Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Guide to Collecting Weller Silvertone Pottery

Introduction


It is known that the S.A. Weller Company produced the Silvertone line throughout the 1920's in Zanesville, Ohio. Unfortunately, a full list of all shapes and designs are yet to be discovered. It seems like every year a new and unknown piece comes to light, sparking interest in collectors everywhere. There are over 30 shapes known, and many more designs, making it challenging and fun line to collect.

Weller Silvertone Calla Lily Vase

Silvertone designs


The backgrounds are typically textured in shades of grey, blue, and white, creating aesthetically pleasing palette for the many designs that adorn them.The various flowers found on Weller Silvertone include calla lily, daisies, hydrangea, irises, roses, cherry blossoms, magnolia, chrysanthemums, dogwood, thistle, poppies, lilies, and more. The calla lily, daisy, and roses appear more common, while dogwood and thistle appear less often. Occasionally pieces are found decorated with butterfly's or other garden insects, and are considered rare. All of the Weller Silvertone pieces are hand painted with a semi-matt glaze. The shapes run the full gamut, including vases, baskets, bowls, compotes, candlesticks, baskets, flower frogs, and wall pockets.


Weller Silvertone Basket with Magnolias

Marks and Tags


Weller Silvertone is never impressed in the base clay with a Weller mark or signature. Silver foil labels were often applied at the factory identifying it as a Weller product, but these labels have usually fallen off and disappeared over the intervening decades. In rare instances pieces can be found with artist signatures or initials under the glaze in an inconspicuous place, usually very small, but never on the bottom of the foot.


Weller Silvertone Vase with Poppies

What makes a piece exceptional?

Collectors of Weller Silvertone are a rather picky lot. It is very difficult to sell nearly any piece of Weller Silvertone if it is damaged or repaired. Likewise, the glazes used were quite resilient, and not very susceptible to crazing. Crazed pieces will only command a fraction of the value of an uncrazed piece. Also, being a very picky group, they pay more attention to the sharpness of the mold than collectors of most other pottery. When the molds are first used, the designs are crisp and sharp, and as more and more pieces are produced the designs slowly get blurred and less defined. Collectors seek out those with sharp molds and brilliant colors, as well as unusual shapes and designs.

Conclusion


Collecting Weller Silvertone, or any other Vintage Weller Pottery can provide an amazing display in your home or office, and it can be quite challenging. For decades after such pottery fell out of favor it was often just thrown in the trash when moving, or sold at flea markets for 5 or 10 cents. It was considered almost disposable, and so often it was simply disposed of. It was not until the 1990's that collectors rediscovered Weller pottery lines, and now these pieces can be rare and difficult to obtain. Prices have been steadily rising for this interesting and collectible line, as more and more vanish from the market into private collections. For more information on Weller pottery, visit the online Weller Pottery resource page.