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Antique Pottery Reproductions
A short story
Antique reproductions have abounded on the market for as many years as there have been antiques. As early as the 1960s, reproductions of early examples of patterned glass from the late 1800s began to appear in antique shops, markets and fairs. This early appearance of reproductions stimulated a niche market in antiques and collectibles.
What happened in the 1960s spawned incredible growth in reproductions not only in glass markets, but also in almost every specialty antique and collectibles market, including cast iron and pottery. In the early 1970s, the Merritt family, led by Mary and Bob Merritt, started one of the oldest reproduction wholesalers in the United States, which later, following a family dispute, transformed into one of the most successful businesses in the field of antique reproduction, known as Fred & Dottie’s, Inc.
Until the late 1970s, Merritts enjoyed a certain monopoly until Fred Burkholder (son of Mary Merritt) and Dottie (wife of Fred), both minority shareholders, parted ways with Merritt after a bitter family dispute. Fred and Dottie Burkholder formed Fred & Dottie’s, Inc. and started their own wholesale reproduction business a few miles from their former business partners.
Within a few years, rivals were competing fiercely as more and more reproduction wholesalers began to appear in the United States. Ralph Lussino and his brother, John, friends and former clients of Burkholder’s and Merritts threw their “hat in the ring” and formed Castle Antiques and Reproductions.
These three reproduction wholesalers are still in business as of this writing, although Castle is in the process of liquidating all of its inventory and closing in late 2008.
Late 1800s glassware reproductions were extremely popular in the 1960s and 1970s, but began to lose popularity, giving way to Depression-era glassware reproductions in the 1980s. were defined mainly by the demand of the public to decorate with the most fashionable trend of the time. As the 1980s and early 1990s saw a dramatic increase in demand for Depression-era glassware, reproduction markets responded with hundreds of Depression-era glassware designs. . Over time, the late 1990s saw a trend toward 1950s art pottery, which spurred a growth in reproductions by Weller, McCoy, Roseville, and Majolica potters. The most popular of all these companies was the McCoy Pottery Company, primarily because it was the most recognizable, affordable, and diverse of all 1950s potters.
In 1997, an American manufacturer set out to replicate some of McCoy’s most popular designs, successfully manufacturing a range of over 110 pieces, including cookie jars, vases, creamers, bowls, black keepsakes and planters. . Until that time, an overwhelming majority of reproductions were made in China, Mexico, India, Taiwan and England. It would be the only American manufacturer of reproduction pottery and the only company authorized to use the American logo on all of their pottery. (Foreign imports are not permitted by law to put the United States on their items per US Federal Customs Law)
Designers and decorators want to improve their clients’ homes and businesses, but are unable to find an available supply of the types of antiques they need. Collectors wishing to enrich their collection can search for years for this rare “missing piece” in their collection. There is a shortage of original antiques on the market, and this supply is diminishing every day as more and more people buy original antiques.
Imagine buying an original tiffany lamp for $4500 or you can choose a reproduction that has the same look and mostly better quality at a fraction of the price ($300 to $500). You can decorate a room with an original or your whole house with reproductions. Designers and decorators over the past decade have used reproductions to decorate customers’ homes and businesses because it’s more affordable and the insurance replacement cost premium is much lower. The only one who really knows that the beautiful ‘Antique’ is not an original is you!
- The look’
When decorating, we all want to give our visitors, friends and customers the impression of wealth and the attitude “we are fine”. What better way to stretch your decorating budget than to display beautiful antique reproductions in your home or business? He simply shouts, “I’m fine! Look at my beautiful collection!” We all desire this LOOK, the look we maintain with the “Jones”, the look that breathes and illustrates the quintessence of wealth.
Remember when…? A question you’ve probably asked many times in your life, thinking back to the good old days or remembering that favorite vase Mom or Grandma always had on the mantle, or the cookie jar she had in the kitchen. It brings back the “good OLE days” when you see Grandma’s cookie jar, you remember her baking your favorite chocolate chip cookies, and you can almost taste them again.
Our lives are filled with memories that remind us of the good times in our lives as we grew up. Having reproductions available and being able to easily acquire them brings back an avalanche of memories, giving us a sense of euphoria and contentment.
When you combine demand, affordability, “looks” and memorabilia, you can see why antique reproductions are such an integral part of our lives. If you have been inspired by this article to reminisce, or would like to decorate your home or business with beautiful antique reproduction pottery, take a moment and visit the links below.
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