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Hi -- I've enjoyed reading the posts on this forum. I am trying to help my mother-in-law sell her Fiestaware collection, but I wasn't familiar with Fiesta until this week. I've done many, many hours of research and find that I'm more confused than educated!

I think she has some pieces that are valuable, but the prices that I'm seeing on dealer sites are SO much higher than what I'm seeing things selling for on ebay.

I have printed out a chart of the colors and their dates, but I have a hard time deciding which color is which. Is there somewhere to get educated on markings to help determine the ages of pieces? Is there anywhere on the web to see a color chart that is accurate, or is there a book that is really good for this?

Thank you for any help you can provide!

mlptx

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You need a good book. In fact, you may need several. Fortunately, there are quite a few good reference books aimed at those of us who collect Fiesta and other Homer Laughlin dishes, and they are available in bookstores, on eBay and from online booksellers such as amazon.com.

You have discovered that it's not exactly simple to figure out what a "yellow" dish is worth. Fiesta was introduced in 1935 and, except for the hiatus between 1969 and 1986, has been produced ever since in a rainbow of different colors and in a variety of pieces. A good reference book will teach you how to identify a piece by its backstamp, its glazed or unglazed "foot," what "saggar pins" are and how the presence of saggar pin marks can determine if a piece is "vintage" or "post-86."

If I had to choose just one book, it would be Fiesta, Harlequin, & Kitchen Kraft Dinnerwares: The Homer Laughlin China Collectors Association Guide (Schiffer Book for Collectors), but there are other good books, too, such as Collector's Encyclopedia of Fiesta by Bob & Sharon Huxford, and Homer Laughlin: Decades of Dinnerware.

There's a lot to learn!

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I love the cat picture on your posts -- makes me laugh every time I look at it!

Thank you for your answer. I'm heading to our public library this morning to see if they have any of these books -- if not, I'll try Barnes & Noble.

One question -- she has one piece that I'm pretty confident on the identity, but it would be nice if you could give your opinion. It is a complete relish tray set in light green (all pieces same color and in excellent condition). From research, I'm thinking this is worth at least $300-$350. Would you agree with that?

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Yes, I would agree with your estimate. The relish tray was one of the original pieces when Fiesta was introduced in 1935. They continued in production for 11 years. The original colors were cobalt, red, yellow, green and ivory. Turquoise was added later.

Here is a quote from Fiesta, Harlequin, & Kitchen Kraft Dinnerwares: The Homer Laughlin China Collectors Association Guide (Schiffer Book for Collectors), about the relish trays.

Part of the fun of collecting the Fiesta relish tray involves finding all the pieces. Originally sold by HLC to wholesalers in one color, the parts were often mixed by retailers to provide a variety of color schemes from which their customers could choose. Today some collectors want a relish tray as it came "from the factory." But many others find the mixed color relish more appealing. Because of this, values for the individual pieces will vary by color.

Book values for one-color trays, by color, are

  • Cobalt - $310-325
  • Red - $295-310
  • Yellow - $285-300
  • Green - $290-300
  • Ivory - $310-325
  • Turquoise - $305-315

Since this particular book was published in 2000, I believe the values given are probably a little low.

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Thank you so much. I think I'll start with that piece -- she also has an original green carafe that I'm trying to price. I checked the public library and Barnes & Noble, but neither had the book you recommended. I'll see if I can find a used one to order on-line.

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Can I ask one more question? How reliable is the glazing of the foot for dating? She has a Bud Vase in turquoise that she thinks is very old, but the part that touches the surface is not glazed. That makes me think it is the 1988 turquoise and not the 1937-1969 turquoise. What do you think?

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You can ask as many questions as you like. That's what this forum is all about.

First, the only place I know for sure you can get Fiesta, Harlequin, & Kitchen Kraft Dinnerwares: The Homer Laughlin China Collectors Association Guide (Schiffer Book for Collectors) is from www.amazon.com. It's not cheap: $29.16, BUT you can order a used copy for as little as $15.90. Do a search in the Books category for "fiesta dinnerware." You'll see lots of Fiesta books.

That search will also show you another of the books I mentioned, The Collector's Encyclopedia of Fiesta, which is somewhat cheaper ($16.47) and cheaper still if you order a used copy. I have an earlier edition of this book, and it contains a very nice explanation of the whole "saggar pin/wiped foot" thing, which directly addresses your question about the turquoise bud vase. I'll quote part of it:

... New Fiesta pieces all have a dry or wiped foot; there is no glaze covering the area that touches the table. Old tripod candlesticks almost always had a fully glazed foot and three saggar pin scars on the underside; new ones will always have a dry, wiped foot. Even compared to those items which in the vintage line had a wiped foot (the bulb candlesticks, tall and bud vases, pitchers, and sauce boats, for instance), the new ones display a raw clay that has a bit more shine and is brighter white than the clay used to make the old line. In addition, old items were dipped in the glaze by hand, whereas the glaze on the new Fiesta is sprayed on. It is often possible to see the speckled spray pattern on new items, especially under the handles of the pitchers, etc., or under the foot of items like the candle holders, sauce boats, or bud vases.

So your mother-in-law could be right -- or you could be right. You'll have to examine it closely and compare the bud vase foot with pieces you know to be Post-86 Fiesta. It can turn you into a real detective.

Oh, and by the way, the vintage green carafe -- such a beautiful piece -- has a book value of $300-310. Of course, that's if both the carafe and the cork stopper are in excellent condition.

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I was getting ready to list the carafe on ebay, but I noticed on the bottom, there is a CP imprinted with the Fiesta logo. Do you know if this has a meaning?

Thanks.

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If there's any way you can post a photo of the vase, please do so. I think that's the only way we'll know for sure that you're dealing with genuine Fiesta. Sometimes a heavy glaze can obscure portions of a backstamp, so the "CP" you think you're seeing may in fact be something else.

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Can you direct me to directions on how to insert images? I have them saved in Pictures on my computer. I tried to use the Insert Image icon, but it asked for a URL: -- ???

Thanks

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You'll need to upload your photo to one of the free photo storage sites like Picasa (see http://picasa.google.com/ ) or SnapFish (see http://www.snapfish.com/helpstorage#quality ) or PhotoBucket (see http://photobucket.com/ ). If you google "photo storage website" or "free online photo storage" you will find lots of options. Then you'll be able to fill in the URL for your photo. It may post as a link to the photo or the actual photo -- either way, it works, and you'll find lots of other uses for this service.

Let me know if you have questions about this.

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Ah. You must be wondering why there's an "H" on the bottom of these vases. I think the first color HLC did this with was Pearl Gray. When HLC reissued colors in Post-86 Fiesta that had been used in vintage Fiesta, even some collectors had trouble distinguishing between the old and new. In response to confusion about the similarity between the original and newer colors (like Pearl Gray, Rose, Cobalt), HLC added a raised "H" to the underside of the items which share the old-style molds (like disc water pitchers, vases and sauce boats). Therefore, any piece of Fiesta with the raised "H" is definitely Post-86.

However, your question about the CP still stands. Do you have a photo of that mark?

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The link works for me. That's a beautiful carafe and, you're right, there are the letters "CP" big as life. I notice that they are not part of the backstamp, but are located on the base of the piece. (The base is cast separately.) I have never seen this, and I'm calling on the Fiesta fans in our forum to help us out here.

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