Your Pictures: Red Wing Collectors Society convention in Red Wing
A 30-gallon salt glaze crock with two leaves brought the highest bid at this year’s Red Wing Collectors Society auction on July 7 in Red Wing. Although unsigned, its perfect condition drove the bidding to $5,000.
The 35th annual RWCS convention brought more than 1,500 visitors to the city from July 6 through 9 to buy, sell and learn more about Red Wing stoneware, art pottery and dinnerware.
Other items of interest in this year’s auction, which was operated by Houghton’s Auction Service, included a 2-gallon ice water cooler in mint condition, $2,600; 12-gallon salt glaze leaf crock (mint), $1,900; 1977 RWCS commemorative (mint), $1,900; 5-gallon double-handled advertising jug with birch leaves and "Music Hall Bathhouse, Excelsior Springs" advertising (chip and manufacturing flaw), $1,075.
For notable art pottery items, two No. 1147 Engobe busts (both mint) brought $600 and $575 each, respectively. Other top lots included a No. 571 Rumrill nude Athenian footed bowl, $400; No. 672 orange and green Chromoline covered candy (mint), $375; and a brushware hanging pot with embossed acorns and leaves, $210.
One of the top dinnerware lots consisted of more than 100 pieces of Tampico dinnerware, $550. A Jack Frost cookie jar (mint) brought $450; two hand-painted harlequin bowls brought $375 (mint) and $130 (chip and hairline), respectively. One of the neatest dinnerware lots in the auction was a 16-piece set of Charstone Bleu dinnerware and original brochure. The pieces had never been removed from their original box — not even for the auction. It brought $95.
The auction, which had about 280 items, brought nearly $80,000 in total sales.
During the convention, society members could participate in educational sessions, a "Crock Hunt" scavenger hunt around town and a special display room where members showed rare items and created their own displays for the education and enjoyment of attendees. Other activities included the annual business meeting, the Potter’s Picnic, and the always anticipated Saturday Show & Sale. Members also bought and sold items throughout the week in the parking lot at Pottery Place Mall. Nearly 200 volunteers helped make this year’s convention a success.
During the business meeting, longtime RWCS members Steve Showers and Dennis Nygaard were inducted into the RWCS Hall of Fame. Both men, who have each dug pottery shards in the Red Wing Pottery Dump for more than 30 years, were recognized for enhancing the knowledge of Red Wing stoneware collectors through the countless discoveries they’ve made.
Ronald Schirmer of the Minnesota State University at Mankato kicked off convention with a keynote presentation on ancient pottery from the Red Wing area. Other educational sessions included an orientation for first-timers, demonstrations by a working potter from Ephraim Pottery "throwing" pieces on a wheel, Red Wing 101, recent finds from the old pottery dump, Red Wing dinnerware, Pennsylvania’s Sherwood Brothers pottery, Red Wing Saffronware and using Facebook to enhance your collecting experience. The RWCS Foundation had a session about its plans to acquire a permanent home for the Red Wing Pottery Museum.
The year’s commemorative, which could be purchased only by society members, was a miniature 4-gallon salt glaze churn. 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 few members were fortunate enough to get one. Of the 3,300 pieces made, 2,965 had a cobalt target decoration, 300 had a butterfly and 35 had a hand-drawn bird.
Through the KidsView program, the society creates engaging and educational ways to get younger generations involved in collecting. A new program this year was geared towards helping Red Wing collectors ages 15 to 20 to learn more about Red Wing, developed new friendships, participate in hands-on activities and visit with dealers.
The society’s next event is the MidWinter GetTogether, Feb. 9-11, in Des Moines.
The Red Wing Collectors Society was founded in 1977 in Red Wing and is devoted to educating people about all American pottery. There are more than 4,000 members worldwide. For more information or to become a member, call the RWCS business office at 1-800-977-7927, e-mail email@example.com or log on to www.redwingcollectors.org. Membership is $25 and includes six newsletters a year.
Main photo caption: This 30-gallon Red Wing salt glaze double leaf crock was the top piece at the RWCS auction July 7. It sold for $5,000.
Double-handle: This hard-to-find 5-gallon Excelsior Springs advertising jug with birch leaves was a good buy at $1,075, despite having a few chips and a manufacturing flaw.
Engobe: There were two of these Engobe figural heads in the auction this year; one brought $600 and the other $575.
Tampico: This large grouping of Red Wing dinnerware in the Tampico pattern sold for $550.
Cooler: This 2-gallon ice water cooler with 4-inch wing sold for $2,600.
Photos submitted by Stacy Wegner, executive director, Red Wing Collectors Society.