Red Wing, MN – A lot of great pieces have been sold at the Red Wing Collectors Society’s (RWCS) Convention Auction during the club’s 40-year history. This year didn’t disappoint, with the top earner being a 5 gallon Red Wing beehive jug with blue birch leaves and advertising for Straus Bros. Wholesale Liquors of Chicago. Two aggressive bidders pushed it most of the way to its $9500 gavel price.
At $2,200, a 6 gallon transitional Ice Water cooler with a Union Stoneware oval and a “Red Wing Stoneware Company” front stamp was a distant runner-up in the July 7 auction, which totaled just shy of $60,000 in total sales.
But the club’s official auction wasn’t the only source of excitement during the 40th Annual RWCS Convention, which attracted more than 1,000 visitors to Red Wing, MN during the week of July 4. Two independent auctions and the RWCS Foundation’s 5th Annual “Wine-ing for Red Wing” fundraiser took place before the convention even officially opened. Highlighting the Foundation’s event was a ceremony that celebrated paying off the mortgage of the building that houses the Pottery Museum of Red Wing. This year, the event generated nearly $14,000 in proceeds for the museum.
This Convention also boasted one of the best educational lineups in the event’s 40-year history. Attendees had 15 different educational sessions to choose from, with in-depth presentations given on a wide range of Red Wing’s stoneware and dinnerware products, finds from the pottery dump and after-market creations. Local history was also covered, including sessions on Red Wing’s rich brewing history, the city’s underground river – Jordan Creek – and symbolism of Victorian era gravestones in Red Wing’s Oakwood Cemetery. Local potter Richard Spiller also offered hands-on pottery classes for attendees.
Another unique aspect of the RWCS Convention is the participation of the younger generation through the KidsView and Young Collectors programs. The focus on these RWCS members is an important part of the vision of the Society to ensure its continued existence and growth. More than 50 kids and young adults participated in the interactive and challenging activities this year, which included learning how to haggle with dealers, how to bid at an auction, what to look for in an antique, and several hands-on pottery creation projects.
At the Society’s annual business meeting on Friday, July 8, Larry Birks (president), John Sagat (secretary) and Glenn Beall (education manager) were recognized for their years of service on the RWCS Board of Directors, while Paul Wichert, Angela Shefveland and Michelle Weisen were announced as their elected replacements.
The club also officially recognized the new RWCS Facebook Chapter as its 17th chapter. Like most antique collecting clubs, attracting young new collectors has been a challenge for the RWCS. But the RWCS Facebook Chapter has been a bright spot in the organization’s recruiting efforts. This 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.
Later that day, the 5th annual RWCS Crock Fest celebration featured music, food and fun at the Pottery Museum of Red Wing. In addition to its regular displays, the museum officially introduced its “General Store” seasonal exhibit to collectors for the first time. The final day of Convention Week featured the RWCS Show & Sale on Saturday, July 9, followed by the RWCS Banquet later in the evening.
The next RWCS event is its Annual MidWinter GetTogether, which will be held at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites on Merle Hay Road in Des Moines, February 24-26, 2017. Visit the club’s website for more information.
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 email@example.com or log on to www.redwingcollectors.org. You can also follow the RWCS on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RedWingCollectorsSociety and Twitter at @RWCollectors.