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Antiques Considered - April 4, 2012

A couple originally from the Midwest inherited this Red Wing butter churn many years ago.  It is in perfect condition, and surprisingly has what appears to be the original stirrer, with great wear on the pole indicating it saw many years of good service.  Other than the Red Wing stamp, the piece is unmarked.

This churn is an excellent example of the stoneware made in Red Wing, Minnesota beginning in the 1870s and continuing until the last business closed due to a strike in 1967.   Red Wing is the city where many potteries operated, thus without more definitive evidence attribution to one of the many potteries that produced service pieces as well as dinnerware in the city is virtually impossible.

Here in Virginia Shenandoah Valley stoneware, which long antedates the production of Red Wing, is more collectible, but Red Wing has its own set of devotees, and its pieces command good prices.

Last summer at an estate sale we sold a four-gallon Red Wing crock for $400.  The buyer was delighted to be able to find one that large here in Virginia.  Ironically, the family that had owned the crock was also from the Midwest.  In both of these instances the pieces came to Virginia with the families that had purchased them in the

first place.

Red Wing stoneware is characterized by the blue wing logo and the pale color of the stoneware, indicative of the clay that was available in the region.  The city of Red Wing was the pottery capital of the region, with many factories producing a large quantity of items.

This resurgence of interest in Red Wing is probably due to the internet which has produced a broader market from which collectors can acquire pieces.  An excellent study on Red Wing pottery is Richard Gillmer's DEATH OF A BUSINESS: THE RED WING POTTERIES, Minneapolis: Ross & Haines, 1968.

 

Happy Antiquing!

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