Danny

Dancing Indian Chief....is This A Frankoma Piece

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There are several figurines for auction at Ebay called Frankoma Dancing Indian Chief. The owner has posted photos, but not of the bottom(of at least one). I wrote and asked her if there was a Frankoma mark/name/logo on the pieces anywhere and she said there was not. Is anyone familiar with this particular item...did Frankoma ever create a piece called Dancing Indian Chief or something similar? The seller said she is new to Frankoma pottery, as am I.

My gf and I began discussing Frankoma when she recently mentioned that her Dad worked for Frank back in Norman, OK during the 30's. She has one piece of Frankoma, a stalking puma/panther bookend. It's glazed and has an oatmeal/eggshell glaze. I've never seen this exact color online and I'm not sure what model number it is.

Thanks in advance for any and all help.

Danny in Yorktown, VA

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Frankoma did indeed produce a piece known as Indian Chief (also called Comanche Chief). It's mold number is 142. This was a popular piece with a long run -- from 1938 to 1953 (all of which would be Ada clay), and a reintroduced run from 1972 to 1993 and again, briefly, in 2000.

If you are considering purchasing this piece on eBay, it is important that you get the seller to post or send you a photo of the bottom of the piece. That's the only way you'll be able to determine its age, Ada clay being lighter in color than the reddish Sapulpa clay used beginning in late 1954. It's important because the age of the piece determines its value. Book value for the reintroduced #142 is $20, but the earlier (1938-53) pieces are valued at $125-250, depending upon the glaze. Apparently, some Indian Chiefs were produced by Frankoma before its new plant in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, burned to the ground in November, 1938. If you can definitely identify one of these, its book value is $250-300.

Frankoma also produced Comanche Indian Chief Bookends (#442) in the early Fifties. These were brightly painted in a variety of colors and, if you get your hands on a pair of these, they're worth $1000-1200.

The single bookend you refer to probably belonged to a set of Walking Ocelot Bookends (#424) produced between 1934 and 1938, and the glaze would be Ivory, which was used during that time period. Book value for the pair is $1200-1500. Perhaps this will inspire your girlfriend to search for the missing mate.

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Thanks for all the great information. My GF will never part with the walking ocelot bookend(s) even if she does find the matching mate. Family history has it that when her father worked for Mr. Frank he thinks he helped make/pour the mold or was somehow else involved in the making of the figurine. I guess during one of her visits to her Dad's workplace, she remembers seeing Mr. Frank hop into a pickup and driveoff and come back with a load of Ada clay.

But back to the Indian Chief on Ebay. I couldn't get links to the images to work...something about dynamic pages...but the item can be found on Ebay by doing a search for Frankoma Chief....the prairie green one has a photo of the bottom.

Thanks for all your help.

Danny

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I looked at the figurine on eBay and, in my opinion, this is a reissue piece -- not Ada clay. For a good example of Ada clay, search for Item # 270250410322 (it only has about 16 hours to go at this point). It's a completely different piece than the Indian Chief, but a good example of Ada clay.

When buying Frankoma on eBay, I would insist on seeing the bottom of anything merely said to be Ada clay. Sometimes sellers are going by what someone else has told them and they, themselves, just don't know the difference. The only time it wouldn't matter is if I know the piece was made prior to Sapulpa clay being used -- like the Walking Ocelot Bookends, for instance.

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