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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pottery purchases

Yesterday my daughter and I braved the searing Texas heat and horrific traffic conditions to drive 150 miles (241 km) to buy West German pottery we had seen on Craigslist. Our trip turned into a bumper-to-bumper nightmare of moving at a snail's pace and then stopping, until my daughter...who has even less patience than I do...left the freeway for roads less traveled.

As frustrating as the trip turned out to be, it yielded a mother lode of fat lava, the likes of which I've never been able to mine in one place before. It turned out that the seller and her husband had lived in Germany for two years and had apparently purchased every piece they ever ran across at a flea market, because what was shown in the Craigslist ad only represented the ones she was willing to part with. She was displaying what she considered "the good stuff" in her house, and her attic was full as well.

In spite of their castoff status, my daughter and I found several of the Craigslist pieces to be very nice indeed, and we brought  several bags full of pottery home with us. When I got them unpacked and began the identification process, I found it interesting, but not surprising, that I gravitated primarily to Scheurich pieces. The four pieces I had already bought for my small collection were all Scheurich, not because I searched for them by name, but because the glaze colors and textures produced by that company are very often more subdued and pleasing to my eye than some of the more brightly colored and more heavily textured examples that came out of other West German ceramic companies.

Here are the small pieces that followed me back to my house. (I'm giving the height in inches, but if you're interested in the height in centimeters, it is given following the "-" or "/" in the form number of the piece.)


Scheurich 284-15
6" tall

Scheurich 268-15
6" tall

Scheurich 275-20
8" tall

Scheurich 400-22
8 .5" tall

Scheurich 261-18
7" tall

U Keramik 1436-14
5.5" tall

But then there were the two big brothers that had to come home with us too...the floor vases, in all their massive glory.


Carstens 7652-45
18" tall

I haven't been able to identify the brown and orange piece below. It is marked "3250/50 Made in W. Germany" and has what appears to be an S or a Z hand-incised in the center of the base. I'm sure many of you are far more knowledgeable than I am about West German pottery, and I would appreciate any information you have about this floor vase. Although the colors in this piece are stunning,  it is a little more ornate than anything else I have in my house, so I will probably sell it.


3250/50
19.5" tall

My daughter made the trip for two pieces but only brought home the one shown below, which may or may not have originally been designed as a Christmas tree stand. I can't find a maker on it either, but it is marked N058 60 20. I found the exact item on eBay for 55 Euros ($73). She paid $10.


Vase? Ceramic Christmas tree stand?

The only bad news of the day concerned the bright yellow vase with grayish-brown at the top. It had two large, very visible cracks on either side of the neck, from its lip to the area where the yellow started. My daughter decided not to get it, but now I wish she had. She wanted it for her own personal use, not for resale, so I could easily have repaired it, like I did the Raymor lighter of yore.


The yellow vase that probably wasn't a lost cause...(sigh)

As for those of you who loved the red pendant light, it was really gorgeous, but I had no place in my house for it. I thought my daughter might like to hang it in the alcove of the main house over her dining table, but for some reason, she didn't seem as carried away with that idea as I was, so it stayed behind.

When we got home, my SIL thought we should have bought more. I have a feeling we may be sending her more money by PayPal and asking her to stash some things in her attic until we head that direction again. With any luck, it won't be long, because her home is only 20 miles off the route we often take on buying trips.

32 comments:

  1. Oh my. Why didn't you take it all indeed. The floor pieces are very intriguing. I like the 3250/50 the best but the other orange one is pretty divine as well. I appreciate being exposed to West German pottery so I can spot it myself should I wander across it someday. Terrible drive though. I hate traffic like that. I have been stuck in a fair amount of it lately on my house tour adventures. Sort of frustrating, especially if it is making you late for a fabulous house or find.

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    1. A few of the pieces were really garish, but we did leave some nice pieces behind. Don't you think the 3250/50 is too ornate for my house? I think it's really dramatic and cool, but once I got it home, I wasn't sure it was a good fit.

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    2. Maybe you are right... maybe it is a little more swirly than you typically like. Try it out for a little while?

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  2. OOOOH I LOVE the Carstens piece and that 3250/50 WOW! ...I have seen it before, but cant recall what maker...the WG group on Facbook will know Im sure. What a find.. Better put dibs on the remaining stuff!

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    1. Hmmmmm...another vote for the 3250/50. The Carstens seems like a natural fit for my house, but I may have to give some thought to how I can use the 3250/50.

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  3. Nice haul. I had a feeling you were going to get the fat tubby one too. I think I would've been like a child in a sweets shop having all that pottery to choose from. xx

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    1. You were right on the money about the mustard ones. They had to make the cut. And I did feel a little like a kid in a candy shop, now that you mention it.

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  4. What a find! They are all georgious

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    1. A rare find indeed to find this much to choose from...and very cheap.

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  5. Jackpot! You guys hit it Dana!
    The floor vases are my faves.

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    1. Honestly, I couldn't believe she let me have the floor vases so cheap. I couldn't get them loaded in the car fast enough! :)

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  6. Great stash, they would seem like sellable pieces for the store. I like the shape of the Scheurich 400-22.

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    1. When I first saw them on Craigslist, my idea was to get them for the store, but when my SIL passed on them, I was secretly delighted. Now he's wanting to call the woman and have her put more back for us. :)

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    2. Not a pass. Those are really unusual.

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  7. Great finds! I love the floor vases- have been able to thrift quite a bit of the smaller pieces myself, but never the large ones!

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    1. I usually go for the pieces that are around 12-14" tall. I've never had any of the small ones...and certainly not the floor vases. These pieces round out my collection nicely.

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  8. First sign of a tailback and I hit the side roads too. There was a time, not all that long ago, when this stuff was though overdone and ugly. I bet there's a ready market for it now though. Nice find!

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    1. If I were to be perfectly honest, I'd have to admit that I think there's plenty of West German pottery from that era that is garish and overdone. I don't mind a splash of color, but I don't like anything that screams "Look at me!!!" I usually prefer the subtle colors, but if I buy a piece that has a brighter palette, I prefer just a swath of color against a larger field of brown or gray or creamy white. I'm also not a big fan of bizarre shapes and the super-heavy lava texture...but that's just my personal preference. I've seen some interesting collections that balance all the elements of fat lava pottery.

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  9. I really love the Ü Keramik 1436-14. I haven't really looked at pottery much . . . maybe time for a new collection! Your pieces look great. I might through in a vote for the 3250 as well . . . Cheers- CT

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    1. We're staging a model penthouse for a big grand opening party, and it's looking more and more like ol' 3250 is going up there, since he's getting so many votes from you folks!

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  10. Oh my, what a WG feast!!! I have the big brother of the Scheurich 268-15, a large floor vase.
    There's quite a bit of WG around here in charity stores, and the prizes aren't bad. In the beginning, I used to pick up almost everything, but I' ve narrowed it down to the red/brown ones and the neutral/ caramel ones. The Ü Keramik 1436-14 would look right at home with my red and browns in my String:-) I think that's my favorite!
    If you were to go back, I'd get the caramel Inka patterned Scheurich to the right of the grey and green one with the crack. It's a beautiful pattern.
    Your choices are gorgeous, Dana! I would just love to see that house full of WG, you guys must have had a blast!

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    1. Your 268 floor vase must be amazing. I think that's one of my favorites of all the pieces I got. I've already made a list of all the additional pieces I want her to hold for us, and the Inka is one of them. It looks as if another trip is in order.

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  11. I'm so nuts for pottery, and your finds are exquisite! Just seeing them all had to be amazing.

    You should ask for help with Id on your vase at Modish.net. They helped me out with my West Germany pitcher.

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    1. You're right about the folks at modish.net being really helpful. I just suggested to another blogger yesterday that he ask them about a set of dishes he just bought. If one of my regular readers doesn't recognize that floor vase, I'll ask Mike Pratt and the gang, as well as the West German group. I'm sure one of them will know.

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  12. Dana, speaking of Ceramics (great jackpot, BTW!), do you know anyone who knows much about mid-century ceramics shops in California? I have a small collection of ceramic ashtrays, a couple from Royal Haeger (still in business, so I know a bit about those), and a few simply marked "CALIF (designer #) USA". My research suggests there were dozens of ceramics manufacturers in California in the 40's-60's, so I'm curious if there's any resources for narrowing it down to a specific shop or designer?

    Thanks! :D

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    1. There are several sites that have good information about California pottery, such as calpotteries.com and modish.net.

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    2. Thanks! I have scoured those and am still no wiser, though. Lots of info on art ceramics, but not much on ashtrays. I can't seem to find anyone who is into that particular niche. (:

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    3. Have you actually joined a thread on modish.net and asked if anyone can suggest an ashtray collector for you to contact? Usually those folks know who might have answers, even if they don't know themselves.

      Have you not turned up any similar pieces by looking at Google Images? That's how we identify furniture all the time. We might not find the exact piece, but we often find items similar enough that we come up with the names of several designers who might be possibilities, then we can narrow our search to that group of designers. We almost always find what we are looking for that way.

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  13. Some of those look like they came out of a Star Trek set! I always love seeing what you've found.

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    1. As fat lava goes, mine is pretty tame. :)

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  14. I'm looking for some help identifying a pottery vase as well as some European china. Any tips on places to search for help? Thanks!!

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    1. I would suggest modish.net or worthpoint.com.

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