2016 Commemorative Released

The 2016 Red Wing Collectors Society Commemorative is a stoneware advertising mini jug. Red Wing mini jugs with dated ink stamps can be found from the early 1900s through the 1930s. They were made to commemorate meetings and conventions, promote liquor dealers and other businesses, serve as Red Wing souvenirs and even celebrate a college football rivalry.

In 2016, the RWCS produced three different versions of its Commemorative. Version A advertises the RWCS 40th Annual Convention.  Versions B and C have vintage ads for conventions in Red Wing. Version B is the Redman in 1927 and C is the Postal Workers in 1939.

Version A made up 90% of the total production. Version B was 9%, and 40 Version C pieces were made to match the 40th Convention.

The jugs were slip cast in a three-piece mold. Jug handles were applied by hand. The decoration is a decal that was fired on. Production was done at Rowe Pottery in Cambridge, WI.

The RWCS also produced an accessory piece. For the first time it could be purchased along with mail order Commemoratives. In the past, members had to attend Convention to purchase an accessory. The accessory is a 2 1/4″ brass die-cut challenge coin.

The 2016 Special Commemorative is a mini shoulder jug. Eighteen jugs were hand turned. Half are decorated with a Union Stoneware oval and the other half has a “Souvenir of Red Wing” stamp. The Union Stoneware jugs were given to display winners. The “Souvenir of Red Wing” jugs were used for various drawings and prizes. One of each was silent auctioned in the Commemorative Room at Convention.

A small number of jugs were hand-decorated to represent the club’s youth programs. These jugs contain a coin slot on top. The pieces were auctioned off and proceeds benefited the youth programs.

Red Wing Collectors Society to Celebrate 40th Annual Convention – July 7-9

Red Wing, MN – Fads come and go and interests often fade away, so it’s no surprise that very few collectors’ clubs have been around for 40 years. The Red Wing Collectors Society (RWCS), however, bucks the trend. The organization will mark its 40th Annual Convention “Ruby Red Wing” when more than 1000 members assemble in Red Wing during the week of July 4th. The 2016 Convention will kick off a year of celebration, as the club’s 40th anniversary will be recognized in 2017.

RWCS President Larry Birks attributes the club’s long-term success to Red Wing’s diverse product lines and the strong bonds that RWCS members share.

“The stoneware and pottery companies of Red Wing made such a wide variety of wares between 1877 and 1967 that they appeal to collectors of completely different periods,” Birks says. “Whether a person gravitates to country primitives, Arts & Crafts, Art Deco or Mid-Century Modern, Red Wing made it. And as we say, the stoneware and pottery is what first brings collectors to Red Wing and the RWCS, but the camaraderie, friendships and the beautiful City of Red Wing are what keeps them coming back.”

Like most antique collecting clubs, attracting young new collectors has been a challenge for the RWCS. A bright spot in the organizations recruiting efforts has come through the RWCS Facebook Chapter, which is a highly active page where recent finds are shared, questions are answered and pieces are bought and sold by new and advanced collectors alike. To join the conversation, visit www.facebook.com/groups/RWCSChapter/.

The RWCS Convention will unofficially begin on Wednesday, July 6 when the RWCS Foundation holds its “Wine-ing for Red Wing” fundraiser from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Pottery Museum of Red Wing at 240 Harrison Street, Red Wing. Admission for the fundraising event is $20; it will feature food and beverages, silent and live auctions and live music by local Red Wing band Flatt and Square.

The RWCS Convention officially kicks off the next day with a welcome from the city’s mayor and a keynote presentation on the earthenware made in Whitewater, WI, which predates Red Wing’s earliest salt glaze stoneware by about 20 years. The official RWCS members-only auction, which features more than 250 pieces consigned by members, will take place in the Red Wing High School gym at 4:30 that evening.

RWCS members will also have their lineup of usual favorites to attend during Convention, including street sales held at Red Wing’s historic Pottery Place, auctions held on Tuesday and Wednesday, educational seminars and the official RWCS Show & Sale at Red Wing High School that begins for members at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 9. It opens FREE to the public from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

In addition to these activities, the 5th annual Crock Fest celebration will feature music, food and fun from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 8 at the Pottery Museum of Red Wing.In addition to its regular displays, the museum will introduce its “General Store” seasonal exhibit to collectors for the first time.

Other Convention activities include a “Crock Hunt” scavenger hunt around Red Wing, the opportunity to create a piece of pottery with local potter Richard Spiller, and a special display room at Red Wing High School where members create their own unique displays of Red Wing items for the education and enjoyment of attendees.

An annual commemorative will be unveiled and distributed to members beginning Thursday, July 7. The commemorative piece is a closely guarded secret and there is much speculation as to what the piece will be each year. It is a miniature replica of a Red Wing pottery item with a limited number made. Last year’s commemorative was a stoneware canteen.

The breakout education sessions scheduled for Friday, July 8 at Red Wing High School will offer some of the most diverse topics in quite some time. The presentations are listed below; check out the “Education Seminars” page on the Convention section of the RWCS website for more detailed descriptions.

• Ebb Tide and Ceramastone, Provincial and Concord line patterns (three different sessions) by RWCS Hall of Famers Terry Moe & Larry Roschen.

• Is That Right? Aftermarket Dinnerware & Art Pottery by Display Room Chair Laura Beall.

• Red Wing Art Pottery by Ray Reiss, author of two books on the subject.

• Red Wing Salt Glaze Stoneware (Parts 1 and 2) by RWCS Newsletter Editor Rick Natynski.

• Symbolism on Victorian Era Gravestones by Goodhue County Historical Society Executive Director Dustin Heckman.

• Crafting Beer in the Desirable City: Red Wing’s Brewing History by Scott Kolby, owner and founder of Red Wing Brewery.

• Updates from the Pottery Museum by the RWCS Foundation.

• Privy Digging by RWCS Hall of Famer Steve Showers and fellow digger Mark Youngblood.

• Dump Finds by Red Wing dump diggers Paul Boudin and Connie Mathison.

• Collecting Zinc Glazed Red Wing Stoneware by RWCS Hall of Famer Larry Peterson and Steve Poeschl.

• The River Underground: Finding Red Wing’s Historic Jordan Creek by Goodhue County Historical Society Curator Casey Mathern.

• White Ware & Kitchen Ware From the 1930s by RWCS Hall of Famer Dennis Nygaard.

Another unique aspect of the RWCS Convention is 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. There are many interactive and challenging activities and seminars for children ages 3-12 to get involved in, 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, the RWCS Young Collectors is entering its fourth year of helping Red Wing collectors ages 13 to 20 grow their interest in Red Wing. This is a great opportunity to learn more about Red Wing, develop new friendships through peer-to-peer discussion groups and participate in hands-on activities.

To learn more about all the events and activities of the RWCS Convention, visit the RWCS website event page for the Convention. The RWCS can also be found on Facebook and followed on Twitter.

Annual membership in the Red Wing Collectors Society costs only $35 and includes six 16-page full-color newsletters mailed to your home throughout the year. The RWCS was founded in 1977 in Red Wing and there are more than 4,000 members worldwide. For more information or to become a member, call the RWCS business office at 800-977-7927, e-mail membership@redwingcollectors.org or log on to www.redwingcollectors.org. You can also join the RWCS on Facebook and follow it on Twitter at twitter.com/RWcollectors.

Richard Spiller will offer #40 and Wing for Hands on Class and Custom order at RWCS Convention

Red Wing, MN – Richard Spiller, RWCS Convention Resident Potter, is getting into the #40 spirt with hands-on classes and items for sale. The 2016 Convention “Ruby Red Wing” will be the 40th time that Red Wing Stoneware, Dinnerware, and Art Pottery Collectors will gather in Red Wing, MN.

The Red Wing Collectors Society and local potter Richard Spiller are once again working together at the RWCS Convention. Spillers Hands on Classes are open to all Convention attendees to try create their own memorable #40 or Wing. A limited number will also be able for purchase and custom order for members as well. In addition to these large #40 and Wings that can be used as door decorations and trivets, smaller version ornaments will be available for purchase. Spiller is also working on wing earrings and tie tacks that will be ready in time for the Convention.

A resident of rural Wisconsin, Spiller was educated at Western Michigan University and the University of Wisconsin – Madison. An Emeritus Professor of Art at Eastern Carolina University, Spiller has been a practicing potter and ceramic artist for nearly 50 years. His expertise includes kiln building with firing experience from corn cob raku to Tozan Noboigama and firing to cone 10 reduction. The RWCS has partnered with Richard Spiller since 2012 offering pottery demonstrations, hands on pottery classes, and other educational opportunities.

The Red Wing Collectors Society 40th Convention is slated for July 7-9 in Red Wing, MN at Red Wing High School. The three-day event includes a members-only auction, educational seminars, pottery and stoneware Show and Sale, Displays and much more. Visit the Convention Page to learn more about events and activities.

The RWCS was founded in 1977 in Red Wing and there are more than 3,000 members worldwide. Annual membership in the Red Wing Collectors Society costs only $35 and includes six 16-page full-color newsletters mailed to your home throughout the year. For more information or to become a member, call the RWCS business office at 800-977-7927, e-mail membership@redwingcollectors.org or log on to www.redwingcollectors.org. You can also join the RWCS page on Facebook and follow the group on Twitter at twitter.com/RWcollectors.

Goodhue County History Center to Offer Cemetery Walking Tours During Convention #40

The Goodhue County Historical Society would like to offer a special opportunity for members at the Red Wing Collector’s Society Convention this July.  Gather up your friends or your chapter members and schedule a tour of Oakwood Cemetery!  The tour is appropriate for all age levels and would last 90 minutes.  Tours can be scheduled for July 5, 6, 7, or 10.  Tours can start as early as 8 AM or as late as 7 PM.  Alternate dates and times may be scheduled depending on staff availability.  Cost is $10 per adult and $5 for kids aged 18 or under.  A minimum of five people are preferred for tours to be scheduled.


The Oakwood Cemetery in Red Wing has long served the area as a beautiful and peaceful final resting place for loved ones. Tour through a historic section of the cemetery and visit the graves of many notable Red Wing citizens, including Reverend Joseph Hancock and the Civil War hero A.E. Welch. Learn about Victorian mourning practices, cemetery symbolism, and more.  Along the tour, Red Wing Pottery gravestones will be pointed out.


Contact Dustin Heckman, Executive Director, Goodhue County Historical Society at (651) 388-6024 or via email at director@goodhistory.org.

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Opportunites to Sell at Convention 2016

Have one great piece or many pieces you would like to sell?

We have TWO opportunities at the Convention!

The RWCS Convention this Summer has two great ways for members to sell at the Convention AUCTION and the SHOW & SALE!

Members Only Auction
Every member has the opportunity to submit to the Convention auction on Thursday, July 7 at Red Wing High School. Scott Hardman, our auction manager, strives to put together a great auction of stoneware, dinnerware, and art pottery each year. Simply fill out the auction submission form and send it to the RWCS Office. Photos can be emailed to director@redwingcollectors.org. Have a question about the Auction? Email Scott at auction@redwingcollectors.org or call 209-602-1461.

Show & Sale
Interested in selling a number of pieces? This opportunity is open to all members! From tables to booth spaces, we have any size to meet your needs. Show & Sale is Saturday, July 9 at Red Wing High School. Simply log on to the RWCS site or fill out the contract and send your payment in – Tables are just $45. Have questions about collecting sales tax the Show & Sale page has quick and easy information how that applies to you. Still have questions, contact the office at 800-977-7927 or director@redwingcollectors.org.

Would you like to see the Auction before the preview opens to members? Would you like to see the Show & Sale before it opens? Volunteering is a way for you to do that. Both Show and Sale and Auction need members to volunteer to support these events and make them successful. Consider signing up for a position today on either the Show and Sale or Auction Volunteer Sign Up Pages today!

Auction Submission and Sellers Contract deadline is May 15; but, the deadline has been extended until May 20th! Please consider participating in one or both of these events at the 2016 RWCS Convention July 7-9 in Red Wing!

RWCS Election Information Out

Cast Your RWCS Election Ballot with the Click of a Mouse

The 2016 RWCS election ballot will be hosted online using Ballotteer and accessible via e-mail to all members in good standing. The e-mail members receive will provide instructions on how to login on the balloteer.com website.

Members must vote for each position up for election in order for their ballot to count.If you did not get an email with your login information please contact the RWCS Office.

The RWCS Representatives at Large will announce the election results during Convention at the RWCS Annual Business Meeting on Friday, July 8. The meeting begins at 3:15 p.m. in the Red Wing High School Auditorium.

The election will be open from April 15 through June 30, 2016. Members who don’t have an e-mail address on file may contact the RWCS business office for a paper ballot by calling 800-977-7927 or e-mailing  director@redwingcollectors.org.

RWCS announces MidWinter to Return to Iowa in 2017

RED WING, MN  –  The Red Wing Collectors Society (RWCS) is excited to announce its annual MidWinter GetTogether will return to the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites on Merle Hay Road in Des Moines, February 24-26, 2017.  This is the same location where event was held from 2001 to 2014.

In addition to changing the location, the RWCS has also moved the event to the last weekend of February. Over the past decade, driving conditions and cold temperatures have made it a challenge for many RWCS members to commit to traveling to MidWinter.

“It is our hope that by moving to later in February, the weather will be better and members will travel with confidence to MidWinter in Des Moines next year,” says RWCS President Larry Birks.

The RWCS appreciates the spectacular hospitality of the Badger and Wisconsin chapters during MidWinter’s time in Wisconsin, where the event was held for the past two years. The organization hopes to return to Wisconsin in the future.

“The warm welcome and support of RWCS members in Wisconsin will be remembered by those who attended MidWinter these past two years,” Birks adds.

MidWinter has been an annual event for the RWCS for more than 15 years. It is an opportunity for members to keep their collecting interest and passions burning until the annual RWCS Convention in Red Wing, MN in July. With a theme of “Ruby Red Wing”, the 2016 Convention slated for July 7-9 will celebrate the organization’s 40th Annual Convention.

The RWCS was founded in 1977 in Red Wing and there are more than 3,000 members worldwide. Annual membership in the Red Wing Collectors Society costs only $35 and includes six 16-page full-color newsletters mailed to your home throughout the year. For more information or to become a member, call the RWCS business office at 800-977-7927, e-mail membership@redwingcollectors.org or log on to www.redwingcollectors.org. You can also join the RWCS page on Facebook and follow the group on Twitter at twitter.com/RWcollectors.

Online Registration Now Open – Mailed Commemoratives May Purchase Accessory Piece this Year

Convention 2016 – Red Wing, MN!

Online Registration is now open!

Just announced members ordering mailed commemoratives will also have the opportunity to order an accessory piece this year to be mailed as well!

The total cost is $72 – commemorative $57 and the accessory $15.

Did you order your mailed commemorative already? Call the office 800-977-7927 to add the accessory today!

The 2016 Convention registration is now open. You can either register online or print out the most current registration form via download.

The RWCS Website is your resource for all Convention new and updates; here are the quick links to get you all the information you need:

Convention Home Page
Auction – information and form
Show and Sale – contracts and floor plan
Display – form and rules

Keep checking the website for updates and more information as Convention draws closer: Education Sessions, Kids View, Young Collectors, Special Events.

NEW Red Wing Event Page
Thinking about heading to Red Wing before Convention? Have a friend interested in visiting Red Wing? Check out the new City of Red Wing page! I have expanded the page to include links to community calendars and resources pages to help you or a friend to plan a getaway to Red Wing, MN.

Don’t forget! Register before April 1st and be in the drawing for ONE of the eighteen 2016 Special Commemoratives.

Take Action Today and SAVE!

  1. Online: www.RedWingCollectors.org (No FEE to register online)
  2. Phone: 800-977-7927 (Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm CST)
  3. Mail: PO BOX 50, Red Wing, MN, 55066 (download form)
  4. Fax: 651-388-4042 (download form)

Don’t let another exciting Convention pass you by! Come to the 40th Convention, July 7-9!

Settlement Vindicates Red Wing Collectors Society Foundation in Intellectual Property Dispute with Owners of Red Wing Stoneware and Pottery

Favorable settlement for not-for-profit foundation mandates no financial payout and no adjustment in behavior


MINNEAPOLIS, February 22, 2016—The Red Wing Collectors Society Foundation (RWCS Foundation), the not-for-profit group that operates the Pottery Museum of Red Wing (Minn.), has reached a wholly favorable settlement in its year-long intellectual property dispute with Wells Valley Enterprises Inc., owners of Red Wing Stoneware and Pottery. Under the terms of the settlement, the RWCS Foundation maintains that it has not “infringed any of Wells Valley’s claimed trademarks or committed any other wrongdoing…and has further asserted that Wells Valley’s claims are wholly without merit.” Further, the settlement makes clear that RWCS Foundation may continue to operate without any alteration of its behavior, and will not make any financial payments to Wells Valley.


In a dispute that focused on the city of Red Wing, Minnesota’s history as center for the production of American pottery and stoneware, Wells Valley, owner of Red Wing Stoneware and Pottery, filed a trademark infringement suit against RWCS Foundation. Wells Valley alleged that RWCS Foundation’s use of marks incorporating the term “Red Wing” and graphical marks similar to those used by Wells Valley in its production of pottery and stoneware, infringed on its intellectual property and caused market confusion.


The Foundation rebuked these claims, maintaining that the term “Red Wing”, the “winged logo”, and other markings were commonly used to denote pottery once produced in the City of Red Wing, were not the intellectual property of any one entity, and had been used in some form by a number of other Midwestern and Red Wing, Minn.-based pottery and stoneware producers. The RWCS Foundation further maintained that even if Wells Valley had been able to prove ownership of the name and marks in question, the company’s previous owners had acquiesced to numerous third-party uses in the past, effectively barring Wells Valley from pursuing these infringement claims.


“We’re very pleased that we were able to bring this matter to an appropriate and civil conclusion,” said Christopher Larus, Chair of the IP and Technology Litigation Group at Robins Kaplan LLP, who along with colleague Kristine Tietz represented RWCS Foundation pro bono in this matter. “While the protection of intellectual property rights forms the cornerstone of the American economy, RWCS Foundation did absolutely nothing wrong here, an assertion supported by the favorable settlement we were able to negotiate.”


“The RWCS Foundation takes immense pride in celebrating the City of Red Wing’s long history in pottery production, and we are excited to put this matter in the past and continue to move forward in cooperation with Red Wing’s wonderful pottery and stoneware community,” said David Hallstrom, President of the Red Wing Collectors Society Foundation. “Our museum is a free-to-the-public, volunteer-based organization, whose mission is to preserve the artifacts of the potteries and to educate the public as to the rich history of the clay industries of Red Wing. To that end, our desire is certainly to work in cooperation, not competition with the city’s pottery producers.  We are very grateful to Chris Larus, Kristine Tietz and the entire Robins Kaplan firm for the valuable support they have given our Foundation.”


The case is Wells Valley Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Red Wing Stoneware and Pottery v. Red Wing Collectors Society Foundation, d/b/a Pottery Museum of Red Wing. A copy of the settlement agreement is available upon request.


Since 2009, more than six percent of the firm’s total billable time has been contributed to pro bono efforts, twice the standard set forth by the Pro Bono Institute. The firm has recently been named to the National Law Journal’s 2016 Pro Bono Hot List, was recognized by Law360 as a top Pro Bono Firm in 2015, and was ranked in the top 10 percent of the Am Law 200 for pro bono work.


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