In looking back many of us see our collections growing by leaps and bounds. Often times we think we haven't found much but when reflecting on the pieces we added in the last year find we actually have!
Had an interesting email from Ed Lucas a week ago - he told me about a lot of new "knock-offs" he spotted at Wal-Mart and a Dollar chain -
You might warn people in the newsletter that a lot of merchants like Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree and the like are getting in and selling floral vases from China that are replicas of the older (circa 1940-50) Shawnee vases. I suspect they are also selling replicas of other, now defunct, American potters' wares too.
"I was really surprised to see an exact replica of the Paneled, two-handle, oval, 7 inch vase (Curran, page 212, top left) in a Wal-Mart store here in Florida. Other than the weight (heft) of the vase and the lack of a USA marking on the bottom, the only give away to the novice vase collector that it wasn't Shawnee was the presence of a paper "Made in China" sticker on the bottom. It wasn't a coincidence, it was a knock-off of a successful Shawnee pattern. Tell your readers to beware...."
One of the problems with pieces like these are unethical sellers may acquire them to list online after soaking off the new China label - be alert and know your markings. If you have been watching the Ebay listings, you will notice how close some of the reproduction pieces are coming to the real thing - only by paying attention to small details can you know - i.e. the Winnie with red collar - not red lacquer but similar to the under glaze red bibs, an abundance of shamrock Smiley's with the Story Book Ceramics having produced a plain Smiley shamrock with slightly rosy cheeks and a set of range shakers with the rosy cheeks and a shamrock on each shaker. At least they are up front about the pieces being replicas.
Auction description in the listing as follows:
"This is a Shawnee Shamrock replica With matching salt and pepper shakers. I am stating this because most of the duplicates on Ebay claim to be original Shawnee and are not even close. The cookie jar and shakers are manufactured by Story Book Ceramic and are considered the closest like cookie jar to Shawnee!! If you notice the eye lashes and paint detail are just like the Shawnee, most of the others out here are not even close but claim to be Shawnee. To the educated eye this looks exactly like Shawnee! The cookie jar is full size and the shakers are 5" tall with the 4 and 3 hole tops. All the pieces are in NEW, MINT condition with no cracks, chips, or crazing. "
The saddest part of this is novice collectors are being duped by many sellers and then we lose a potential serious collector when they are turned off by these fakes and having spent money on essentially worthless ceramics. I am constantly amazed at some of the high prices these fake jars bring and how many unsuspecting buyers still buy from Private Auctions!!!!