Archives for November 2006

Roseville Pottery – Starting a Collection on a Limited Budget

Beginning collectors of Roseville pottery are often scared away by the high prices they see for middle period patterns such as Baneda, Cherry Blossom, Falline, Ferella, Futura, Morning Glory, Pinecone, Sunflower, Wisteria, etc.  As a result, a common question we get from beginning art pottery collectors is What are some good, less expensive patterns of Roseville pottery to collect now that might be more popular or valuable in the future?   

The following is my top ten list of Roseville patterns that are currently less expensive and more under appreciated by today’s collector.  These patterns allow beginning Roseville pottery collectors to start a collection with a lower initial investment and provide good opportunity for longer term price appreciation (assuming you are buying pieces in mint condition).

  1. Roseville Artwood
  2. Roseville Bittersweet (yellow)
  3. Roseville Florane II
  4. Roseville Mock Orange (yellow, green or pink)
  5. Roseville Ming Tree (blue, green or white)
  6. Roseville Tourmaline (matte or gloss)
  7. Roseville Rosecraft Colors
  8. Roseville Rozane Patterns
  9. Roseville Wincraft
  10. Roseville Zephyr Lily (brown)

I would be interested in hearing from readers on any other Roseville patterns you feel should be added to this list.

Greg Myroth – Shop Over 300 Examples of Roseville Pottery

Evaluating Van Briggle Pottery

Scott Nelson, author of A Collector’s Guide to Van Briggle Pottery and noted Van Briggle pottery collector, recently wrote an article for the Journal of the American Art Pottery Association titled Van Briggle Pottery: How to Find a Great Pot.  In the article, Scott presents ten factors (nine of which were originally put forth in his comprehensive reference book) that should be considered in determining the value or desirability of Van Briggle pottery vases, bowls, figural pieces, etc.  These factors are:

  1. The date, or period of production. Dsc7050_1
  2. The quality of the glaze.
  3. The color or color combinations.
  4. The form or shape.
  5. The presence or absence of decoration.
  6. The scarcity or desirability of certain designs.
  7. The crispness of the mold on pieces with decoration.
  8. The size.
  9. The condition of the piece.
  10. Other special or unique features.

It is rare to find examples of Van Briggle pottery from any period of production with a majority of these features.  It is recommended collectors evaluate individual vases on the particular criteria that are most important to them. 

In future posts, each of the ten factors will be discussed in further detail and applicable photos of Van Briggle pottery will be provided where available. 

Additional Van Briggle Pottery Reference Books:

Van Briggle Pottery Resources:

Greg Myroth – Just Art Pottery

Rookwood Pottery Artists (Part 3)

The list of "C" level Rookwood pottery decorators in Anita Ellis’ Rookwood Pottery – The Glaze Lines reference book is as noted below.  "C" level Rookwood decorators usually have average collector interest. Ellis ranks the following Rookwood pottery artists as "C" level.Rookwood1_1

  • Ed Abel
  • Louise Abel
  • William Auckland
  • Irene Bishop
  • Caroline Bonsall
  • Anna Bookprinter
  • Alice Craven
  • Patti Conant
  • Daniel Cook
  • Catherine Crabtree
  • Bertha Cranch
  • Edward Cranch
  • Mary Grace Denzler
  • Charles Dibowski
  • Cecil Duell
  • Rose Fechheimer
  • Loretta Holtkamp
  • Albert HumphreysDsc00723
  • Katherine Jones
  • Katherine Lay
  • Sadie Markland
  • Elizabeth McDermott
  • Margaret McDonald
  • Charles McLaughlin
  • Mary Louise McLaughlin
  • Ruben Menzel
  • Albert Munson
  • Clara Newton
  • Edith Noonan
  • Mary Perkins
  • Agnes Pitman
  • Albert Pons
  • Wesley Pullman
  • Marie Rauchfuss
  • Wilhelimine Rehm
  • Martin Rettig
  • Adeliza Sehon
  • Carolyn Stegner
  • Carrie Steinle
  • Harriette Strafer
  • Vera Tischler
  • Anna Valentien
  • Leona Van Briggle
  • Katherine Van Horne

Again, the list is fairly representative of today’s collector interest although the following Rookwood decorators seem to have a wider collector interest levels that I would consider at the high end of the "C" level and closer to the above average or "B" classification.

  • Cecil Duell
  • Rose Fechheimer
  • Katherine Jones
  • Albert Pons
  • Greg Myroth – Shop for Rookwood Pottery

    Antique Mall – New Layout

    There was an interesting article in Antique Week last week about a new antique mall (The Evansville Antique Mall) that is organized by type of item such as pottery, furniture, linens, jewelry, dolls, etc. rather than by traditional dealer booth.   I had never heard or seen of an antique mall organized in this fashion but it sure seems to make a lot of sense and would be appear to offer a major time savings for antique shoppers and collectors as well as better item visibility for antique dealers. 

    The Evansville Antique Mall is owned and operated by Lisa Lewis and is located in Evansville, Indiana. The mall contains antique inventory from 100 dealers.  Ms. Lewis stated initially some dealers expressed trepidation about the lack of individual booths but after receiving positive feedback from shoppers regarding the mall’s layout the dealers were convinced. 

    I have no idea if the mall carries much in the way of art pottery; but at any rate it would be worth a stop if you are in the area.  The antique mall is open Monday through Saturday 10:00AM to 9:00PM and Sunday from 12:00PM to 7:00PM.

    Greg Myroth

    Rookwood Pottery Artists Continued

    We had have a couple of questions about other Rookwood pottery decorators listed in Anita Ellis’ Rookwood Pottery – The Glaze Lines reference book so I thought I would provide the list for "B" level Rookwood artists.  "B" level Rookwood decorators usually have good collector interest. Ellis ranks the following Rookwood pottery artists as "B" level. Pict4447

    • Lenore Asbury
    • Fannie Auckland
    • Constance Baker
    • Elizabeth Barrett
    • Arthur Conant
    • Sallie Coyne
    • Edward Diers
    • Lorinda Epply
    • Laura Fry
    • William Hentschel
    • Katherine Hickman
    • Bruce Horsfall
    • Edward Hurley
    • Jens Jensen
    • Sturgis Laurence
    • Elizabeth Lincoln
    • William McDonald
    • Mary Nourse
    • Olga Geneva Reed
    • Fred Rothenbusch
    • Amelia Sprague
    • Charles Todd
    • Sallie Toohey
    • John Wareham

    Overall I believe Ms. Ellis’ rankings provide a relatively accurate representation of current collector interest and popularity of various Rookwood pottery decorators.  However, I would add that from the "B" list the following decorators could be considered at or very near the "A" level:Pict2055

    • Arthur Conant
    • William Hentschel
    • Bruce Horsfall
    • Jens Jensen
    • Sturgis Laurence
    • Elizabeth Lincoln
    • Olga Geneva Reed
    • Fred Rothenbusch
    • Charles Todd

    Next time we will look at "C" level Rookwood pottery decorators. 

    Looking for more information on Rookwood pottery:

    Greg MyrothBuying and Selling Rookwood Pottery

    Rookwood Pottery Artists

    Dscn7922_1 Many beginning Rookwood Pottery collectors ask who are the most popular or desirable artists and how much of a price premium is placed on vases decorated by "sought-after" decorators versus "average" artists.  While collector and market opinions will always vary, Anita Ellis’ Rookwood Pottery – The Glaze Lines book provides a useful starting point for Rookwood pottery collectors. 

    Ellis’ book provides a ranked Rookwood pottery decorator’s list.  The list divides Rookwood decorators into four catagories (A through D).  Category A is Rookwood artists with the greatest collector interest.  Ellis estimates that with other considerations such as condition, size, and quality being equal, a Rookwood vase decorated by an "A" level decorator may be valued 100 to 200% higher than a vase decorated by a "C" level artist.    Rookwood pottery artists who Ellis ranks as "A" level include:

    • Matthew Daly
    • Henry Farny
    • Maria Nichols
    • Elizabeth Nourse
    • Sara Sax
    • Carl Schmidt
    • Kataro Shirayamadani
    • Maria Storer
    • Albert Valentein
    • Artus Van Briggle

    Greg MyrothShop For Rookwood Pottery   

    Investing in Art and Antiques – Tips on Buying

    The Wall Street Journal recently published an interview with Bill Ruprecht who is president and CEO of Sotheby’s.  In the article, Mr. Ruprecht discusses the buying habits of art and antiques investors and collectors. The article also offers the following tips on bidding on or buying major works of art. The tips are applicable to collectors and investors in any area of antiques, arts, and collectibles.

    1. Buy what you love rather than what is either fashionable or as an investment.  You will get pleasure every day that way.
    2. Buy the best you can and decide what you are comfortably prepared to spend.  Then be willing to spend more.
    3. Find someone who you can trust to help you think long-term about your collection.
    4. Get a written condition report for every piece, regardless of the age.
    5. Check the provenance of the artwork: a history with a great collector, artist, or museum can greatly add value while other owners may be problematic.

    Greg Myroth

    Investing in Newcomb Pottery

    With the recent record breaking prices and with prime examples routinely selling well into the five figure range, Newcomb pottery ranks among the most sought-after, investment quality art pottery ever produced.  A recent article in Antique Trader reflected on the record setting prices and the long standing investment potential for Newcomb pottery. 

    The article quotes David Rago as stating, "For many decades Newcomb pottery has been considered a "blue chip" art pottery." David further indicated in PBS’s  Antiques Roadshow that "the only way Newcomb ware would prove to be a bad investment is either if you were to sell a piece at the wrong time or overpaid for a bad example when you first bought it." Rago goes on to say "Truly, of over 200 period makers of American art pottery, this can be said only of Newcomb pottery".

    Below are some tips for investing in Newcomb pottery:

    1. Buy the highest quality piece you can afford.
    2. Buy examples in mint condition without damage or repair whenever possible.
    3. The early high-glazed pieces are considered by most pottery collectors to be the most sought-after.  However, prices for high glazed examples of Newcomb are often well into five figure range and beyond the average collectors/investors price range.
    4. The matte glaze pieces offer a lower price point and solid investment potential and as Rago indicated "the best of either high-glaze or matte Newcomb has been appreciating for nearly 40 years".

    Look here for information and photos of Newcomb pottery marks.

    Shop for Newcomb pottery

    Greg Myroth

    Pillin Pottery

    The ceramics produced by Polia Pillin continue to gain increasing interest from mid century modern art pottery collectors. In the years since Polia’s death, her art pottery has appreciated significantly in value. Pillin’s work is often decorated with abstract figures of women, birds, trees, fish, horses, and related characters. Pillin’s undecorated examples often exhibit striking and complex glazes. Dsc7929 Dsc6100

    Polia Pillin perfected the technique of painting on wet clay with colored clays. After decorating each pot, the pottery was fired then covered with transparent glaze and re-fired. The end result was abstract art on a piece of pottery with a luminous, glass like finish that is unmistakably recognizable.

    Polia Pillin was born in Poland in 1909. She came to America in 1924 and settled in Chicago. While in Chicago, Polia studied painting and sculpture. In the late 1920s, Polia married William Pillin.

    Polia gained an interest in decorating ceramics in the 1930s and produced her first art pottery in the early 1940s. Pillin first work at Hull House but moved her studio to her Chicago apartment in 1946. In 1948, William and Polia moved to Los Angeles. Initially Polia worked out of a small studio set up at the Pillin’s home. As interest and demand for Pillin Pottery increased, the family moved to a larger location.

    William Pillin worked closely with Polia in the production of art pottery. William assisted Polia by throwing and firing pottery and assisting with the development of glazes.

    William was also a recognized poet; publishing nine collections of poetry in his lifetime. William passed away in 1985. Polia passed away 1992.

    Pillin pottery is typically marked Pillin in stylized letters. Pieces thrown and glazed by William are marked W+P.

    Shop for Pillin Pottery

    Greg Myroth