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Antiques Considered - September 25, 2013

Last week’s column on the McCoy vase has elicited an inquiry about this comparable piece of art pottery, a Roseville ashtray.  Roseville was one of McCoy’s principal competitors, both firms having originated in central Ohio. Roseville began as a manufacturer of functional pottery housewares, but in the 1890s entered into the art pottery market.

The firm moved to Zanesville, Ohio in 1898, and remained in business until 1954. Once having moved into the art pottery arena, Roseville, which kept the name after the move to Zanesville, began producing great quantities of items, most of which have blue, pink or brown, as in this case, backgrounds.

The pattern list was extensive. Today the most valuable pieces are in the Cremo pattern. This ashtray is in the magnolia pattern. Cremo pieces bring high prices, but all Roseville commands the market’s attention. Rarely will one find any piece, regardless of how simple, for under $50.

The high point for Roseville came in the interwar years from 1920 to 1940. In that era Roseville was one of the most desirable potteries in America. Production centered on the American market where the demand was consistently strong. After the factory closed in 1954 interest in Roseville declined, and by the 1970s it was virtually non-existent.

About 30 years ago the process reversed itself. Collectors’ societies were formed; books were written, and Roseville was re-discovered. Today it is one of the most collectible forms of American art pottery, with good values maintaining themselves across the board. Unlike the fate of some collectibles, for Roseville the internet has been a boon, not an impediment to good prices. This ashtray is worth $75, and at a competitive auction it might bring significantly more. Our firm has sold pitchers for upwards of $400. In the case of Roseville even restored pieces bring sound prices. Today it is one of the most popular genres on the market.
Happy Antiquing!

You may reach Henry Lane Hull at P.O. Box 35, Wicomico Church, VA 22579 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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