Archive for Thursday, September 22, 2005

Regional art pottery excellent for building unique collections

September 22, 2005


Art pottery by small regional potteries in business from the 1920s to the 1950s is often unknown to collectors in other parts of the country. And this art pottery was often made after years of production of utilitarian pots. A pottery in Bellaire, Ohio, moved to Muncie, Ind., in 1892 to be near glass companies and newly discovered natural gas. It changed its name to the Gill Clay Pot Co. and made pots and tanks to hold melting glass. In 1923 a new company, the Muncie Pottery Co., was built next door by a family member. Art pottery vases and lamp bases were made and sold in all parts of the country. Reuben Haley, who had designed for the Consolidated Glass Co., created similar designs for Muncie. His pottery vases were much like his geometric Ruba Rombic glass pattern and patterns named for the creatures pictured, including Love Birds, Grasshopper and Tropical Fish. Other Muncie designs were based on Lalique pieces or on Muncie's own earlier patterns. Glazes were either matte or glossy in bright colors.

A drip glaze also was used. Some Muncie pottery is marked with the word "Muncie," but much is unmarked.

Q: My pedestal extension table is 55 inches in diameter. It has four leaves so it can become a long dining table. The table is heavy oak with large ball-and-claw feet extending from the pedestal. The label under the tabletop reads "Aude Furniture Co., St. Louis, Missouri." Can you tell me age, origin and value?

A: Aude Furniture Co. was located at the corner of Cass Avenue and North 16th Street in St. Louis in 1891. Thirteen years later, it was one of the exhibitors at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. The style of your table was popular at the same time, so it probably dates from around the turn of the 20th century. Tables like yours sell for anywhere from several hundred dollars into the low thousands, depending on condition and construction quality.

This 24-inch-high lamp base showing green lovebirds is unmarked, but it was probably made by the Muncie Pottery Co. of Muncie, Ind. It sold for $431 at a Treadway Gallery auction.

This 24-inch-high lamp base showing green lovebirds is unmarked, but it was probably made by the Muncie Pottery Co. of Muncie, Ind. It sold for $431 at a Treadway Gallery auction.

Q: I bought a little lithographed tin dog robot about 15 years ago. The man who sold it to me said it was the rare windup Space Dog or Robot Dog toy from the 1950s. The toy's silver-colored body is 4 inches long and is marked with the word "Japan" and the letters "KO" in a diamond. The windup key is on the dog's right side. Is my toy rare?

A: The "KO" mark was the trademark of the Japanese company Yoshiya. Yoshiya was a major toy manufacturer during the postwar era and appears to have stayed in business until the early 1970s. It is best known for its knockoffs of Nomura's original Robby the Robot. Yoshiya made friction, windup and battery-operated versions of its robot dog. Some were called Space Dog and some Robot Dog. Some were red and some silver-colored. The windups were made in smaller quantities than the others. An original windup in good condition without the box is worth more than $600. But many reproductions of this toy have been made in the past 10 years; only an original is valuable.

Q: Can you tell me about my small silver box marked "Tiffany & Co., 5804M2205, Sterling Silver"? It's 2 3/4 inches long by 2 inches wide and just under 1 inch deep. The top has an embossed design of three upright grasshoppers, each playing a horn, and the bottom is embossed with a large maple leaf.

A: Your box is probably a snuff box, a popular gift for gentlemen from the 1840s to the 1880s. Tiffany & Co., the New York store, is still known for its fine silver. The pattern number of your piece, 5804, dates it to 1879. The "M" stands for Edward C. Moore, who headed Tiffany's silver operation at the time. The second number is an order number. Tiffany snuff boxes can sell for several hundred dollars.

Q: A very fancy porcelain coffee set has been handed down in our family for several generations. The set includes a tall coffeepot and four tall cups with saucers. The handles are white with gold-painted highlights. The bodies are green and covered with pink roses and dark-green leaves. The mark is a crown over a vertically striped shield with the initial "P" on one side and "T" on the other. "Bavaria" is stamped below the shield. Can you provide any information?

A: The mark identifies the maker as the Tirschenreuth Porcelain Factory of Tirschenreuth, Bavaria, Germany. The factory operated from 1838 until 1995, but it was acquired by the L. Hutschenreuther company in 1927. Tirschenreuth used a mark like the one on your coffee set starting about 1903. Your set was made sometime in the early decades of the 20th century.


There is special polish for Lucite and other plastics. Novus Plastic Polish can be found in lamp shops.


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