Finding Lotus Dinnerware

Question:
Hello! Very excited to find the RWCS site! My mother had the Red Wing Lotus Bronze set (pretty much a full set), and I am trying to replace it … starting from scratch. I have purchased a couple pieces via eBay (it’s the piecemeal delivery charges that are killing me! driving the prices up more than twice the price). I wonder if there is a better way to do this. Should I plan a trip to MN and go through the shops? Or, is the convention a better route in the summer? It breaks my heart I no longer have the set, which I love dearly. Any ideas? Many thanks, Mary Zimnik, Atlanta, GA

P.S. This is a dumb question, I know. Once I have the set, is it okay to use it? I know they need to be washed by hand, and I would only use for special occasions, but is it considered, in general, the idea that these collectables are to be used? THANKS!

Answer:
Mary, Ebay can be a great source for Red Wing dinnerware, but as you state the shipping charges can kill you. Lotus dinnerware is relatively inexpensive but it is heavy — the shipping could easily be more than the purchase price. And of course there’s always concern your purchase may arrive as a box of shards rather the dinnerware you expected.

Fortunately the Lotus pattern was made in large numbers and most pieces are quite easy to find. No guarantees of course, but undoubtedly you’d find Lotus available in antique and second-hand shops in MN and surrounding states. And no doubt there will be Lotus dinnerware at the RWCS convention and the many sales that take place in town that week. Somewhere along the way you’ll probably even be lucky enough to find most of the pieces you seek in one location. But where will that be? Who knows?

And there you have the two opposite ways to seek your Red Wing prey: The ease of shopping eBay from your computer, with the expensive and risk of shipping. Or the thrill of hunting out in the marketplace, with no guarantee that your travel time and expense will reap any reward.

You might consider placing a classified ad in the RWCS newsletter or on the Wing Tips website. You might just might reach the person who has what you seek, and if you are really lucky you’ll be able to complete your transaction enroute to Red Wing or at the convention.

But if that fails, you’ll have to resort to hunting in the shops the old fashioned way. Remember, the hunt is at least half the fun of collecting. I tend to seek out common pieces in shops and at auctions, and use eBay to find the more difficult pieces I need.

Once you have your set of Lotus, there’s no reason you shouldn’t use it. Special occasions are fine, but some people (like my family) use Red Wing for our everyday dishes. Try to obtain a few extra pieces on the cheap so you’ll have a spare if one gets damaged in use. Handwashing your collectable dishes is obviously the safe way to go rather than a dishwasher. Good luck! Larry

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Redwing Dinnerware

Question:
I have what appears to be a piece of Redwing dinner ware that was a gift to my parents around 50 years ago. It consists of a large serving tray that has a metal rod base supporting it with two matching handles on the base it is also set up for two candle type heaters beneath it, along with that goes a large glazed matching carafe with cork and glazed stopper this also has a base of heavy wire that has provisions for heating candles or oil. It was given to my parents a gift from a friend of theirs that I barely remember and my siblings were saying just dump it but I had to check it out on the web and am glad I did as I do enjoy older things that have a history behind their manufacture. Any help you gould give me of if would be greatly appreciated. If a photo or 2 would help just let me know . Thanx Paul W.

Answer:
Paul, it’s a good thing you didn’t listen to your siblings. Dumping these beauties would have been a real shame. You have two wonderful and valuable pieces of Smart Set, a pattern from the 1950s. Smart Set was Red Wing’s first pattern in the Casual shape and was introduced in 1953. Production continued into the late 1950s. While Smart Set is not a rare pattern, the classic 1950s design is very popular with collectors and commands good prices. Most everyday serving pieces can be found with relative ease, but accessory pieces such as yours are much harder to locate.

You have a 20 inch platter and a beverage server with cover, as well as the accompanying wrought iron stands. The platter and server are valuable on their own, but together with the stands they are worth significantly more. Over the years many of the stands were lost or discarded by their owners; today they highly sought by collectors looking to build a complete set.

You don’t mention the condition of your items but from the photos they seem to be in excellent condition. Chips, cracks, stains, etc reduce the value significantly but your items appear to be very clean. The stands seem to be in excellent condition (no rust or tarnish) and they still have the little rubber feet that fit on the end of the legs. Assuming excellent and complete condition, the Smart Set covered beverage server with stand and the 20 inch platter with stand are each worth around $150 to $200.

Larry

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Daisy Chain Dishes

Question:
I just received a set of Daisy Chain Redwing dishes with service for 12, I believe. I am interested in selling the china. Any thoughts about the most effective way to do this? Thanks Sue

Answer:
Sue, It is difficult to answer this question because your location, condition of the dishes and ability to ship the items are just some of the considerations. The most typical ways people sell items in through Ebay, newspaper ads, Garage or Estate sales, Antique Malls or you could purchase an ad in the RWCS Newsletter Classifieds. Jeff and Sue

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Crazy Rhythm Pattern

Question:
We just bought a set of cups, saucers, creamer etc. at a flea market and the sign said the pattern is "Crazy Rythms." I cannot find this pattern on your page and wonder if there is a coffee pot that goes with it. Thanks Michael

Answer:
Yes Michael, Red Wing made a beverage server with cover in the Crazy Rhythm pattern. Most people would consider this a coffee pot, and undoubtedly that was its primary use. It’s about the size of the 2 quart water pitcher but it has a spout and cover instead of an ice stop. It’s not an easy piece to find but there are some out there. Value is around $100 to $125 in excellent condition.

Larry

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Leaf Magic Pattern

Question:
I would like more information on the Redwing pattern "Leaf Magic". Who or where should I contact. Thank you. Lana

Answer:
Lana, the only piece made with the Leaf Magic design is the dinner plate. It was made to go with pieces from the Quartette pattern.

Quartette first appears in a January 1951 price list. This documention does not mention Leaf Magic, so apparently it was introduced after the initial production of Quartette. Quartette consists of Concord shaped pieces in four solid colors — Ming Green, Chartreuse, Copper Glow and Mulberry. All pieces, including covers for the casseroles, teapots, sugar bowls, etc, are solid colored. The buyer could purchase a set in any one color or could mix & match colors as desired.

Leaf Magic plates are first mentioned in a July 1951 document, six months after the introduction of Quartette. A January 1952 Red Wing price list describes Leaf Magic this way: "The decoration of this plate has 3 leaves with the color on one-half of each leaf in Chartreuse and the other one-half of leaf is painted one of the remaining Quartette colors, i.e. Ming Green, Copper Glow or Mulberry, with white overglaze. For additional pieces to make up the service Quartette is used." In other words, Leaf Magic was a more colorful dinner plate that could be substituted for the standard solid colored dinner plates when purchasing a set of Quartette dinnerware.

Larry

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Lexington Serving Plate

Question:
We were given, as a wedding gift in 1966, a Lexington (Rose) serving plate. I used it whenever I made blueberry upside-down cake (in a 10 1/2 inch cast iron skillet) because it was large enough that the juices did not run off the edge. It was NOT the oval chop plate nor was it the 11 inch dinner plate (cake would have spread over the edges). Unfortunately, a friend dropped and broke it quite some time ago. Now, when I tell other Redwingers that I am looking for a Lexington (Rose) square/round plate larger than 11 inches, they tell me such a piece does not exist. Are they right and my memory is really that bad? Or is that elusive piece still out there somewhere? If it is, I’m offering a blueberry upside-down cake as a reward for finding me one. Thanks Char

Answer:
Char, unless you had a rare one-of-a-kind piece I don’t think the platter you describe was Lexington. Could you be confusing Lexington with one of the other Red Wing patterns that feature a red rose? Lexington was introduced in 1941 and continued production until 1956. Unless you received a used item, it’s doubtful any new Lexington platters were available to serve as a wedding gift in 1966. On the other hand, unlike other Concord patterns Lexington platters were made in two sizes. The initial 1941 platter was 10.5 x 14 inches — more oblong than oval in shape. It was replaced by the more commonly found 10.5 x 13 inch chop plate in the mid-1940s. But even this hard-to-find larger platter wouldn’t meet your needs since it is only 10.5 inches wide in one direction.

As for other rose patterns, Blossom Time is also in the Concord shape but was never made in the larger 10.5 x 14 platter and was also discontinued in the mid-1950s. Red Wing Rose was introduced in the later 1950s and was discontinued after only a few years, but it’s the rose pattern most likely to have still been available in 1966. A big 15 inch oval platter was available, but your 11 inch cake would likely spill over the sides in the short direction.

That leaves us with Orleans. Orleans was introduced in 1941 and continued production until 1950. Like Lexington, Orleans featured a red rose. But unlike Lexington’s squarish plates and platters, Orleans plates and platters were round. And the platters were made in 12 inch and 14 inches sizes. Your 11 inch cake might be a tight squeeze on the 12 inch platter but would easily fit the 14 inch platter. Like Lexington, the Orleans pattern was discontinued long before your 1966 wedding. But sizewise, of the red rose patterns made by Red Wing the Orleans 14 inch platter would certainly be the best fit for your cake. Could this be the platter you seek?

Larry

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Celery Dish

Question: {mosimage}
Can you tell me anything about the rarity and ballpark value of the (2) Redwing relish dishes? They have been in my family for a long time.

Answer:
The flowered piece is a Blossom Time celery dish. It is not a rare item but is not as easily found as other Blossom Time pieces because the celery dish was not produced until 1952, several years after the initial introduction of the Blossom Time pattern. Value is around $15 in average condition; reduce by half or more if damaged, add a few dollars more if in the dish is in pristine condition.

The second green and gray piece is art pottery, not dinnerware.
Larry

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Teapot

Question:{mosimage}
I have a Red Wing one cup teapot that was given to me by my Grandmother. She was a collector of teapots and had several Red Wing pieces. I would appreciate an estimated value of my teapot. My Grandmother paid $8.50 for it in 1993 at an estate auction of an old friend.

Thank you for your time. Daisie

Answer:
Daisie, your little teapot is part of the Gypsy Trail Hostess Ware line and it was made for about two years. It is listed in an April 1940 catalog and continues on through the January 1942 catalog. But it is not included in the June 1942 catalog, so production had ceased by that time. The April 1940 catalog is the earliest we have for the Hostess Ware line. We believe it marks the introduction of the Hostess Ware pieces but are not certain.

The 1940 catalog refers to your teapot as "Streamlined". This teapot was made in two sizes: 2 cup and 5 cup. The catalog also lists three other items in the Streamlined shape: water jug, covered casserole (in two sizes), and covered ice box jug. All were available in the four traditional Gypsy Trail "deep" colors (blue, orange, yellow and turquoise) as well as pastel pink and pastel green.

The 2 cup version of this teapot is more readily found today than the 5 cup. I would place the value of a pink 2 cup Streamlined teapot in excellent condition in the $40 to $60 range. Your description does not mention the condition of your teapot. The photo does not show any obvious chips or cracks, but if such damage exists the value of the teapot will drop significantly. The photo does reveal significant crazing in the glaze. Some collectors find crazing to be attractive; others do not. Personally I prefer pieces without crazing so I would value your teapot $20 to $25 lower than the range given above. But another collector could see the crazing as a positive rather than a negative and be willing to pay more. In the end, value is in the eyes of the beholder.

Larry

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Serving Plate

Question:{mosimage}
I found this (serving) plate at a thrift shop. Fell in love with the colors. The back of the plate has a red bird, with the word REDWING creating the wings and HANDPAINTED seperating the body from the wings. I was told that the word handpainted may be an indication that it really wasn’t? Is this a real Red Wing? and if so, is there any value to it. The plate does have a very small chip on the edge, that has caused the plate to take on a slight change in color about a half inch into the plate at the chip. You can’t see the chip, but you can feel it. Thank you for any help you can give me. Joyce

Answer:
Joyce, your plate was indeed made by Red Wing. The name of the pattern is Morning Glory. This pattern was made in two colors: Morning Glory Pink and Morning Glory Blue. Yours is obviously the pink version.

Take a closer look at the mark on the back of your plate. The logo is a not a bird, it is a stylized wing. And since the color is red (or at least dark pink) it’s a RED WING, thus making it a play on the company name as well as an extension of the famous red wing used for many years on Red Wing stoneware. The RED WING letters form the feathers on the end of the wing. "Handpainted" is included because handpainted dinnerware was a Red Wing claim to fame. Most of their competition turned to other ways to decorate their dinnerware that were less labor-intensive and thus less expensive. This logo was used on Red Wing dinnerware throughout most of the 1950s.

Morning Glory is not considered a "hot" pattern by collectors, thus common serving pieces such as your plate do not have great value. The chip and discoloration on your plate significantly reduces the value because plates in excellent condition are readily available. The size of your plate was not provided; the plate in your photo could be a dinner, salad or bread & butter plate. In excellent condition these plates would be worth $5 to $15 apiece; with the described damage the values would be half or less.
Thanks

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Appraisals for Insurance

Question:
This question is for all of the experts since all of you have collections worthy of being insured. We live in an area devoid of anyone who has enough knowledge of Red Wing products to be able to give a value for insurance purposes. The foremost antique appraiser in the area has said outright that she doesn’t know much, if anything, about Red Wing. How then do we provide a statement of value that an insurance company would accept? Book value, eBay, RWCS auctions, something else? Charlotte

Answer:
I certainly don’t consider myself an expert on the subject but I’m not shy about sharing my opinions. Very few Red Wing collectors have had a formal appraisal of their collections. For most of us the cost of the appraisal exceeds the value gained. Very valuable pieces (more than $1000) might warrant an appraisal, but for most Red Wing items market value can be established in other ways.

The correspondent is on the right track. Auctions, sales, eBay, pricing books are all ways to establish market value. An actual sale of an item is a better indicator of value than a listing in a book. Generally "book value" is acceptable but sometimes the book can undervalue an item significantly. Consider saving (printout or save electronically) an eBay listing for an item that sells higher than book value. Auction results are good; an insurer would probably give more credence to a results price list from the auctioneer than one written in by hand during the auction.

The most important concern is to document ownership of your collection. I have every item we own listed on a spreadsheet which includes a detailed description of the item along with condition, date purchased and price paid. I keep a copy at home and on a disc at work. If our home is destroyed I’ll have a record of what we own. Photos and/or videos of your collection are also essential. While it would be a hassle, market value can always be established after the fact.

Larry

I agree, photo’s and documentation are most important. Book values would be ok for average items, one of a kind-rare, may be a little different for insurance. Steve n Rose

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