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Red Wing Collectors Converge on Des Moines for Successful MidWinter GetTogether

by Special to WorthPoint (03/22/13).

Until now, these butter crocks were not believed to be made by Red Wing. However, longtime Red Wing Pottery Dump digger Dennis Nygaard revealed in his MidWinter keynote presentation that he found shards to these pieces last year in an area where the Red Wing Potteries dumped early dinnerware shards. It was a great discovery, but collectors need to be aware that most Lambrecht butter crocks were not made by Red Wing—including the ones marked “USA” on the bottom.

DES MOINES, Iowa – About 300 Red Wing stoneware and pottery collectors got their winter fix by attending the Red Wing Collectors Society MidWinter GetTogether from Feb. 8-10.

Many attendees sold Red Wing wares from their hotel rooms, arriving as early as Wednesday, Feb. 6 to buy and sell stoneware and pottery, but the event officially kicked off with a reception on the evening of Friday, Feb. 8. The theme of this year’s event was a “Wild, Wild West: The Red Wing Watering Hole,” and many members participated by dressing in their best cowboy and cowgirl apparel. The RWCS also commissioned Maple City Pottery to make stoneware sheriff badges that members could purchase and wear during the event.

This year’s keynote speaker was longtime Red Wing Pottery Dump digger Dennis Nygaard, who revealed many new finds from his very productive 2012 dump digging season. The most surprising of Nygaard’s finds consisted of shards from advertising butter crocks made in 1930s for Lambrecht’s butter and a number of small Wisconsin dairies that weren’t previously recognized as Red Wing products.

Several educational sessions followed the keynote address, including in introduction to Red Wing Dinnerware, presented by Larry Roschen and Terry Moe, and dinnerware patterns by Mike Orgler. Mark Wiseman and Tom Southard spoke about the history of Boone, Iowa’s, Moingona Pottery, while Mark and Marie Latta discussed the 1920 art pottery experiment by Iowa State College (now Iowa State University). Young collectors also got into the act—about a dozen kids attended with their parents and participated in RWCS KidsView education program activities.

This Red Wing squatty crock that measured about 4 gallons—likely a special order piece—sold for $630. The lid sold separately for $75.

Despite carrying some damage, this 4 gallon salt glaze target crock back-stamped “Red Wing Stoneware Company” brought a healthy $230 bid.

This Red Wing brushware cemetery vase was a steal at $65.

These stoneware Albany slip pigs brought $425 and $290, respectively.

Representatives from the RWCS Foundation also held a question & answer session where they discussed plans to renovate the Red Wing Pottery Annex building—the future home of the Red Wing Pottery Museum. The Foundation purchased half a building located in Red Wing’s historic pottery district in December, with the Red Wing Area Seniors organization purchasing and occupying the other half. The Foundation is welcoming donations to help fund the project—whether monetary or items that can be auctioned off. The group is also seeking volunteers to assist with demolition and construction. To help out, contact RWCS Foundation President Dave Hallstrom at hallstromd@hotmail.com.

The always popular Saturday Show & Sale was followed by an independently sponsored auction, which was once again conducted by Richard and Todd Houghton of Houghton’s Auction Services of Red Wing, Minn. This year’s auction featured a wide variety of pieces for every collector’s taste, including stoneware, dinnerware and art pottery. About half of the items were donated by a couple, with the proceeds benefiting the RWCS Foundation.

A 5 gallon Red Wing beehive jug with upside down “Red Wing Stoneware Co.” oval in excellent condition was a great buy at $140.

The top piece of stoneware was a squatty Red Wing crock that measured about four gallons in size. Likely a special order piece, it sold for $630. Several dinnerware pieces with test glazes were also sold, ranging in price from $65 up to $210. Two collectors ran up the bidding a blue and green M3006 Chromoline vase; it finished at a surprising bid of $900.

The Red Wing Collectors Society was founded in 1977 in Red Wing, Minn. and is devoted to educating people about all American pottery. There are more than 4,000 members worldwide. The Red Wing Potteries had diverse pottery lines that included stoneware, dinnerware and art pottery. Annual membership costs only $25 and includes six full-color newsletters mailed to your home throughout the year.

Registration is now open for the big 2013 RWCS Convention in Red Wing this summer from July 11-13. For more information or to become a member, call the RWCS business office at 800.977.7927, e-mail to membership@redwingcollectors.org or visit the Red Wing Collectors Society website. You can also find the RWCS on Facebook or follow the club on Twitter@RWPottery.

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