What is it and What’s it Worth?

Do you have any pieces in your collection that look like these? This particular collection sold for $1350 in 2017.

Do you have any pottery pieces in your collection that look like these?  Do you know what this type of pottery is called? It is called yellowware and yellowware is a type of pottery made from clay that when fired has a yellow appearance.  Our Worthopedia has over 12,000 pieces of yellowware listed as sold.  Take a look and see what your piece might be worth. Learn more about yellowware in the article below and take your pottery knowledge to the next level!

History

Yellowware is a type of earthenware when fired has a yellow appearance.  Because yellowware is made from a clay, it must be glazed to be used.  A clear alkaline glaze was most commonly used.  Colors range from a light yellow to a mustard-like yellow.  Yellowware’s low cost and durability enhanced its appeal.

Yellowware was first produced in the Scotland and Northern England in the 18th century.  The manufacturing process quickly spread to Wales.

By the late 1820s, American potters in New England, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania were manufacturing yellowware.  The earliest documented American pieces date to 1797.

David and James Henderson’s Jersey City Pottery and Bennet Pottery in Baltimore were among the early American yellowware potters. This Jersey City Pottery teapot sold for $805 in October 2016.

Local potters produced the earliest yellowware.  Many of the pieces were hand thrown on a wheel.  Pressed pieces arrived in the 1830s. A few forms, especially figurines, were created from molds.  David and James Henderson’s Jersey City Pottery and Bennet Pottery in Baltimore were among the early American yellowware potters.  Pieces were sold locally.

By the mid-19th century, over 80 potteries mass-produced yellowware.   East Liverpool, Ohio, became the center for yellowware production.  Between 1865 to 1885, half the yellowware sold in the United States was produced in Ohio.

Banding in either blue, brown, or white was the most popular decorative element. This set of 1920’s mugs sold for $14.99 in May 2018.

Banding in either blue, brown, or white was the most popular decorative element.  Occasionally, horizontal stripes were used.

Although yellowware fell out of fashion by the beginning of the 20th century, it still remains in production.  Hull, Robinson-Ramsbottom, and Red Wing are among the 20th century manufacturers of yellowware.  Contemporary pieces often are reproductions of period pieces.  Yellowware lost its appeal when white wares and decorated porcelains became affordable.

What to Look For

Yellowware was utilitarian ware.  It was used, often heavily.  Pieces normally show signs of wear and aging.  Be suspicious of pieces that do not.

There are three major groups of yellowware collectors.  The first is collectors of early American pottery who focus on pieces made prior to 1860.   The second group concentrates on pieces made in the last half of the nineteenth century.  The final group is kitchen collectors.  Their focus is on pieces made from the 1890s until 1940.  Post-1945 yellowware is bought primarily for reuse.

Form collecting is extremely popular.  Butter tubs, canning jars, chamber pots, creamers, custard cups, drinking vessels, flower pots, food molds, inkwells, meat tenderizers, milk pans, mixing bowls (often nested), mug, nappies, pepper pots, pie plate, pitchers, rolling pins, soap holders, lidded storage jars, and snuff boxes are among the most popular forms.  Food molds included candy, chocolate, cornbread, jelly, and Turk’s head.  Batter bowls are identified by their lipped edge.  Several of these categories attract the interest of crossover collectors such as food molds and inkwells.

Never store acidic foods in yellowware.  They can leach out the glaze.

Rockingham yellowware has a distinct mottled brown glaze. This Staffordshire Yellowware Rockingham Glaze Spaniel Dog sold for $300 in April 2018.

Rockingham ware, a glaze named after the Marchioness of Rockingham, was made from non-yellow clay and yellow clay.  Its distinct mottled brown glaze differentiates it from those pieces identified by collectors as yellowware.

Marks

An example of an early mark is that of Peterson Bros. of Wellsboro, Ohio.

It is estimated that 95 percent of yellowware often is not market.  Some early pieces have incised marks.  An example of an early mark is that of Peterson Bros. of Wellsboro, Ohio: “Petterson Bros.” in an arch over “MANUFACTURERS / ROCKINHAM & YELLOWWARE / WELLSBORO, OHIO”.

Mass-produced yellowware from the last half of the19th century and 20th century yellowware may, but usually does not, contain the name of the manufacturer.  Canonsburg yellowware is marked “U.S.A.” in an arch over YELLOWSTONE / WARE / by Canonsburg / ©”.


 

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