"Lin requested an opinion from Doug's corner about prices and the experiences of non-collectors. I recently got an email from a person wanting to sell a GT Muggsy that she got from her mother. Included was a link to an about.com website that had a picture and description of a GT Muggsy jar. Basically this how it read -
"Shawnee Muggsy was sold in August 2006 for $1825. The jar belonged to the seller's mother, who received it as a wedding present in 1946 and never used the jar, hence the excellent condition.
•Mark: Patented Muggsy USA
•Sold for: $1825.
•Auction Date: August 2006"
This was an Ebay auction. The jar's owner hadn't mentioned price, but I felt this was being presented as the "fair market value". I as gently as possible explained the current state of the collecting world and the economy and present expectations. The only current example of a GT Muggsy jar in the completed listings on Ebay was a starting bid of $350 and $650 Buy It Now that had been listed twice with NO bids. This caused a lose of interest in selling the jar.
I'm suppose to be keeping this short. The following is my opinion (opinions are free and everybody can have one) about price guides. Before Ebay the guides that were consist with their prices, be they realistic or high, did give an idea of rarity of an item. At the time they served their purpose. It was up to the buyer to get the best price they could. Today it's still up to the buyer, but with the advent of Ebay we are getting real time action on what is rare and what collectors are willing to pay. The result is the true market value, subject to supply and demand. Collector books still have a place as an identification and educational tool. The pictures are valuable to new collectors, as well as reminders for experienced collectors. OK, I'm done - thank you Lin for the op."
In last month's Newsletter I expressed my thoughts on market values of pottery trying to help novice collectors in a sometimes confusing marketplace. For those of you that missed (or probably forgot last month's newsletter) I've repeated it below -
This caused an increased volume in my inbox, which was my intent. I thank the responders, this is what the website is all about.
There seems to be a consensus on the fact for values to be meaningful the source's baselines must be parallel. Meaning if you compare price guides and auction prices in the form of graphs the prices from each source for numerous items will be higher and lower than each other, but each source's graph line's up & downs should be very similar to each other.
So the question is - what source or sources do you use? One thing is pretty obvious, the age of the source, whether it is print or websites. The haydays of the late 90's and early 2000 don't cut it. If they aren't updated regularly they aren't of much use for today's market other than contributing to the baseline.
The auction sector is an important factor. I mentioned Ebay as my primary source. Other folks have brought to my attention other auction sites. Ebay being the highest volume of pottery sales. It was mentioned that some people are leery of ebay, with good reason. This leads to the question, do sellers/dealers on the smaller (lower volume) auction sites have more scruples? mcckoy4u2 items have hit them too.
Bottom line - I don't have the answer. In my little world Fair Market Value is - what it's worth to me. Fact - yours won't be the same as mine.
Newsletter notification email
At the risk of getting grief from my Internet provider I'm going to run a notification email each month when the newsletter is published. Just the Newsletter, NO spam.
If you don't receive your notification, check your "spam filter" or Folder
Well, since it is 115 today I guess this is a good day to start this month's newsletter.
Even in a dry heat this is HOT for Arizona - we have cloud cover so it is more humid than normal. Still an improvement over the flooding and catastrophe's across the country.
I rarely ever contact a seller regarding a jar they have listed but have had several inquiries about the gold clover Winnie that is listed for the second time with a somewhat high reserve. There is gold around the clover bud but the cheeks are NOT rosy nor is the snout - also the gold buttons appear to be a dull gold not reflective. The jar also has no eyebrows! Very likely a seller who is just not familiar with the pottery but makes me curious as to how they came by the jar. Scary as for every fake sold out there, it spreads the doctored pottery from coast to coast to be resold again to more newbies or other unsuspecting buyers - a vicious circle.
My note to seller
"Not sure where this jar came from but it is not authentic vintage gold trim - she would have eyebrows and rosy cheeks - have had several people contact me about this jar - lots of doctoring going on with gold jars - you can do a search on Ebay to see what I mean about the decor not being correct - all Shawnee gold is shiny and mirror like - might be the pictures but this appears dull.
This is the sellers response
"I got this Winnie at an estate sale in 1972, just as she is now; I cannot vouch for her earlier life.
You are right that most gold-decorated pieces in the Smiley and Winnie line are more elaborately decorated, but according to my reading, the extra embellishments are not standardized. In Shawnee Pottery: The Full Encyclopedia, by Pamela Curran, it states, "most gold and decal decoration were added to original Shawnee products that did not meet Shawnee's strict quality control standards. These 'seconds' were often sold in quantity to outside decorators who covered flaws in the pottery with gold trim, fired-on decals, hand-painted flowers, bugs, bees, butterflies, hair, patches, etc., and
then sold them to higher priced gift shops and stores."
The gold does look dull in the photos, but it is actually quite bright and shiny."
Follow up response -
Thanks. Actually, when I got her, I knew next to nothing about the line; I was just buying a cookie jar that matched the Smiley pitcher and cookie jar I've had since I was a kid. That pair sat in my grandmother's kitchen before I was born, and I always loved it. I've since found some more companion pieces, including a non-embellished Winnie that more closely matches the rest of my pieces, a creamer, and several different sized shakers.
I wish my grandmother didn't just throw out all her planters! Every Shawnee,and McCoy book I look through is like looking at her plant shelves! But, hey, I can hardly complain, considering the baseball cards clipped to the spokes of my bike that could probably now pay for a world cruise!
Downsizing is a B----, but I really need to pare down my collections as I will be moving soon. >heavy sigh<"
The seller did post my question and her response on the listing.
I think the best find I have heard about in a long time is from a friend who emailed me, I Love Shawnee, when he found a gold/decal rabbit figurine for a few dollars.
"And I really love them for not marking the figurines..."
Regarding Chic pottery - they decorated for many potteries and their stamp has been found on some pieces we feel are Shawnee - so many potteries used some of the same decals of the era and often times you can see flowers that have been trimmed from a large decal.
Longtime collector sent this note.
"The other day I noticed that the Mangus' book, on page 33, shows the Elf (Pixie) with a Shawnee paper label. Could mean...labels on some flat bottoms...Chic did the gold and stamped a few.
The duckling planter (Curran page 164) mentioned in your NL 3/06 and my elf planter (page 187) both have flat unglazed bottoms, gold trim and are marked as Chic. I have always assumed that Chic applied the gold.
I wonder why Shawnee did not mark the few flat bottom planters they made. Do we know for sure they are indeed Shawnee products. I came across an internet article that mentioned one of the reasons Chic moved to Zanesville from their former location was to have Le Pere Pot. do the gold for them."
Interesting listing on Ebay right now - a pig bank with decals we see on Shawnee all the time!
Item number 400222597079
I'll keep checking to see if there is more information out there regarding Chic Pottery, anyone with any information, we would welcome your sharing with us!!!
Thank you so much for your notes of condolences on the loss of my mother. I truly appreciate your thoughts and prayers.
I am saddened to report that Mark Supnick passed away on June 17, he and his wife Ellen were very instrumental in the 70's helping collectors to be aware of the great variety of pieces in the line - many of us carried their first Shawnee guide as a "bible" as to what to look for.
Until next month, stay cool and hope you find some great pieces!
Oh, I almost forgot - if you have a spare lid for a standard matte Tom teapot to sell, let me know.