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Selling 3 Frankoma Vases, Advice Needed :)

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Hello, all!

I am about to sell three Frankoma vases, probably via ebay. Before listing them, thought I'd ask if anyone on this discussion board would be interested in helping me verify specifics on these pieces. While I'm primarily looking for advice before posting for sale, I would also be open to selling directly if anyone is interested and that is allowed. I've a prepared draft listing text for each of these items. I've pasted these texts in below, and would welcome feedback (what did I get right or wrong, etc.) as well as any ballpark advice on value and pricing. I had difficulty linking my online photos to this post, so instead I have prepared a webpage displaying the accompanying illustrative photos (9 in all). You can see this page at:

My link

(in case the link doesn't work, that is: http://web.mac.com/kathycondon/iWeb/photos/frankoma%20photos.html)

Once on this web page, you can click on each photo for a larger image.

My thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to respond--

Kathleen Condon

#1: Jar Vase

1940s #24 Frankoma Ada Prairie Green Vase Art Deco

Early! Rare! This Art Deco-style Frankoma round vase/bowl is 5" in height and about 6" in diameter. The glaze is exquisite; it is the more matte/flat effect that is so often associated with art pottery glazes. The brown rutile effect relatively even somewhat subtle, perfectly enhancing the green hue and accenting the ornamental rings at the rim. (Photo 1) The vase is in excellent shape with no chips or cracks and only a few small defects, all of which are hardly noticeable because they occur at the base of the piece and are predominantly shaded by the rest of the vase. The gloss is missing/worn in one small area near the base, exposing a more matte finish there and also a few little metallic flecks on the surface; this looks to me like a miss in the glazing process (photo 2). Just near the base there are a few tiny scratches in the glaze (photo 3). There is also a slight whitish cast to the glaze around the foot of the vase, probably due to wear (this is visible in photos 2 and 3).

The unglazed bottom has FRANKOMA with an oblong O and the # 24 incised into the clay (Photo 4). I am no expert, but my guess it that this dates from 1942-49 because: 1) the oblong O does not appear before 1942 and 2) another seller listing a similar item cited Frankoma book that noted that this piece was discontinued in 1949.

Key words: Mid-century modern, art deco, art pottery, rutile glaze

#2: Ball Vase

Vintage Frankoma Prairie Green Ball Vase Or Rose Bowl

This beautiful piece of vintage Frankoma art pottery is a ball-shaped vase that most collectors would call a rose bowl; it could also be used as a planter. (Photo 1). It has a deep brown and green glaze that gives it a bronze style finish or patina, very arts and crafts style. The brown glaze is glossy while the green has a more matte finish. The condition is very good with no stains, chips or cracks and no flakes. The piece is about 4 1/2" high and just about 4 1/2" wide with no repairs. The glazed underside of the base is marked FRANKOMA 55; the unglazed undersides of base's four feet reveal a deep-red-colored Sapulpa Clay (Photo 2). I am no expert, but my guess is that this vase dates from between 1960 and 1970 because: 1) Sapulpa clay was not used before 1955 and 2) Frankoma had markings integral to the glaze/mold starting around 1960 and 3) the earlier Sapulpa clay Frankoma used was darker than the Sapulpa Clay that was dug up for use as time went on, so darker Sapulpa clay generally = older clay. This will make a very nice addition to any collection and it will be a wonderful piece for a collector to own and display.

Key words: Mid-century modern, art deco, art pottery, rutile glaze

#3: Swirl Vase

Rare Swirl/Snail Pattern #833 Frankoma Prairie Green Vase

This unique and gorgeous vintage Frankoma vase has a breath-taking, art-deco style (Photo 1).The deep brown and green glaze gives it a bronze style finish or patina, applied so as to perfectly accentuate the vase's dramatic lines. The condition is very good with no stains or cracks. There is just one tiny fleabite chip at edge of the rim of the vase (Photo 2--the chip looks much worse than it is in this magnified photo). The piece is about 6"H, 6"W and 3"D. The unglazed underside of this piece reveals red-colored Sapulpa Clay; it is incised FRANKOMA 833 (Photo 3). I believe that this vase is made of Sapulpa clay, which would mean it was sometime after 1954, when Frankoma first switched to Sapulpa clay. I believe it was made before 1960 because I have read that after that FRANKOMA no longer incised pieces, but it is possible that what looks like incision to me is just an unglazed mark that was part of the mold. Sorry that I am no expert and so am unable to date this with more certainty; I can only say that it must be very rare because I found it almost impossible to find another one like it anywhere on the internet. This will make a striking addition to any collection and it will be a wonderful piece for a collector to own and display.

Key words: Mid-century modern, art deco, art pottery, rutile glaze

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None of those is an exceptionally rare piece (although if you read ebay auctions, 97% of the Frankoma out there is extremely rare).

The most important things are the mold numbers, clay type, and condition.

#1. Vase, round 6". Produced from 1936 to 1949. From the color, I'd probably put it into the early 40's, but I'm not very good at interpreting age from the color. Book value is $75-85 in good condition.

#2. Ball Vase. 1942-1967. Clay color suggests that it was made somewhere in the 60's. Book value $12-15.

#3. Swirled Honey Jug. Produced in the 50's (approx 1950-1956). From the color, it looks like transitional or early Sapulpa clay, so probably late 50's. Book value $20-25. (frankoma.org puts it at $25-50).


Don't put too much faith into statements about when particular type of scribing was used. I've seen a number of pieces produced at the same time with different marks. For each design, a master mold is produced, and then working molds are made from the master as needed. There didn't seem to be any hard and fast rules about which type of marking to use at any given time except for the earliest years. Your comments may be useful as a guide, but there are so many exceptions that it's only a rough guide. On #3, for example, that mark is in the mold.

Book values are from Schaum's book. The book is nearly 10 years old, but in my experience, the values are still not that far off from what you might see in an antique store. eBay sales may be lower (if I had to guess, I'd say that #3 is the most likely one to reach book value).

Good luck.

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