Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spotting a Fake Roseville

Reproduction Alert

The Real Thing!!!! 

Recently one of the most widely collected and sought after pottery makers, Roseville, has become the target of reproduction vultures. I do not believe there is a shop that I have visited in the last year, that I have not stumbled across a piece of Roseville Pottery that upon examination, proved to be a reproduction. It appears that this new quantity of reproductions first started showing up in our markets en masse about 9 months ago.

The quality of these reproductions has been fair to very good and has succeeded in fooling even the most seasoned of dealers. Reproduced items have been acquired in reputable Auction Houses, flea markets, yard sales, and through just about every source that dealers in this trade use to bring their wares to the public. From what I have seen , these pieces are being acquired at very low prices and are , in turn, offered to the public at prices that turn a quick tidy profit.

So O.K. , How do spot the reproduction? The glaze on most fakes is very dull and lacks depth.  Colors are used that real Roseville never used in the original different patterns. For instance, Brown was not used in the pattern Foxglove, yet, a lot of brown Foxglove has appeared on the market. Initially, the Roseville fakes had a raised (in relief) Roseville USA on the bottom. Apparently, U.S. Customs had a problem with that, so the ones being produced now just say Roseville, with a space below that word where USA would have been.  According to reference material, Roseville (without USA) was used only from 1932-1937 and only as an impressed mark, never in relief. If a piece has Roseville in relief without USA, you can be pretty certain that it is a fake, particularly if there is an empty space where USA should be. 

On the other hand, the use of Roseville USA does not guarantee that it is authentic. Other indications are present in the fakes that I feel are the most indicative of forgery and they are the futile attempts of using stain under glaze on the bottom to simulate aging. Even the oldest pieces of real Roseville, that I own or have seen, do not look as old as the fakes. Below is an example of the Reproduction Mark most commonly seen today. This mark is always in high relief.


Let the Buyer Beware