The definition of American art pottery is constantly expanding. In the 1970s, it referred to the work of a limited group of potteries working before the 1930s. As time has passed, the pottery made by other factories has been added to the list.
Now the term refers to potteries working into the 1960s.
The Red Wing Pottery of Red Wing, Minn., opened in 1878, making crocks and pots. In the 1920s, the factory started making a form of art pottery. Later, Red Wing made dinnerware and florist ware. The company closed in 1967.
Today, collectors seek the well-designed art-pottery figurines and vases by industrial designers like Belle Kogan and ceramic artists like Charles Murphy.
Red Wing's best pieces, with streamlined shapes and stylized figures, were ahead of their time. Glazes were also in the modern taste and included textures, muted colors and geometric designs.
Even some of the dinnerware designed by Murphy or the famous Eva Zeisel are wanted by art-pottery collectors.
Red Wing is almost always marked with the famous wing mark or its name. It was sold in department stores in all parts of the country, so look for undiscovered pieces at house sales.
What is a cellaret? I've seen the word in articles in antiques newspapers.
The term "cellaret" seems to have originated around the middle of the 18th century. It refers to a small piece of wooden furniture used to store bottles of wine. Most cellarets (called "cellars" until about 1750) have individual, lead-lined compartments to keep wine bottles cool. Many have legs with wheels or rollers so the wine can be wheeled around the table. Today, some people call any piece of furniture or silver designed to hold wine bottles a cellaret.
I inherited an old brass cash register used in a small-town Midwest bakery in the early 1900s. The word "National" and a fancy fleur-de-lis decoration are embossed on the front and back. There are 11 keys, a cash drawer and a small white-marble slab above the drawer. Sale amounts register in a window at the top of the register. The highest amount is only 50 cents. A small metal plate is embossed with the serial number 911659, and under that is the number 215. I would like to find out when and where the cash register was made and what it's worth.
Your cash register was made about 1910-1911 by the National Cash Register Co. of Dayton, Ohio, the largest and best-known manufacturer of cash registers in the country then and now.
Your cash register was one of the company's more inexpensive models of the time, because it was a "detail adder" a machine that used an already-outdated technology to keep track of sales.
NCR (the name the company has used since 1974) produced several modestly priced 200 models between 1908 and 1916 for small candy stores and bakeries. A National 215 model sells today for about $100 to $150.
I have a paper lantern decorated in a Chinese floral style. It is marked "British Hong Kong." When was that phrase used?
Hong Kong was a British crown colony from 1842 until 1997. However, Hong Kong's production of inexpensive products, like your lantern, made for export around the world developed during the 1950s.
I have a soup tureen that's shaped like a ship. It is hand-pierced and painted blue, green, white and gold. There's a central painting of two birds on a leafy branch on one side of the hull. A ceramic loop around the mast is made to look like a fabric sail. The tureen is marked "Mintons, England." How old is it?
You have an expensive piece of decorative bone china made about 1890 by Minton. The firm has worked in Stoke-on-Trent, England, since 1793. Minton used the mark you describe, with the name "Mintons," between 1890 and 1910. The tureen, called a "ships potpourri vase" by Minton, is a reproduction of an even older Ses piece made in France. Minton became part of Royal Doulton Tableware in 1968.
Going through my closets recently, I discovered a half-dozen fancy, ceramic Jim Beam decanters that are still filled with bourbon. My son received them as gifts from his customers during the 1970s. One is named for the Pearl Harbor Survivors Assn., another for the Indianapolis Speedway. Can you tell me what they're worth?
Jim Beam decanters were very popular during the 1970s. Today, collectors are again interested in them. The Pearl Harbor Survivors Assn. bottle was issued in 1976, and the Indy Speedway bottle in 1970. Each was part of a limited-edition series. Your bottles sell for $10 to $20 each today. But if you plan to sell them, check your state's laws. It might not be legal to sell full decanters unless you have a liquor license.
The Kovels answer as many questions as possible through the column. By sending a letter with a question, you give full permission for its use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names and addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of any photograph, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The volume of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, Lawrence Journal-World, King Features Syndicate, 235 E. 45th St., New York, N.Y. 10017.