I am often asked, “What kind of stoneware should I collect?” My answer is always, “Collect whatever brings a smile to your face every time you look at it.”
The question being asked is really, “What will I be able to sell later and either get my money back or even make some money? What is a good investment?” Without being a prophet, no one can answer these questions. However, I do know that if you buy what you really like and buy quality, your collection will give you a lot of joy and satisfaction.
People often think that I have a large collection of late 18th or early 19th-century stoneware. They are right using the adjective “large” (I never collect in small numbers!) but are surprised when I say I collect blue and white spatterware and spongeware. Unless it is sponged, I sell all the stoneware that comes my way. The blue and white are what brings a smile to my face, especially all displayed in a large open cupboard like that pictured here.
Collections can be built on a few pieces that have captured your fancy. They may be inherited from relatives, or found on antiquing trips with friends. Sometimes you have a wonderful cabinet that you know would really look fantastic packed with yellow ware, canning jars, or small crocks, so you slowly fill the shelves and a collection is born. Or it may be that you have some friends into a particular type of stoneware and you want to be a part of the hunting, the road trips, and the conversation.
You certainly have a lot of options for building a stoneware collection. Stoneware was used to store, prepare, and serve food. That leaves a lot of possibilities from more rustic and utilitarian pieces to more refined pieces.
Your collection can be defined by:
Form: canning jars, preserve jars, jugs, crocks, churns, bowls, bean pots, pitchers, cups and saucers, plates, platters, etc.
Type: salt glaze, Bristol glaze, hand-turned, molded
Locations: states, cities, hometowns or larger regions like the bluebird potteries of Ohio or Shenandoah Valley of Virginia)
Potters: individual potters like Norton, Burger, or Remmey
Decoration: tornadoes, flowers, birds, animals
Color: gray and blue, blue and white, green and white, brown and yellow, etc.
Size: miniatures to 20 gallons
Old or Contemporary: Some contemporary pottery will be the old pottery of the future like Jerry Beaumont or R. and B. Diebboll
Whatever stoneware you decide to collect, let it be fun and satisfying for you. My goal at Doc’s Crocks is to provide a wide variety of stoneware so that all collectors can find something that puts a smile on their face.