dinnerware although the company made many other products including bookends, figurines, vases. Frankomavase_1

    Identifying the date of production of Frankoma pottery can sometimes prove difficult.  A recent article in Antique Week provided some valuable insight into dating Frankoma pottery.   Between 1933 and 1954 Frankoma used tan clay from the Ada, Oklahoma area.   Many collectors now refer to the pottery from this era as Ada clay pieces.The Ada clay pieces are typically the most sought-after by pottery collectors.   

    Between 1954 and 1980, Frankoma used a brick red clay.  Frankoma collectors commonly refer to this clay as Sapulpa clay pre-1980.  In the 1980s the clay color became a light pink or orange. 

    The earliest Frankoma pieces (1933-1934) were marked either Frank Potteries Norman Okahoma, or with the OKLA abbreviation rather than the full state name, or simply Frank Potteries.  Some examples of Frankoma from this time period can be found with a rubber stamp Frankoma mark.  FrankomabottomFrankoma also used the cat mark between 1934 and 1938.

    Between 1934 and 1954, Frankoma used an impressed mark.  Prior to a large fire at the plant in 1938 the Frankoma mark had a round ‘O’ after the fire the ‘O’ became more oblong.  The Antique Week article also indicated John Frank personnally signed pieces that were given as gifts.  Signed_bottom_2

    John Frank past away in 1973. Frankoma continued in operation until the end of 2004.  In 2005, the pottery was reopened for business.  To find out more information on Frankoma Pottery check out these resources:

    Frankoma Family Collectors Association

    Frankoma Pottery

    Greg Myroth – JustArtPottery.com

    George Ohr Pottery Fakes

    George Ohr is often referred to as the "mad potter of Biloxi" not only because of his eccentric personally but also due to the diversity and uniqueness of the arts and crafts pottery masterpieces he created.  George Ohr pottery is typically characterized by twisted and manipulated forms.  Dsc4685

    Prices of George Ohr pottery have rapidly increased from the $50 range for small examples in the 1980s to $1,000 to $3,000 for the same example now.  Superior examples Ohr that would sell in the $2,000 price range twenty years ago now sell in the low six figure range. This rapid price appreciation has resulted in reproductions and reglazed George Ohr becoming more commonplace in the art pottery market. 

    As many collectors know many of George Ohr’s later examples were intentionally left unglazed in the bisque form.  For years, many collectors thought the unglazed bisque examples were unfinished pieces.  Some time around the 1970s, many unglazed bisque examples were reglazed and sold in the retail market.  As the knowledge of the reglazed Ohr examples has become more commonplace, collector interest in the bisque examples has skyrocketed.  Dsc03450

    In the January/February issue of Forbes Collector, David Rago, who is commonly recognized as the foremost authority on George Ohr Pottery, provided some key factors to look for in order to avoid the fake Ohr pieces.  These factors include:

    Glazed examples with the flowing script signature.  Many of Ohr’s later pottery was unglazed and marked with the flowing script signature.  While not a hard and fast rule, one should closely examine glazed examples of Ohr with the flowing script signature. Dsc03452

    Clean examples.  The reglazed fakes from the 1970s are typically very clean.  Original George Ohr pottery often is not nearly as clean.  Pict0736 Dsc4689

    Dull, opaque glazes.  Ohr’s original glazes typically show a lustrous depth not typically seen on the reglazed examples.  Many of the reglazed Ohr pieces are done in red. 

    Swirled clay with colored glaze.  Ohr examples produced from scroddled or swirled clay were only glazed with clear color.

    Disproportionate number of reptiles.  Fake Ohr pottery is often seen with a disproportionate number of snakes.

    Clean bottoms.  The majority of George Ohr pottery has glazed bottoms.  The early reproductions have clean, unglazed bottoms.  However, Rago notes later forgers have caught on to this fact.

    Pinpoint stilt marks.  Authentic George Ohr pottery was fired on long, Y shaped stilts.  Typical fake Ohr examples were fired on pin stilts leaving pinpoint stilt marks.

    The photos above provide examples of authentic George Ohr pottery and his marks.  If you have photo examples of any of these fake characteristics or photos of authentic marks/vases please provide them to us and they will be added to this discussion. 

    Greg Myroth 

    Art Pottery Show Schedule

    The Los Angeles Pottery Show – September 30-October 1 – The Pasadena Center – Pasadena, CA

    29th Annual APEC/American Pottery, Earthenware & China Show & Sale – Saturday, October 14, 2006 – Lake County Fairgrounds – Grayslake, IL

    Bay Area Pottery Show – January 28-28, 2007 – Santa Clara County Fairgrounds – San Jose, CA

    6th Annual Florida Winter Antique & Collectible Art Pottery Show & Sale – January 27-28, 2007 – Maitland Civic Center – Maitland, FL

    Annual Convention of the American Art Pottery Association – April 25-29, 2007 – Holiday Inn – Cleveland, OH

    Greg Myroth                                                                                          

    Roseville Pottery Marks Photos

    I thought it would be helpful to provide some photos of common Roseville Pottery marks.  Dsc08626  The image to the left is typical of the bottom marks on Roseville Pottery (with or without the paper label) from the 1927-1935.  As discussed previously, patterns from this period would include: Artcraft, Baneda, Blackberry, Cherry Blossom, Cremona, Dahlrose, Earlam, Falline, Ferella, Futura, Imperial II, Jonquil, Laurel, Monticello, Morning Glory, Sunflower, Windsor, and Wisteria.

    An example of the impressed Roseville trademarks can be seen in this image.  Pict1530 The marked in impressed in the clay and there is no USA marking.  As discussed previously this Roseville mark was used between 1935 and 1940 and includes patterns such as:  Bleeding Heart, Clemana, Cosmos, Dawn, Fuchsia, Iris, Ixia, Moderne, Morning Glory, Moss, Pinecone, Poppy, Primrose, Teasel, Thornapple, and Velmoss.

    An example of the raised Roseville trademark with the USA notation that was used after 1940 can Dsn0611 be seen in this image.  This is the mark that would be seen on Roseville patterns such as:  Apple Blossom, Bittersweet, Bushberry, Clematis, Columbine, Foxglove, Freesia, Gardenia, Lotus, Magnolia, Ming Tree, Mock Orange, Peony, Silhouette, Snowberry, White Rose, Water Lily, Wincraft, and Zephyr Lily.

    Greg Myroth – Buying and selling Roseville Pottery

    Scandinavian Pottery

    Scandinavian art pottery, which has enjoyed a regional appreciation, has begun to see an expanding international collector base and is finally being recognized as comparable in quality to finest of American art pottery.  Of particular interest to ceramic collectors worldwide is the art pottery produced in Denmark and Sweden.   The Danish and Swedish art pottery companies produced ceramics ranging in style from the arts and crafts, art nouveau, art deco, and mid-century modern.

    Denmark’s art pottery production included such large factories as Royal Copenhagen and Bing and Grondahl as well as smaller ceramic makers such as Kahler, Michael Anderson & Sons, Ipsen, Nymolle, and Hjorth.  Some of the most sought-after Danish art pottery includes the studio vases and bowls produced by independent studios such as Saxbo, Palshus, and Arne Bang.

    Sweden’s art pottery production included ceramics produced by the countries largest factories Gustavberg and Rorstrand as well as studio pottery makers such as Tobo, Hoganas, Uppsala-Ekeby, Bo Faiance, Andersen & Johansen, and Gefle.    Each one of these Swedish art pottery factories produced high quality ceramics ranging in style from art nouveau, art deco, and helped to define Scandinavian modernism movement.

    Greg Myroth