Hotel China

Question: {mosimage}
I have a few Red Wing dishes I picked up at an antique store. Can you tell me what year they were made in. I love Red Wing pottery and was just curious about the history and what their value might be, they are plain but beautiful and make a wonderful addition to my dinnerware. Thanks Jeanie

Your photo shows a white piece from Red Wing’s Hotel or Restaurant China line. This was a line of sturdy dinnerware sold to restaurants, not to the general public. Because it was made for restaurant use rather than for the home, the pieces available are somewhat different than those available in most dinnerware patterns. Pitcher, salt & pepper shakers, casserole, butter dish, gravy boat and vegetable bowl are among the "standard" dinnerware accessories not made in the Hotel or Restaurant line. But the line did include restaurant-oriented pieces such as the lobster dish, pot pie bowl, bouillon cup, ash tray and individual teapot.

Standard colors in Hotel & Restaurant China were white or beige fleck. Colored trim lines around the edges could be added for an additional charge. I’ve seen these in green, yellow, red and blue. A customer could also order custom artwork to be hand painted on their dishes, and at least two restaurants did so. Sweden House plates show a home (probably a Swedish home) along with frills in shades of blue, while Diamond Jim’s plates have old-time automobiles in black, red and pink. A couple of plates made for the Thunderbird Motel have also surfaced; due to the small number these were probably samples rather than production pieces.

Hotel or Restaurant China was introduced in the early to mid-1960s. Dates are uncertain because the line was not sold to the general public and thus is not included in dealer price lists. Values for most of the undecorated white or beige fleck pieces are rather low, in the $5 to $10 range for standard plates and bowls. Unusual pieces such as the lobster dish are more valuable — $25 to $40. The lobster dish is the only piece that was available in orange, and an orange lobster dish would be worth more than white or beige fleck. Teapots ($20-$40), creamers & sugars ($20-$30), and cups & saucers ($15-$25) have some additional value because some collectors seek one from each Red Wing pattern.