- Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 September 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 08 September 2010 05:00
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Perhaps prompted by the column on the New Deal mug several weeks ago, a writer from King George tells the interesting story that a relative brought these two mugs home from the Elks Lodge in Stanardsville, Virginia after partying at a social over fifty years ago. They have remained in the family thereafter. She is considering donating them to the historical society there.
These two mugs are highly collectible. They are a porous form of pottery with glazing inside and out. They come from that more refined, pre-plastic age when America both produced and used quality items. In addition, they have good decorative value, and probably do not have lead in the glaze, always an important consideration. I can speculate that they came from a factory in Ohio or West Virginia, in both of which places this type of ware was a staple of production.
Any pieces relating to the history of service organizations immediately draw a directed following, whether on e-Bay or in a live auction. Although such items often do not command high prices, they remain popular with their own set of fans. Particularly in the case of The Elks, the camaraderie is strong, and members thrive on tales of their club’s history.
I can remember Elks in my childhood wearing their watch fobs with the elk’s tooth set in gold, a symbol that set them apart from members of other fraternal groups. In Washington the Elks Lodge was one of the most prestigious buildings on K Street; later the club moved it several blocks to a new location, but preserved the structure.
As the mugs are worth $45 each, they remain affordable for folks with relatives who were in the Elks organization, as well as for collectors of mugs and other forms of pottery. Were they mine, I should keep them as part of family lore, an aspect of their history that would fade away if donated.