DES MOINES – More than 300 Red Wing collectors once again braved snowy roads to attend the Red Wing Collectors Society (RWCS) MidWinter GetTogether, held Feb. 11-13 at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites in Des Moines, Ia.
Many sellers reported improved sales over last year’s event – perhaps a sign that the market for good Red Wing stoneware and art pottery is recovering along with the rest of the economy. Collectors started arriving as early as Wednesday, Feb. 9 to buy and sell Red Wing, but the event officially kicked off with a reception on the evening of Friday, Feb. 11. The theme of this year’s event was “Hillbilly Hoedown”, and many members dressed the part for a knee-slappin’ good time.
This year’s keynote speaker was RWCS Member Larry Birks, who’s made it his mission to educate fellow collectors about the fake advertising stoneware that has been showing up at auctions, antique shops, shows and flea markets in recent years.
“There are a few unscrupulous people out there who are placing new advertising stamps on old stoneware and passing it off as the real thing,” Birks explains. “While we might not be able to stop these pieces from being made, we can prevent people from getting fooled into buying them by helping them learn how to identify them.”
Birks has created a list of known fakes that includes photos.
Several educational sessions followed the keynote presentation, including Red Wing Dinnerware Paper Items by Larry Roschen and Terry Moe; a discussion on the salt glaze process by Bob Downs of Maple City Pottery; and a presentation from RWCS Executive Director Stacy Wegner on how to follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter. Other educational seminar topics included Red Wing bowls by Marleen Dinklage and news from the Red Wing Collectors Society Foundation.
About 20 kids attended the event with their parents, and they enjoyed participating in the KidsView educational activities. This year, the kids got to decorate a 35 gallon crock made by Maple City Pottery to help commemorate the 35th RWCS Annual Convention, which is taking place this summer. The crock will be glazed and fired before it appears in Red Wing for the Convention, where it will be auctioned off to generate funds for the KidsView program.
The always popular Saturday Show & Sale was followed by an independently sponsored auction, which was once again conducted by Richard and Todd Houghton of Houghton’s Auction Services of Red Wing, Minn. This year’s auction featured a wide variety of pieces for every collector’s taste, including stoneware, dinnerware and art pottery.
The auction started off with a bang, with the first item being a large Red Wing art pottery vase designed by Charles Murphy. It drew a winning bid of $1,500. Another of the top items in this year’s auction was a stoneware cow and calf that generated a $2,300 winning bid. More than 20 lots of Red Wing dinnerware with the Lanterns pattern totaled in at $430.
The MidWinter GetTogether is a precursor to the national RWCS Convention held every July since 1977 in Red Wing, Minn. This year’s event, which is the 35th Annual Convention, July 7-9, will attract thousands of collectors to Red Wing for a week of educational meetings, auctions, buying, selling and fun for the whole family.
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. Annual membership costs only $25. For more information or to become a member, call the RWCS business office at 800-977-7927, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to www.redwingcollectors.org.
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