By Natalie Elliott Larson
Back in 1984, I went to an antique show, where I spotted a cute little green vase. It was to change my life (and my bank account) forever.
That piece, marked Roseville, led me to buy a couple of books. The books showed me other Roseville patterns, which were equally beguiling. Some 200 pieces later, I'm still buying!
Roseville was founded in 1890 in Roseville, Ohio, and remained in business until 1954. It is one of the most collectible, available, and copied companies in the business. There were over 150 lines produced, some of which had up to 175 pieces in various colors.
Roseville used local clays from the Zanesville area, so the pieces all show a "buff" colored base. The fakes currently being imported from overseas are of a whiter clay or slip. The other outstanding feature of real Roseville is the glaze. Softly blended but vibrant colors are fired into the pots.
There are three things to look for when buying: color, sharpness of mold and condition. If you are serious, start with a couple of books so you will know what you are doing. Many excellent reference books on Roseville have been published, with more in the offing. A beginner should have Bomm's Book - Roseville in All Its Splendor. There are many others on the market, but this is a good starting point.
Any reputable seller will be glad to point you in the right direction. My best advice to you is to buy what you love. You will cherish it, and it's better than money in the bank, since the value of quality pieces goes up every year.
My favorite Web site is Ebay.com - there are generally about 1,500 pieces of Roseville on line at any time. For info about the fakes on the market, try http://www.inch.com/~kteneyck/roseville.html.
About the author:
Natalie Elliott Larson writes about Roseville Pottery. She grew up in the antique business, but didn't start collecting Roseville until 1984, at which time she got seriously addicted. She is a 12-year consultant with Mary Kay Cosmetics and a Senior Electric Engineer with Pacific Gas and Electric Company in Northern California. She and her long-suffering husband have both 4-legged and winged "children" on their 3 acres.
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