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The following article appeared in WPA Press, Vol. 7, January 2001 

 
Asking the WPA for Pottery Values?

by Tim Zinkgraf - Webmaster

One of the goals of the Wisconsin Pottery Association is to educate the public about pottery and one part of this education is the value. We get many requests for values of pottery on the website and we try our best to give an idea of the price range of a piece. We canít give you a definitive answer because the market place is changing all the time, or reference books may not be available to the person trying to provide the appraisal, or not available at all for the piece in question.

Remember that this is a volunteer organization. We volunteer our time & resources to the organization. If you canít put some time into describing or getting pictures of your pottery, we canít spend the extra time to find a value. To give you an answer, we need you to educate us about your piece. If you do the following, youíll increase the chances of us being able to place a value on your piece or to give you more background. 

1. Send us a picture! 
A picture is worth a thousand words! Many times we can identify a piece by just looking at it because of the distinctive style of many potteries & pottery lines. This also helps in identifying reproductions. Send us a picture of the front & the back, if they are dramatically different. Also send us a picture of the bottom. The bottom of the piece can give a lot of clues about the pottery & the quality of the piece. When sending pictures, use the JPEG or JPG format & try to keep them under 200k. 

2. Accurately Describe the Piece 
If you canít send a picture, then you need to give a very detailed description of the piece. Saying "I have a white Haeger vase #207" makes it unlikely that a value can be found. Start by answering the following questions: How tall? How wide? Vase or bowl? Color of the clay (if visible)? How is it glazed? Matt or glossy finish? Any patterns or objects (flowers, birds)? Is the pattern painted on under the glaze or over the glaze? Is the pattern molded into the piece, or incised in? Is the bottom flat, indented or grounded? Any marks or numbers? Even with a number, it might be hard to identify a piece. Many potteries used the same number on dramatically different pieces. Sometime value books donít list prices by numbers, which means we would have to search the whole book for that number. 

3. What do you know about the piece? 
If you got that Roseville vase from your grandmother and she had it back in the 50ís, then we probably donít have to worry about reproductions. If, however, you found the piece at an antique mall and it was labeled Roseville, then it might raise doubts Ėespecially without a picture. What part of the country did the piece come from? Any information that you can give can be helpful. So youíve done all of the above, does that guarantee that weíll be able to identify and value your piece? Unfortunately, not. Sometimes you just need to hold a piece to give it a value or to figure out what it is. Even at our monthly meeting, some pieces stump every member. If you donít have a picture, it will depend on the pottery. For the more commonly collected potteries like Roseville or Weller, there are several reference books and many people with knowledge of it. For pottery like Haeger, Abingdon or hyalyn, they made hundreds of different items & there may be few reference books & few members who actively collect them. Again, remember that we are a volunteer organization and can many times provide a lot of information that is not available anywhere online, but we donít know everything.

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