Sullivan Auctioneers at Hamilton had a rare antiques and small items auction on Tuesday. Got quite a few things for the store. They had listed that they would have decoys, so I wanted to add to my selection and was able to do so. Also got more Hancock county history books and information as well as linens and other good items. Wish they would have more auctions of house hold goods and antiques.
Illinois Education Association Retired met in Macomb on Tuesday evening. We had a pot luck meal and Rich Frankenfeld from the Illinois Retirement System spoke of the condition of the system and changes which have been made.
Most of the rest of the week was spent with fellow stoneware collectors, so will tell you a bit about that passion. Thirty six years ago a small group of people who were interested in stoneware decided to form a group of likeminded individuals. They called the group Collectors of Illinois Pottery and Stoneware, COIPS for short. Most of the people were from the Peoria area and Peoria Pottery produced lots of great stoneware so that was a logical beginning. One does not have to be from Illinois to be in the group. In fact two of our directors are from Iowa and Missouri. This week that group had their annual convention at the Stoney Creek Inn in East Peoria. The convention was Friday and Saturday but members started arriving on Wednesday! There were approximately 100 registered but more than that came over the five day period. Lots of stoneware changed hands. If you are not sure what stoneware is exactly, it is those big heavy bowls and tall straight sided crocks that were used to make food in or to store food in. There are also animals, lamps, miniatures, ducks, tree stumps and most any item imaginable which can be formed from clay. Illinois had the proper clay for producing stoneware so many potteries were found in Illinois. Some local plants were in Colchester, Macomb, Bardolph, Tennessee, Camp Point, Quincy, Ripley, Monmouth, Peoria and many more. The value of a crock is largely due to the maker and the scarcity of the item. For example Monmouth produced so many items that they will not be as valuable as those produced by a smaller pottery like Bardolph. The value of an item also is not determined by its size but rather by its markings. People often call and ask what a 10 gallon crock is worth and I immediately ask what else is printed on the crock. Crocks were not only used to make sauerkraut, but also to store food in. For example meat was cooked down and covered with fat and stored in stoneware.
One never knows just what stoneware is still out there. Years ago there was a churn marked Western Stoneware, Buck Inn, ILL. It was thought to be the only piece from that pottery. Then I found another piece from the same pottery at a show. Eventually we put the piece in an auction and at least eight more pieces came to light. Previously unknown makers and pieces still show up. One of the most famous potteries was at Anna in southern Illinois. Even a small pig flask well marked, from Anna can bring several thousand dollars!
I have a lot of stoneware at my shop and will be happy “to talk your ear off” about pottery if you are interested. COIPS also has a face book page with over 1700 members and more are added to the page most every day. There are also books on stoneware which can add to ones knowledge of the subject.
Hope you had a great week. The leaves are finally turning color. Nice drive home from Peoria today. The maples in my yard have not all turned as yet so we still have several days of beautiful color to look forward to.