RWCS Gears up for MidWinter – Feb. 8-10 – Des Moines, IA


RED WING, MN. – Lovers of Red Wing stoneware and pottery will have the opportunity to quench their thirst for that next great treasure when they attend the Red Wing Collectors Society’s (RWCS) Annual MidWinter GetTogether in Des Moines from Feb. 8-10.

The RWCS is devoted to those who collect a diverse line of crocks, jugs, churns, dinnerware and art pottery manufactured in Red Wing from the 1880s to 1960s. Hundreds of people from around the country are expected to attend the February event, which will help tie collectors over until the next RWCS National Convention in Red Wing in July. These two events serve as great opportunities for members to buy and sell Red Wing and learn about the history of the potteries that once operated in Red Wing, their diverse production lines and the impact they had on the American pottery industry.

The MidWinter GetTogether includes a number of other organized activities like a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8. The theme of this year’s event is “Wild, Wild West: The Red Wing Watering Hole”.  Attendees are encouraged to don their cowboy hats, leather chaps, spurs and over-sized belt buckles to take part in the fun.

Highlighting this year’s event will be a keynote presentation from RWCS member and longtime Red Wing Pottery Dump Digger Dennis Nygaard, who will show and describe many of the new finds he’s made over the past year-and-a-half, which has been one of his most productive periods since he began digging in the dump in 1980.

More educational sessions will be held for members following the keynote presentations, including a discussion from the RWCS Foundation, which announced on Dec. 28 that it had officially purchased a portion of the Pottery Place Annex building in Red Wing, MN to house the new Red Wing Pottery Museum. Other educational topics will include an introduction to Red Wing dinnerware, the history of Boone, Iowa’s Moingona Pottery and the 1920 art pottery experiment by Iowa State College (now Iowa State University). In addition, the RWCS KidsView education program will have activities that will teach younger collectors about Red Wing’s “Wild West” story.

Many attendees sell Red Wing wares from their hotel rooms during the MidWinter GetTogether. A formal Show & Sale will run from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9 followed by an auction at 6 p.m. – both of which are open to the public. Whether you’re new to collecting Red Wing or an experienced collector, there’s something for everyone at the MidWinter GetTogether.

All activities will be held at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, 4800 Merle Hay Road, in Des Moines, Iowa.  For more information on the MidWinter GetTogether, or the annual Red Wing Collectors Society Summer Convention, which is slated for July 11-13 in Red Wing, Minn., log on to

Annual membership in the Red Wing Collectors Society costs only $25 and includes six 16-page full-color newsletters mailed to your home throughout the year. 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 or log on to You can also join the RWCS on Facebook and follow it on Twitter at

Bob Downs, Maple City Pottery, dies

The Red Wing Collectors Society is saddened by the death of “Master Potter” Robert Downs of Maple City Pottery.

Since 2010, Bob Downs and his team at Maple City Pottery have produced the Red Wing Collectors Society annual Convention Commemorative. In addition, Downs has given several educational seminars at both at the RWCS MidWinter GetTogether and National Convention. He shared his knowledge about pottery production and the commemorative production process.

Obituary Notice published on

Daily Review Atlas (Monmouth, IL)
Posted Nov 21, 2012 @ 12:23 PM

Monmouth, IL – Robert Downs, 56, of Monmouth, passed away 10:20 p.m. Nov. 15, 2012, at the Monmouth Nursing Home in Monmouth.

Robert was born Oct. 3, 1956, in Moline, the son of Robert LeRoy and Darlene Alice Mitchell Downs. Robert was raised in the Quad Cities, attended local schools and graduated from Central High School in Davenport, Iowa. Robert was married previously to Cheryl Lynn Seligman.

Robert was a potter all of his working life and began by opening and operating a pottery shop near Davenport, Iowa. Later he did the same for a number of years in Wilton, Iowa. He then went to work at Rowe Pottery in Cambridge, Wisconsin, for five years until he came to Monmouth and opened Maple City Pottery which he operated for 25 years. Robert was a “Master Potter” all of his life. He also loved to dance and enjoyed classic cars.

He is survived by his sons, Michael W. (fiance Megan) Downs, of Macomb, and Robert L. Downs of Monmouth; his father, Robert L. Downs, of Rock Island; and one aunt, Marilyn (Merlin Swanson of Rock Island. He is preceded in death by his mother.
A memorial service is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday at Turnbull Funeral Home in Monmouth. Cremation has been accorded. Fellowship will follow the service at Robert’s residence in Monmouth. For more information, please visit

RWCS Foundation to participate in MN Give to the Max Day – Nov. 15th

Red Wing, MN –

MN Give to the Max Day is this Thursday, November 15th!  This will be our second year of participating and we would LOVE to top last year’s total of $6,135. GiveMN is a is a collaborative venture to transform philanthropy in Minnesota by growing overall giving and moving more of it online. It was designed and launched by the Minnesota Community Foundation in 2009 in partnership with 14 other funders.

This year, the Red Wing Collectors Society Foundation Board Members, have pledged $3,500 dollars to match any funds that we receive. This year our goal is to reach $10,000!  If everyone could just give a little, just $10, $20, or more then we would be on our way. When we get to the $3,500 mark, the board will then add their $3,500 which gives us a total of $7,000; putting us at 2/3 of the way there. Please help us reach our goal; I know we can do it!

You can give any time by clicking on the Give MN logo below; it will take you to our donation page. Here you can read about us, click the donate button and it will easily walk you through the process. 


If you do not feel secure in using a computer, you can call either Larry Peterson at 612-719-6113, Dave Hallstrom 612-718-0331 or Diane Hallstrom 612-247-9876. All three of us will be set up at the Red Wing YMCA on Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and we will be happy to get your information so you can send us a check in the mail. 

Please help to make your Red Wing Pottery Museum a huge success. Hope to hear from you soon and thank you very much!


Red Wing Collectors Society Foundation Board

Dave Hallstrom, President
Carmen Selfridge, Vice President
Barb Brown, Secretary
Wayne Miller, Treasurer
Dave Kuffel
Gary Tyc
Larry Peterson
Larry Roschen
Louise Schleich
Steve Brown
Sue Jones Tagliapietria
Diane Hallstrom, Curator

The mission of the Red Wing Pottery Museum is to preserve Red Wing and other American pottery and to expand the public’s awareness of these wares, not only as an art form but also as a historical reflection of American culture.

The Red Wing Pottery Museum first opened its doors in the historic pottery district of Red Wing, MN in July, 2001. The museum is situated in a retail mall setting, which is located in the original Minnesota Stoneware building dating back to the late 1800’s.

After 12 years at this location, the Red Wing Pottery Museum is thrilled to be moving ahead with the purchase of a 13,000 sq. ft. building located close by known as The Pottery Annex Building.

We have received some wonderful donations which we have on display. The Schleich Red Wing Pottery Museum, of Lincoln, NE, will soon be donating over 5,000 items; “bringing these items home, back to Red Wing, MN.” This will help to create a World Class Red Wing Pottery Museum; allowing us to display a huge spectrum of the clay products produced in Red Wing, MN.

2012 RWCS Chapter Commemoratives

Each year the Chapters of the RWCS produce their own commemorative like the national organization. These pieces are also replicas of pieces actually made by the potteries in Red Wing, MN. The pieces are available only to the Chapter members.

The RWCS business office receives these Chapters commemoratives through the annual chapter exchange held at the Annual Business Meeting during the Annual Convention in July. The collection can be viewed at the RWCS business office located in Pottery Place, 3rd Floor, in Red Wing. MN.

To learn more about the RWCS Chapters visit the Chapter Page or the RWCS’s  Commemorative Page.

Top Row Left to Right:

Siouxland Chapter: 2011 Beehive Jug with Advertising
45 regular + 3 special produced
The jug features advertising for the Owsley Mercantile in Watertown, SD. They were wholesalers of Red Wing Stoneware; the actual jug is on display in the Red Wing Pottery Museum. The specials were a miniature of the 7 inch shoulder bowls with Owsley Advertising on the bottom.
Produced by: W.A. Painter Pottery Works

Trails West Chapter: 2012 Hex Bowl
49 regulars, 2 specials produced
The regular commemorative is yellow and the specials were blue and white sponge. The advertising in the bottom “Mix with us Trails West Chapter 2002- 2012” commemorates the 10th Anniversary of the Chapter.
Produced by: W.A. Painter Pottery Works

Iowa Chapter: 2012 10 gallon Birch Leaf Crock with Advertising
170 regulars, 5 specials
The replica features the advertising from J.B Dakin General Merchandise Johnson’s Cider Vinegar A Specialty of Schaller, IA.
Produced by: W.A. Painter Pottery Works

Indiana Red Wingers: 2012 Saffronware Mixing Bowl with Advertising
25 regular, 2 specials produced
The bowl features banding around the middle and the advertising “It Pays to Mix with Indiana Wingers 2012” on the bottom of the bowl.
Produced by: Strawtown Pottery

Wolverine Chapter: 2012 Threshing Jug with Advertising
24 regular + no specials produced
A replica of the Browarski and Abel …Sole Owners of Houghton Club Rye threshing jug from Houghton, MI.  This threshing jug is a “big beauty” because of the front AND back stamped seven line advertising oval and four birch leaves. 
Produced by: W.A. Painter Pottery Works

Bottom Row Left to Right:

Sunshine State RedWingers: Sponge Bird Bath
21 regular + no specials produced
This is spongeware 2-piece bird bath. The base includes the chapter logo.
Produced by: W.A. Painter Pottery

Golden State Red Wing Chapter: 25 gallon Salt Glaze Jug
55 regulars, 5 specials, 5 hostess gifts produced
The commemorative is to recognize the 25th Anniversary of the Chapter (1986 – 2011). In addition to the specials which were blue and white, the Chapter also made hostess pieces without the logo.
Produced by: Robinson California Pottery

Gopher Chapter: 2012 1 gallon Brown top Jug
50 regulars, 1 special
The brown top hand turned jug features a US mapping with markings for Red Wing, New York and Cuba and the “Saving for a Wet Day”. The bank has a fired-shut cork. Coins were placed in the bank through the slit in the top of the jug. To retrieve your money, you had to break the jug. The special was an all-white jug.
Produced by: Jasper Bond

Siouxland Chapter: 2012 Gypsy Trail Plain Pattern Duck Ashtray
24 regular + 3 specials
This commemorative is a replica ashtray from the Gypsy Trail Pattern shape 143 and was made from 1937 to 1938. The commemorative came in wood box. The specials are the same piece but glazed white.
Produced by: Reiver LLC

Wisconsin Chapter: 2011 Salt Glaze Pitcher with paper label advertising
24 regular + no specials produced
The commemorative features a paper label from The Bengal Mustard Company from Middleton, Wis. The specials were all different color combinations.
Produced by: Cambridge Stoneware Co.

Lewis & Clark Chapter: 2011 Brown Top Fancy Jug
24 regular + no specials produced
The commemorative includes advertising from the Atlantic Bar in Butte, MT. The bar claimed to be the longest bar in the world from 1939 to 1969.
Produced by: Artists in the Park 

Southwest Red Winger: Sponge Band Batter Bowl
29 regular + 1 specials produced
The bowl is 1/3 ORIGINAL SIZE and has the chapter logo in the bottom. The special commemorative has an all sponge decoration.
Produced by: Artists in the Park

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 or log on to Find the RWCS on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

2012 Commemorative Unveiled

Chromoline Vase shape 676

2012 Commemorative Version A, B, C from left to right

In 2012, the Red Wing Collectors Society produced three different versions of its Commemorative. Version “A” is 90% of the total made, version “B” is 9% and version “C” consists of 36 pieces to match the 36th Annual RWCS Convention. No one knew which version they were going to receive until they selected a sealed box at the Convention or received their piece in the mail.

The 2012 Commemorative is a #676 Chromoline vase. Red Wing’s “Chromoline Handpainted” series of art pottery appeared in only three company catalogs – fall of 1960 and spring and fall of 1961. Its sweeping lines and shapes with bold, distinctive styling embody the Eames Era of Modern Design, which generally describes the post war era from around 1948 to 1964.

The 15 different shapes in the Chromoline series included covered candy dishes, vases, compotes, candlesticks and ash trays. Although a couple pieces are known to exist with one-of-a-kind experimental glaze colors, Chromoline was made in only two glaze combinations: rust (orange)/green, and blue/yellow.

Version “A” has the orange/green glazing, Version “B” has the blue/yellow colors and Version “C” has a  gray, pink and rust glaze combination, which mimics an experimental M3006 vase that is on display at the Schleich Red Wing Pottery Museum in Lincoln, Neb.
The Commemoratives are all ink-stamped on the bottom and read “Red Wing Collectors Society Convention, July 12-14, 2012”. The Commemoratives were produced by Maple City Pottery in Monmouth, Illinois. The vases were cast in a two-piece mold and hand-painted.

2012 Special Commemoratives

The 2012 Special Commemorative is a #671 Chromoline covered candy dish. Each of the 18 Special Commemoratives were hand-turned and hand-painted; nine have the orange/green glaze combination and nine have the blue/yellow combination. They were given out as awards for displays, prizes and various drawings including a new drawing at the Thursday Night Auction. In addition, one was auctioned in the Commemorative Room.

2012 Kids View version with black light



KidsView once again commissioned 15 pieces. The KidsView vases were cold-painted by hand and glow under a black light. These pieces were auctioned off in a variety of ways to raise money for KidsView activities.



2012 Commemorative Triple Version

35th Anniversary Celebration Sponsors

The RWCS wishes to thank the following sponsors

for their support of the 35th Anniversary Celebration Convention

activities and events

Annual Crock Hunt Sponsors

St. James Hotel
Red Wing Area Seniors/ Annedee’s Closet
Hanisch Bakery
Pete’s Kitchen Corner
Bed Bath Treasures
Goodhue County Historical Society
Christian Book Store
Josephson’s Clothing
The Subhouse
Red Wing Arts Association
Whimsy’s Closet
Life’s Little Oasis
Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce
Marie’s Underground Grill & Tap House
Liberty’s Restaurant and Lounge 

RWCS “Charter Member Breakfast” Sponsors

California Chapter, in memory of George Stein
Sunshine State Red Wingers Chapter
An Event to Remember
Café 149 

RWCS “Crock Fest”  presented by

 Platinum Sponsor:
Larry’s Jugs
Hallstrom’s Florist
Sycamore Antiques

Gold Sponsor
Treasure Island Resort & Casino
First State Bank Red Wing
California Chapter, in memory of George Stein
Family of George Stein

Silver Sponsors
City of Red Wing
St. James Hotel
Goodhue County Historical Society
White Rock Bank
Red Wing Pottery and Shops
Red Wing Downtown Mainstreet
*Clean up provided by Red Wing Hockey Association

RWCS Convention underwriting provided by the following Red Wing Businesses

35th Anniversary Platinum Sponsor

Hanisch Bakery

35th Anniversary Gold Sponsor

St. James Merchants Association
Nicols Inn

35th Anniversary Silver Sponsor

Treasure Island Resort & Casino
Josephson’s Clothing
Vogel & Gorman PLC
Red Wing Pottery and Shops
Simple Abundance
Red Wing Shoe Co.
Best Western Rivertown Inn and Suites
Red Wing Stoneware
Red Wing Visitor and Convention Bureau
Red Wing Golf Club
Third Floor Antiques
Red Wing Confectionary
Uffda Shop
Hill Street Antiques
Perkins Restaurant & Bakery
Provenzano’s Ristorante
Red Wing Shoe Store
Corner Medical
Moments On Main
Ferrin’s Furniture Co
Liquor King
Retro Specs
Inspired Home & Flower Studio
West End Liquor
Wiederholt’s Supper Club
Pottery Place Antiques
McDonald’s of Red Wing
Randy Restaurant
Al’s Antiques
Salvation Army
Countryside Antiques
Red Wing Trolley Company
Brickhouse Pub & Grill
Tittle Real Estate
Cut Above Home
Bev’s Café
Clayton’s Hallmark

Auction Manager, Todd Avery, announces a few of 2012 Auction Highlights

Stoneware and pottery are in the air, as another RWCS Convention is almost upon us. Memories of last year’s wonderful event still linger in our minds and we set our wondering imaginations to what will be in store this year.

The Thursday RWCS Auction is coming together with a nice variety of offerings. This year’s event is shaping up to have about the same number of lots as last year (250+). As always, there are some really incredible pieces in the lineup, including TWO signed 30 gallon salt glaze butterfly crocks. Yes, two! The photos shown here are a few of the items that have been submitted. This may be your year to add that special piece of art pottery, dinnerware, or stoneware to your collection. And, what better place to do it than at the RWCS Thursday Auction!? I hope everyone remembers that this is your Auction. Every piece is from a member or a chapter, and by attending and bidding, you are directly showing your support for fellow RWCS members.

The Auction Check-in is from noon to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11 and 8 to 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 12. The earlier you can be there to submit your piece, the better. Auction viewing will run from 12:15 to 4:15 p.m. Thursday and the event will start at 4:30 p.m.

I encourage everyone to come early and bid often. I hope to see you there!

-Todd Avery, RWCS Auction Manager