monthly newsletter vol. 6 January 2003
The Wonderful World of
Open Salts
by pjt
The salt on the left in the bottom row was the author's very first salt.  It was given to her by a friend at a 1982 New Year's Eve party.

Here is how the author, GPSA member pjt,
tells it:
From the Editor...

Our Best To You For 2003!

This month's issue comes to you with some wonderful glimpses into the
specialties of our GPSA members!  We know you will enjoy the lush photos and accompanying history of open salts provided by pjt . Regular contributor febreb brings you some very detailed information on how to differntiate between authentic vintage Little Red Riding Hood Cookie Jars and their more recent imitators.  And diantiqes begins the new year with a new feature - Plate of the Month.  In addition, we would like to thank eBay member jchipman for allowing us to feature his recent eBay success with a Bauer ashtray.  And, as always, we welcome our new members.

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reading the GPSA Gazette, please subscribe below. No sales person will call (no spam will clutter your inbox either)! Do you know someone who might enjoy our newsletters? Feel free to send them a link!
A Selection of Fostoria Open Salts
"I thought my friend's collection of 12 different open salts were little doll house punch bowls. I had never seen an open salt before. I had no idea what they were our how they were used.. Boy, have I learned a lot in the past 20 years... and I still have lots yet to learn !"
These precious little dishes have been called salt dips, celery dips, open salts, salt cellars, trenchers, or just salts.  Open salt is the name most commonly used.  Referring to the salt as "open" helps to distinguish it from a salt shaker.
New at GPSA...

As we close the book on 2002 it seems like a good time to look back over the past year and see how far we've come.
It's just astonishing to me how the GPSA has grown since our very beginning in May of 2002. None of us knew how to build a website - let alone how to publish an online newsletter!

What we did know before the GPSA was how to treat our customers, and that we enjoyed glass and pottery.
Now we know we're not alone. In fact there are LOTS of us!

Forming the GPSA has given many of us a support system that is generally non existent for online sellers. Our members help each other with not only glass,pottery, and eBay questions, but have become a caring family of friends who remember to say "Happy Birthday", or "I saw the tornadoes in your state on the news, are you okay?"

I find myself amazed every day by the generosity and sincere committment our members have to sharing their expertise, their time, and their ideas.

When asked "What's New with the GPSA?" I guess I would have to answer "Everything!"

Stay tuned for even more resources, information, and fun in the coming year!

We're just getting started!
Some Gorgeous Porcelain and Pottery Open Salts
Open salts are made from any material imaginable including crystal, glass, pottery, wood, plastic, aluminum, sterling and plated silver. The shapes can range from the most elegant combinations of sterling silver and cut crystal pedestals, to small, simple, plain glass or wooden or pottery dishes.

Open salts have been around since early Pre-Christian times - one of the most famous open salts is the one pictured in Leonard de Vinci's painting of "The Last Supper" where there is an upturned open salt in front of Judas signifying bad luck.  It is reported that King Edward III (1329) owned over 500 open salts!
A Variety of Cut Glass Salts
Salt shakers are a relatively new convenience. Table salt, prior to it being treated with a moisture absorbing chemical in the early 1900's, would clump and harden.  It had to be ground and broken up since placing it directly into a shaker would just allow it to clump up in the shaker and be useless. 
The first salt shakers had built in agitators  made with springs or coils to help break up the clumps.  Even so, the open salt continued to be the most convenient method to serve salt at the table.   After the clumping problem was solved people continued to use open salts because of their beauty and elegance.  They are avidly collected today.
A Group of Pressed Glass Salts from Various Companies

Open Salt collectors have many references dedicated solely to their subject.   Some of the most popular are:

Heacock, William & Johnson, Patricia
, 5000 Open Salts, A Collector's Guide, The Glass Press, Inc, Marietta, Ohio, Reprinted 1995, referred to as H&J in this article and in many collectors references

Smith, Allan B. and Smith, Helen B, et a
l,  Open Salts Series of 10 Books, The Country House, Topsham, Maine, 1972 - 1984,referred to as Smith with picture plate number and row - column location numbers

And a Brand New Book just out...

Jzyk, Sandra and Robertson, Nina, The Open Salt Compendium, Shiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, Pa, 2002. (I, as well as other collectors, refer to this resource as OSC)
Who Says Ash Trays Don't Sell on eBay?
Don't You Wish You Had One of These?
The closing price on this outstanding Bauer Pottery Ashtray from 1930 surprised it's seller ...

and he's a man who's not easily surprised!  The seller was Jack Chipman, author of Collector's Encyclopedia of Bauer Pottery and Collector's Encyclopedia of California Pottery. 

The ashtray, which he estimated to be worth $500+, sold on eBay recently for $2,158.   Our congratulations on this terrific sale!
Photos Courtesy of
eBay Member
More Recent Glass and Pottery Ashtray Auctions of Interest
Messer Pottery Prairie Dog Ashtray                            $868.88

Catalina Island Pottery Seal Rock Ashtray                   $735.01
Redwing Pottery Ashtray, 1965 All-Star Game            $380.00

1948 Cleveland Indians World Champions Glass         $227.55 

Cambridge Glass Nude Carmen Red Ashtray               $226.69

Hotel Royal Nevada Glass Ashtray, Las Vegas            $225.01
Plate of the Month
A 19th Century Coalport Plate
by diantiques
Antique English porcelains are among the most prized examples for collectors and the beauty of this 19th century COALPORT plate from England may explain that popularity.  One of the oldest and most venerable of the porcelain makers, the Coalport factory began production in 1795 and has enjoyed great success throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
Although some porcelain items from Coalport are not marked, there are some clues to help identify porcelains. The form and style of certain gilt accents, particularly the rococo scrollwork and gold berries can be found on many popular patterns from Coalport. Botanically correct flowers with shaded foliage and the use of deep cobalt blue can sometimes be accurately attributed to Coalport.
This authentic, high styled 19th century plate, which measures about 9 and 1/2" is quintessential Coalport. Attributed to painter Stephen Lawrance as it matches the illustrations in Michael Messenger's COALPORT book page 284,   the center spray of pansy like flowers is surrounded by a band of intricate gold work. The cavetto has oval cartouche areas with polychrome or multicolored flowers and the rim is molded with stylized shells and raised enamel yellow trim. Brilliant white porcelain with a high glaze, this plate is translucent but weighty for it's size, and is an outstanding example of Coalport china!
Before You Add Her to Your Basket of Goodies, Know ...
Little Red Riding Hood's Pedigree
by febreb
"Once upon a time...

there was a dear little girl who was loved by every one who looked at her, but most of all by her grandmother, and there was nothing that she would not have given to the child.

Once she gave her a little cap of red velvet, which suited her so well that she would never wear anything else. So she was always called Little Red Riding Hood."

The Brothers Grimm
A charming piece most likely made by an amateur ceramsist.
photo courtesy of the_pink_monkey
An authentic Hull Little Red Rding Hood Cookie Jar
photo courtesy of febreb
Little Red Riding Hood, a 19th century fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm has proven to be a charming and enduring character. But, just as the story has been reprinted hundreds of times with almost as many variations from the original , the kitchenware collectibles patented by Hull Pottery in the 1940s have been copied, and copied, and copied... Here are a few tips to help you recognize original Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH) pieces , and distinguish them from the more modern reproductions. (As well as the beloved and sometimes well done ceramic class projects.)

The very first Little Red Riding Hood pieces were patented and produced by Hull Pottery of Crooksville Ohio. Much of the hand painted decorating was contracted out to the Regal China Company. Within a few years all LRRH items were being manufactured AND decorated by Regal China. Few collectors bother to make a distinction between the two, so the Regal and the Hull pieces are generally referred to as Hull. Apparently only the original open basket cookie jar, the grease jar, and a set of salt and pepper shakers were actually made by Hull. The batter pitcher, cream and sugars, large shakers and myriad of other items came later and were in fact Regal products. Don't distress - these pieces are very collectible as well!

Let's focus not on the difference between Regal and Hull, but on the differences between these vintage Little Red Riding Hoods,and the recent flood of reproductions. Since an original Hull (or Regal) LRRH cookie jar has a book price of $450 - $600, and her modern counterpart retails for about $50, this is an important distinction!

1) The very first hard and fast rule: if it says McCoy - its a reproduction! McCoy Pottery NEVER made a Little Red Riding Hood cookie jar. McCoy also never copyrighted or patented their own trademark, but that's a whole other story... Please just bear in mind that McCoy DID NOT make Little Red Riding Hood, and their mark has been copied by many unscrupulous importers.
2) Crazing on LRRH:  this is a dead give-away! Original LRRH items are hardly ever crazed. They were made of a very high quality vitreous china that is not prone to crazing! There are of course exceptions. I myself have a cookie jar with some crazing on the base. My guess is that she spent her life a little to close to the heat of a stove top, and her glaze was affected by the expansion and contraction of heat and cold. Many of the reproduction Little Red Riding Hoods have an artificial crazing that is intended to fool a buyer into believing the piece is old. After all, crazing = age, right? Wrong! This artificial crazing is generally over done, and doesn't resemble natural crazing at all.

3) Eye color is another clue to look for:   O
riginal LRRH items have blue eyes. There were several shades of blue used, but almost invariably blue. Almost all of the reproduction pieces I have seen have green eyes. I say almost invariably blue, because these pieces were hand painted and the artistry can vary from piece to piece. The later reproductions, while also hand painted are rarely as well done as the originals, in fact most are disturbingly clumsy. Look for quality of decoration and painting.
4) What about the gold? I've hear a few different people question the authenticity of a genuine Hull LRRH because the gold accents seem too bright. The original gold used is very bright, and you will have to exercise a little judgment and detective work to decide if the gold is appropriate. The gold accents on original pieces is used sparingly, and never overdone. If it is in an area that would not naturally be handled often (as on a bow under her chin rather than on a handle) it will likely be in very good and shiny condition. I would be suspect of too much gold, or gold without appropriate wear on a handle.

5) Look at the details of the mold:
  the later reproduction often lack the detail and crispness of the original pieces, and have a soft look to them with details that should have been molded hastily painted instead.
The following link shows a fairly charming reproduction made by Dept. 56 with a border of violets decorating Little Red Riding Hoods skirt. Neither Hull or Regal ever used a violet decal. The most popular floral decals used were poppies, although there were a few others including Poinsettias. The flowers on the reproductions are often large and garish. Click on the button below to test what you've learned, compare five different Little Red Riding Hood cookie jars.
As with most things, experience is the best teacher. Once you have examined a genuine item and compared it with a reproduction it will become much easier to spot the differences. As always, I advise anyone investing in a collectible whether for themselves or as a gift for someone else to please do a little bit of homework first. If you don't have a book, try researching online - there is a web site by and/or devoted to almost anything anyone collects. Spending a little time before making a purchase could save you headaches, as well as dollars, in the end.
The following eBay sellers became GPSA members in November.  As members of the GPSA, they have committed to upholding the standards of the
Glass & Pottery Sellers' Association
nvilla, edsoldstuff, past-glass
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Archived Issues
December 2002
Mercury Glass Deer,
Head Vases
November 2002
Corn Ware, Cranberry Glass, Turkey Plates,
October 2002
Steigel Green, Slag Glass, Fraud
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September 2002
Mosaics, Mercury Glass, Stretch vs Swung
August 2002
Roseville & Catalina Repros
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