Red Wing, MN― A 30 gallon salt glaze crock with two leaves brought the highest bid at this year’s Red Wing Collectors Society (RWCS) Auction on July 7. Although unsigned, its perfect condition drove the bidding to $5,000.
Annual RWCS Convention brought more than 1,500 visitors to the city of Red Wing from July 6-9 to buy, sell and learn more about the lines of Red Wing stoneware, art pottery and dinnerware.
Other items of interest in this year’s auction, which was operated by Houghton’s Auction Service, included a 2 gallon Ice Water cooler (mint), $2,600; 12 gallon salt glaze leaf crock (mint), $1,900; 1977 RWCS Commemorative (mint), $1900; 5 gallon double-handled advertising jug with birchleaves and “Music Hall Bathhouse, Excelsior Springs” advertising (chip and manufacturing flaw), $1,075.
For notable art pottery items, two #1147 Engobe busts (both mint) brought $600 and $575 each, respectively. Other top lots included a #571 Rumrill nude Athenian footed bowl, $400; #672 orange and green Chromoline covered candy (mint), $375; and a brushware hanging pot with embossed acorns and leaves, $210.
One of the top dinnerware lots consisted of more than 100 pieces of Tampico dinnerware, $550. A Jack Frost cookie jar (mint) brought $450; two hand-painted harlequin bowls brought $375 (mint) and $130 (chip and hairline), respectively. One of the neatest dinnerware lots in the auction was a 16-piece set of Charstone Bleu dinnerware and original brochure. The pieces had never been removed from their original box – not even for the auction. It brought $95.
The auction, which had about 280 items, brought nearly $80,000 in total sales.
RWCS members had a wide variety of activities to attend during Convention including a number of educational sessions, a “Crock Hunt” scavenger hunt around town and a special display room where members showed rare items and created their own unique displays for the education and enjoyment of attendees. Other events throughout the week included the annual business meeting, the Potter’s Picnic, and the always anticipated Saturday Show & Sale. Members also bought and sold items throughout the week in the parking lot at Pottery Place Mall. Nearly 200 volunteers helped make this year’s Convention a success.
Topping the news from this year’s annual business meeting were the inductions of longtime RWCS members Steve Showers and Dennis Nygaard into the RWCS Hall of Fame. Both men, who have each dug pottery shards in the Red Wing Pottery Dump for more than 30 years, were recognized for their many contributions to enhancing the knowledge of Red Wing stoneware collectors as a whole through the countless discoveries they’ve made.
Ronald C. Schirmer, Ph.D. from Minnesota State University at Mankato kicked off Convention with his keynote presentation on ancient pottery from the Red Wing area. Other topics of educational sessions included an orientation for first timers, demonstrations by a working potter from Ephraim Pottery “throwing” pieces on a wheel, Red Wing 101, recent finds from the old pottery dump, Red Wing dinnerware, Pennsylvania’s Sherwood Brothers pottery, Red Wing Saffronware and using Facebook to enhance your collecting experience. The RWCS Foundation also held an info session about its plans to acquire a new, permanent home for the Red Wing Pottery Museum.
The year’s commemorative, which could be purchased only by Society members, was a miniature 4 gallon salt glaze churn. Two limited-edition commemoratives were also produced. These were mixed in with the regular commemoratives and all commemoratives were packaged in sealed boxes, so a small number of members were fortunate enough to get one. Of the 3,300 pieces made, 2965 had a cobalt target decoration, 300 had a butterfly and 35 had a hand-drawn bird.
Another unique aspect of the RWCS Convention was the participation of the younger generation through the KidsView program. The Society is on the leading edge of creating engaging and educational ways to get the younger generations involved in collecting. The focus on these RWCS members is an important part of the vision of the Society to ensure its continued existence and growth. Many interactive and challenging activities and seminars were offered for children of all ages, such as learning how to bid at an auction, what to look for in an antique, and several hands-on pottery creation projects.
To further complement KidsView, a new program was introduced at this year’s Convention geared towards helping young Red Wing collectors ages 15 to 20 to grow their interest in Red Wing. Participants learned more about Red Wing, developed new friendships, participated in hands-on activities and visited with dealers who were set up in the Pottery Place parking lot.
The Red Wing Collectors Society was founded in 1977 in Red Wing, Minn. and is devoted to educating people about all American pottery. There are more than 4,000 members worldwide. The Red Wing Potteries had diverse pottery lines that included stoneware, dinnerware and art pottery. For more information or to become a member, call the RWCS business office at 800-977-7927, e-mail email@example.com or log on to www.redwingcollectors.org.