What’s in a name? When it comes to collecting American art pottery – to paraphrase Shakespeare – the Roseville name retains that dear perfection that collectors seek.
“Roseville is always top of the line, and prices are high,” said Nancy Bomm, a Florida collector and author of Roseville in All Its Splendor. She added that prices continue to escalate.
David Rago of David Rago auctions in Lambertville, N.J., agreed.
“The Roseville market is stronger than any time I’ve been associated with it in over 30 years,” he said.
Pottery, with its wide array of styles, colors, designs and glazes, has always drawn the attention of collectors.
The Roseville Pottery Co., established in 1892, produced slipware decorated pieces sometimes categorized as commercial art ware.
“Early Roseville creations were those that served the day-to-day needs of the populace – tea and coffee sets, baking pans and jardinieres,” said Alan M. Petrillo, a contributor to Antique & Collectibles magazine.
The company began producing a highly successful line of art pottery called Rozane or Rozane Ware in 1900. Rozane pieces featured high-gloss blue and brown colors, many with nature scenes, portraits, animals or Native Americans hand painted on them.
“The pottery’s slipware decorated pieces, sometimes categorized as commercial art ware, were to continue in popularity as their designs and finishes echoed the differing artistic movement developing through the early years of the 20th century,” said Petrillo.
So, why the sudden influx of interest in this Ohio pottery? Rago credits the Internet and the abundance of Roseville resources available.
“The influence of the Internet, combined with the unprecedented availability of information, has created a broad, nationwide collector and dealer base,” said Rago.
“It is the ultimate decorative ceramic collectible in that it offers quality, mass-produced ware at all price points and the added kick of rarer and more labor-intensive art lines.”
The overall Roseville market is strong, but several experts noted a decline in demand for more common examples.
“The common lines have definitely dropped in value,” said Barry Brooks of PotteryAuction.com, adding that lines such as Clematis will likely never reach book value.
One thing everyone can agree on is that there are plenty of choices for collectors. Prices range from a couple hundred to several thousand dollars.
“The record for a production piece at auction was at one of our sales last year,” said Rago, “with $15,000 being paid for a rare and perfect Tourist pattern wall pocket. But generally, prices average out between $300 and $400 per piece.”
According to Bomm, middle-period florals, which date from the late 1920s to the early 1940s, are among some of the most desirable.
“These pieces are predominantly easier to find,” said Bomm, adding that they are also marked well, which helps with identification and authentication.
In terms of mass-produced lines, Rago points to Sunflower, blue Pinecone, blue Wisteria and the deco-influenced Futura as the best bets.
“Lines often come in two or three colors, and the price difference can be severe,” said Rago.
A blue Pinecone 12-inch trumpet vase, for example, can easily top $1,000. The same piece in green might bring only $500.
“Blackberry seems to have cooled off recently, and I think this is currently under-priced,” Rago said.
Regardless of what pattern collectors seek, condition of a piece is very important, said Brooks.
Rago advises buyers to look for crisp patterning, sharp colors and strong molds, while looking out for repairs.
Collectors should also be on the lookout for fakes and reproductions, which made their appearance in the Roseville marketplace in the late 1990s. In most cases, the differences between these pieces and authentic Roseville are obvious.
According to Brooks, fakes typically have crude glaze and poor markings. Brooks advises that collectors handle as many pieces as they can. Fakes often weigh less than the original pieces.
An added challenge, according to Bomm, is that Roseville often used different markings, and some pieces even had paper labels.
“Roseville never did anything consistent,” she said.
So is the future rosy for Roseville? The pottery’s fans would likely say, “Come watch our gardens grow!”

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Copyright 2002 by Krause Publications. For a free catalog of Krause Publications books or periodicals on collectibles, write Public Relations, Dept. IC, Krause Publications, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001, or visit www.collect.com on the worldwide web, or e-mail [email protected]

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