Thursday, January 15, 2009
I collect McCoy pottery. The first McCoy pottery was established in 1848 in Putman, Ohio. Later Putman became a part of Zanesville. The company goes clear back to 18o6 when a redware potter used red surface clay to produce household items needed by the settlers. They started out making crocks, jugs and jars from clay in fields and then small factories started production. When W. Nelson McCoy and his uncle started making quantities of products for the local market and colored some of their pottery, business boomed.
A lot of the early pieces are not marked. Some only have numbers. Without a book to help identify each piece it can be very hard to tell if each piece is "The real McCoy". I always hope that there is a mark on the bottom, but when there isn't I rely on my McCoy pottery Encyclopedia to identify each new piece.
I'm limited, by space in my house, as to how big my collection can grow. Over the years I've collected only off-white and shades of green which I just love. I have a few beautiful pieces that are in other finishes that I just couldn't live without and are wonderful additions to the collection, but I always go back to the off-white and green.
There are thousands of pieces in the book that I have never seen. Some are really ugly; like black Seagram's ashtrays, buffalo caddies and W.C. Fields decanters. Some are the same mold but in lots of different glazes. Some are bizarre and some are astoundingly beautiful. You have lots of choices. The prices were high a few years ago and recently have gone down.
I love the finishes that are matte more than the shiny ones but most of the pieces that will hold food or water are shiny.. Some of the greens are different shades and there are usually flaws in the glaze or workmanship. It's kind of a Wabi Sabi collection. Some are just old and well used. I love that they lived lives somewhere else and ended up here.
I have to find creative ways to display this collection. This group is in the kitchen ,on the top of my cabinets. It looks good but it's hard to keep clean. When the dust starts falling on us and I can see a brown edge on the pieces, then I get motivated . It needs a ladder, good balance and a dust cloth and..., I'm getting old. Needless to say, it doesn't get done too often.