Evaluating and Comparing Roseville Pottery
Roseville pottery collectors typically like their pieces to be free of any damage and repair. Unfortunately, the supply of repair-free Roseville pottery has continued to decline over the years. Roseville pottery collectors often estimate that well over 50% of the Roseville pottery available on the market today has some degree of damage or repair. It is generally accepted that there is more repaired Roseville pottery on the market than any other antique art pottery.
While mint condition Roseville is still more highly sought after by the majority, some collectors are becoming more accepting of repaired Roseville pottery. While mint pieces of Roseville pottery still command higher values and hold better long-term investment potential, the hardest to find forms in the more desirable or hottest Roseville pottery patterns such as Sunflower, Baneda, Futura, and others can approach book value prices even in professionally restored condition. We typically advise Roseville collectors that we work with that if we are likely to see the same piece of Roseville pottery within 6 months or so that they may want to wait for a mint example rather than going with a damaged or repaired piece.
Examples of Roseville pottery often vary substantially in terms of mold, color, glaze quality, and the degree of factory flaws. While it is pretty obvious, that examples of Roseville pottery without factory flaws will command higher prices and be more sought after by Roseville collectors, definitions of good mold and color are somewhat subjective and to some extent in the eyes of the particular Roseville pottery buyer. Most collectors prefer examples with strong, deep color, and crisp, detailed molds.
Roseville pottery factory flaws such as excessive peppering and extensive glaze pops will reduce the value and resale potential of virtually any Roseville pottery line. The majority of Roseville pottery will typically exhibit some degree of factory flaws and glaze crazing. Many of the recognized art pottery galleries such as Cincinnati Art Gallery, David Rago, and Treadway Gallery state that crazing is to be expected on all glazed pottery. As such, Roseville pottery collectors do not usually put a significant premium on uncrazed examples or discount for crazing as long as the crazing is not distracting and not noticeable when the piece is held at arms length.
When evaluating glaze quality and color on Roseville pottery beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder. For example, some collectors prefer their Roseville green Baneda pieces to have a lot of blue drip and runny colors. Others do not. Some Roseville Sunflower collectors insist upon no yellow glaze runs in the sunflowers; while to others this is not a concern in the least.
As with any other antique American art pottery, collectors of Roseville pottery should look at their purchases as an investment decision and consider condition issues such as the extent of damage, repair and factory flaws prior to making a particular purchasing decision. Beyond that, issues such as color, glaze, and mold are specific to each individual piece of Roseville and need to be evaluated as such.