RED WING, Minn. – A 30 gallon salt glaze crock with a cobalt butterfly decoration was the top piece this year’s Red Wing Collectors Society auction July 12, 2012. In addition to being back-stamped “Red Wing Stoneware Company,” it had rare “Made by the Red Wing Stoneware Co., Red Wing, Minnesota” cobalt stenciling and was in excellent condition, helping it draw a $12,750 bid, the highest at the auction since 2007.
The RWCS celebrated its 35th anniversary at this year’s convention, which brought more than 1,500 visitors to the city of Red Wing from July 11-14, 2012 to buy, sell and learn more about the lines of Red Wing stoneware, pottery and dinnerware. The auction, which consisted of nearly 290 items, brought more than $80,000 in total sales.
Other items of interest in this year’s auction, which was operated by Houghton’s Auction Service, included a 1 gallon crock with “Take Me to the Big Store, Flandreau, SD” advertising (rim chip), $625; a brushware Cherub vase sold for $450. A 20-inch platter in Red Wing’s Chuck Wagon pattern sold for $160 and a factory test plate in the Nassau pattern sold for $300.
Highlighting this year’s convention were several new events such as a free breakfast, a balloon release honoring departed members, a “Crock Hunt” scavenger hunt, Lunch & Learn educational sessions and Shared Interest Groups for collectors to network and share photos of their collections. On July 13, a time capsule was buried at the North Star Monument in Red Wing’s historic pottery district.
There was also a special display room at Red Wing High School, where members created their own unique displays for the education and enjoyment of attendees, combined with some fun and creative competition.
Members bought and sold items throughout the week in the parking lot at Pottery Place Mall. About 200 volunteers helped make this year’s convention a success, and Hannes Kuehn, who worked at the Red Wing Potteries as a mold maker in 1956, officially kicked off the Convention with a keynote presentation on July 12.
Another unique aspect of the RWCS Convention was the participation of the younger generation through the KidsView program. The Society is on the leading edge of creating engaging and educational ways to get the younger generations involved in collecting. The focus on these RWCS members is an important part of the vision of the Society to ensure its continued existence and growth.
Many interactive and challenging activities and seminars were offered for children of all ages, such as learning how to bid at an auction, what to look for in an antique, and several hands-on pottery creation projects.
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