Sunday, July 24, 2011

In summer,

the song sings itself. ~William Carlos Williams

It is actually singing at the top of its lungs here in the east...a million choruses of Martha & the Vandellas' Heat Wave!

But, life goes on...and I am constantly unwrapping a stash of bird vases and wall pockets. Some colorful pottery birds from Royal Copley and Czechoslovakia (before it was split).
Royal Copley was made by Spaulding China in Sebring, Ohio in 1942. The research shows that "they sold assortments of birds, vases, figurines, and wall pockets and named the assortments with fancy names like Regal Assortment, Essex Assortment, Lennox Assortment, and Crown Assortment. Department stores loved this marketing tool and bought and sold thousands of these assortments. The Spaulding Company used the slogan 'Gift Shop Merchandise at Chain Store Prices'." I chuckled at the last line...chain store prices...what goes around... They became the second largest producer of art-ware pottery in the United States. After the end of World War II, due to the re-emergence of imports, sales at the Spaulding declined. In 1957, Morris Feinberg, the President and Owner of Spaulding retired. Another company, China Craft filled the remaining orders and contracts for the next two years. However, production of Spaulding China ceased with the retirement of Feinberg. So many companies seemed to have closed when the owner died, but, in a way it is bittersweet because it is more human than the corporate megatrons we have today.

The Czechoslovakian birds are difficult to track to a specific factory. It reflects the shattered history of that area. In November 1918, at the end of World War I, the Paris Peace committee created a new country with the Bohemia, Moravia & Austrian Silesia sections of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and a northern strip of Hungary. The committee named the new country Czecho-Slovak Republic, with a hyphen. In 1920, Ruthenia was made a part of Czechoslovakia. Most of the people in the new country were the Czechs (Bohemians) and Slovaks, thus the name Czecho-Slovakia. However, there were great differences between their cultural and religious traditions. The country's pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair has the spelling Czechoslovak and CZECHO-SLOVAKIA. At times, you will see the German spelling with a "w" instead of a "v," Czecho-Slowakia, or an "e" at the end instead of an "a," Czecho-Slovakie. Another spelling is Tehechoslovacia. During Hitler's Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, the country was part of Germany; therefore, some Bohemian porcelain states Germany as the country of origin.

Internal and external political and economic conditions had a major effect on the stability of the factories. The factories went broke and changed hands frequently, as well as merging with one another. The factories were renamed and made changes to their marks often. The founders, financiers, decorators, and others seemed to wander from one company to another. Still they produced some amazing pieces of pottery...these birds are examples of their fine work. I also have a wonderful flower frog in the shape of birds. This one is from US zone Western Germany. Again a mark that represents an historical earmark. This mark dates to 1945-1949.
Then, there are the unmarked pieces of pottery...the orphans in a land where people want to know who made many factories did not realize Antique Roadshow would be crucial in the future. This little planter is one of those sweet unmarked treasures.In my 20 years in the antique business, I have never been taken by a name. Interestingly, the values of things have dropped as the economy dipped, so it really does not matter. If you love it, and if you have a use for it, buy it.

Thanks for flying in!

“The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.”
~William Blake

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