2012 Convention Review

30 Gallon Butterfly Crock Brings
$12,750 at Red Wing Collectors Society Auction

Red Wing, MN – A 30 gallon salt glaze crock with a gorgeous cobalt butterfly decoration was the top piece this year’s Red Wing Collectors Society (RWCS) Auction on July 12. In addition to being back-stamped “Red Wing Stoneware Company,” it had rare “Made by the Red Wing Stoneware Co., Red Wing, Minnesota” cobalt stenciling and was in excellent condition, helping it draw the highest bid at the RWCS Auction since 2007.

The RWCS celebrated its 35th Anniversary at this year’s Convention, which brought more than 1,500 visitors to the city of Red Wing from July 11-14 to buy, sell and learn more about the lines of Red Wing stoneware, art pottery and dinnerware.

30 gallon Red Wing salt glaze butterfly crock was the top piece at the RWCS Auction drawing a high bid of $12,750.

Other items of interest in this year’s auction, which was operated by Houghton’s Auction Service, included a 10 gallon salt glaze crock with dark double leaves (mint), $1,950; 6 gallon salt glaze double leaf churn (mint), $1,375; 1 gallon crock with “Take Me to the Big Store, Flandreau, SD” advertising (rim chip), $625; and a 2 gallon crock misprinted with multiple numbers (mint), $1500.

For notable art pottery items, a M3013 Decorator Line vase with Crystalline Green glaze sold for $400, a #212 Nokomis vase sold for $540 and a brushware Cherub vase sold for $450. All three items were without damage.

One of the top dinnerware lots consisted of a 10-piece popcorn set Red Wing made for the Hamm’s Brewery, which gave it away to business partners and company friends (mint), $1400. A 20-inch platter in Red Wing’s Chuck Wagon pattern sold for $160 and a factory test plate in the Nassau pattern sold for $300.

The auction, which consisted of nearly 290 items, brought more than $80,000 in total sales.

Highlighting this year’s Convention were several new events and activities scheduled to help celebrate the Society’s 35th anniversary. For example, a free breakfast was held on Thursday, July 12 for RWCS members to recognize the Society’s charter members. Other events that day included a balloon release honoring departed members, Lunch & Learn educational sessions and Shared Interest Groups for collectors to network and share photos of their collections.

On Friday, July 13, a time capsule was buried at the North Star Monument in Red Wing’s historic pottery district and a pig roast lunch complete with anniversary cake made by Red Wing’s popular Hanisch Bakery was served at Red Wing High School. Crockfest – a festival featuring food from local vendors, live music by the Cruisers, kids activities and fun for the whole Red Wing community – was held that evening at Red Wing’s Central Park.

In addition to these new activities, events throughout the week included the annual business meeting, a “Crock Hunt” scavenger hunt around the historic Mississippi River town, and the always anticipated Saturday Show & Sale. There was also a special display room at Red Wing High School, where members created their own unique displays for the education and enjoyment of attendees, combined with some fun and creative competition. Members bought and sold items throughout the week in the parking lot at Pottery Place Mall. About 200 volunteers helped make this year’s Convention a success, and Hannes Kuehn, who worked at the Red Wing Potteries as a mold maker in 1956, officially kicked off the Convention with a keynote presentation on July 12.

To raise support and awareness for its new museum space, the RWCS Foundation held several events on Wednesday, July 11 – the largest of which was a Wine & Cheese fundraiser that featured silent and live auctions and live music by musician Karl Burke. The RWCS Foundation Board in April signed a purchase agreement for the north half of the Pottery Place Annex building, which is about 10,000 sq. ft. larger than the current Red Wing Pottery Museum located across the parking lot in Pottery Place. The RWCS Foundation took in more than $30,000 in donations over the course of the week.

The year’s commemorative, which could be purchased only by RWCS members, was a miniature mid-century modern Red Wing Chromoline art pottery vase. 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 3,236 pieces made, 2900 were orange and green, 300 were blue and green and 36 were gray and pink.

Attendees had a good selection of topics to learn about during the educational sessions held on July 13, including an orientation for first timers, Red Wing salt glaze, Red Wing 101, recent finds from the old pottery dump, Red Wing dinnerware, history of the villages surrounding the Goodhue County clay pits, Minnesota’s New Ulm stoneware and digging old privies in search of antiques and artifacts. In addition, the RWCS Foundation held an info session on all its exciting new developments and what it has planned for the coming years.

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, young Red Wing collectors ages 13 to 20 participated in the Young Collectors program. Activities included a hands-on learning opportunity led by Mary Lou Ista, who worked as a painter at the Red Wing Potteries in 1949, and a tour of Red Wing Oakwood Cemetery, were many people associated with the Red Wing and Minnesota stoneware companies are buried.

Red Wing made this popcorn set for the Hamm’s Brewery in the late 1950s. Not available to the public, Hamm’s gave the sets away to business partners and friends of the brewery as holiday gifts. It sold for $1400.

The dark, ornate cobalt leaves on this Red Wing 10 gallon salt glaze crock pushed the bidding to $1950.

This Albany slip stoneware cat figure was probably made on a potter’s lunch hour. It took a surprising $1075 winning bid for the buyer to take it home.

This pristine 2 gallon bottom-signed straight-sided Ice Water cooler with blue birchleaves sold for $1300.

Designed by artist Charles Murphy, this Red Wing M3013 vase in Crystalline Green glaze sold for $400.

Red Wing salt glaze churns with multiple leaves are hard to find, so this 6 gallon churn was a pretty good buy at $1375.

This 30 gallon Red Wing salt glaze butterfly crock was the top piece at the RWCS Auction on July 12 at Red Wing High School, drawing a high bid of $12,750.

The gavel fell at $1500 when the bidding war ended on this misprinted 2 gallon Red Wing crock w/multiple numbers.

At 9 ½ inches tall, this #212 Red Wing Nokomis vase sold for $540

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 director@redwingcollectors.org or log on to www.RedWingCollectors.org. Find the RWCS on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.