Red Wing Collector Society convention highlights

RED WING, Minn. – A 5-gallon Red Wing double-handled Albany slip jug drew the highest bid at this year’s Red Wing Collectors Society (RWCS) Auction. Thanks to its excellent condition and the fact that it was signed both on a handle and on the side, it sold for an impressive $8,900.

Despite concerns in the economy, the RWCS Convention brought nearly 1,700 visitors to the city of Red Wing from July 8-11 to buy, sell and learn more about the lines of Red Wing stoneware, art pottery and dinnerware.

Other items of interest in this year’s auction, which was operated by Houghton’s Auction Service, included a 2-gallon North Star salt glaze water cooler with an upturned leaf, $7,000; a 5-gallon Red Wing salt glaze double leaf water cooler with hairlines, $6,000; a 2-gallon Ice Water cooler with wing on front and ski oval on back, $4,500; a 3-gallon Nebraska advertising crock, $1,250; and two all-white August Becker cherryband pitchers brought $1,525 and $2,000, respectively.

A no. 152 brushedware jardinière sold for $650, a brushedware lamp hit $625, a no. 1147 Engobe figurine brought $450. An M3015 Charles Murphy 20-inch vase was a good buy at $220. The surprise of the auction was a hard-to-find Saffronware teapot with spout chips that crossed the block at $1,650. An assortment of Mediterrania dinnerware brought $575 and a set of 26 RWCS commemorative pieces from 1977 through 2002 sold for $5,300. The auction, which had nearly 250 items, brought $125,454 in total sales.

RWCS members had a wide variety of activities to attend during the convention, including a narrated tour of the historical sites around the city of Red Wing, tours of the RWCS Foundation Museum and a special display room where members showed rare items and created their own unique displays for the education and enjoyment of attendees. Other events throughout the week included the annual business meeting, the Potter’s Picnic – a pig roast at Red Wing’s Central Park – and the always-anticipated Saturday Show and Sale. Members also bought and sold items throughout the week in the parking lot at Pottery Place Mall, and 175 volunteers helped make this year’s convention a success.

Educational seminar topics consisted of orientation for first-time attendees, demonstrations from a working potter “throwing” pieces on a wheel, Red Wing 101, recent finds from the old pottery dump, Red Wing Saffronware, salt glaze stoneware, the Red Wing Potteries Ledger and an extensive overview on Red Wing dinnerware.

This year’s commemorative, which could be purchased by Society members only, was a miniature bean pot. For the first time in the club’s history, two limited-edition commemorative pieces were also produced – miniature bean pots with advertising from Wisconsin and Iowa. These were mixed in with the regular commemoratives and all commemoratives were packaged in sealed boxes, so a small number of members were fortunate enough to get one.

Topping the news from the meeting was the RWCS Golden State Chapter’s presentation of a check for $3,300.50 to RWCS Board of Directors president Sue Jones Tagliapietra for the KidsView educational program, which celebrated its 10th year at this year’s convention. Chapter members held an auction at their last meeting in California to raise funds specifically for the program, which is geared toward encouraging a younger generation to collect Red Wing stoneware and pottery.

“Once again, the Golden State Red Wing Chapter members came through with a great donation that will allow us to enhance educational experiences for the kids,” said Tagliapietra. “We were very pleased by their commitment to KidsView.”

The Society is on the leading edge of creating engaging and educational ways to get younger generations involved in collecting. The focus on these RWCS members is an important part of the Society’s vision to ensure its continued existence and growth. There are many interactive and challenging activities and seminars for children of all ages to get involved in, such as learning how to bid at an auction, what to look for in an antique, and several hands-on craft projects.

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. For more information or to become a member, call the RWCS business office at 800-977-7927, e-mail or visit

Photos courtesy of the Red Wing Collectors Society.