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Marks On Pottery

robandval
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I recently have had a couple customers insist that since a McCoy Pottery piece is not marked McCoy, it is not McCoy.  These people insist that all McCoy Pottery items were marked McCoy.  Contrary to popular belief by many people, McCoy did not mark every item they produced.  In many instances, only a mold number or a USA marking appeared on the piece.  There are also quite a few pieces that were simply not marked at all.  Many of the McCoy cookie jars for example do not have any markings on them.  There are ways to tell if it's McCoy.  The best way would be to invest in a book on the subject.  There are many great books out there on McCoy Pottery.  Another way would be to look at it's base.  There are three types of bases that are common on unmarked McCoy cookie jars.  One type of base is unglazed with three wedges going across the base.  Another type of base is also unglazed with a double wedge on either side of the base.  The last is a flat unglazed base with only a mold seem down the center of the base.  Wedges or flat bases don't necessarily make it McCoy.  Many other potteries also used this same type of base, but it's a good first step in identifying the jar.  Do research on Ebay.  It's a very good place to look up items, especially the more common pieces.  One other thing to note.  Just because something appears to be unmarked, does not necessarily mean it's not marked.  Most potteries used molds to cast their wares in.  Near the end of a molds life, the mold markings tended to not get impressed into the pottery as well as when the mold was new.  After the glaze finish is applied to the piece, these pieces tended to have their markings covered up.  It's very common to find items like this.  One technique I use is to dampen the base with a damp sponge.  Hold the item up under a bright light.  Move it back and forth, up & down, side to side.  Sometimes, the marks will be a little more visible this way.  This technique doesn't work all the time, but it does help some of the time.  There are times when the markings have been so obscured by the glaze finishes that it's simply impossible to make out.  Most times these items are genuine.  In this case, a person should take measurements and compare them to the actual measurements from a McCoy book or McCoy catalog.  If it comes up short or long by more than a quarter inch, it's most likely a fake.  There are fake McCoy pieces out there, but they tend to be the more valuable pieces that are reproduced.  The common pieces are rarely if ever reproduced.  All of the above info can be applied to many of the other potteries that existed alongside McCoy such as Shawnee & others.  Not just Ohio potteries.  I've noticed the same things with Camark, Niloak, Alamo, & others.  It's important to remember that most of these potteries operated in a time when many of their wares were handmade or hand finished.  Automation did not exist like it does today.  Sometimes, a piece would have a flaw on it, and the maker's would simply smoothe off the base to cover up the flaw.  These pieces would be sold alongside the other items they made.  The only differences tended to be one was marked on the base.  The other would have a flat unglazed base with no markings.  Also, many potteries offered their flawed items for sell at discounted prices.  I plan on doing another guide on types of flaws most often seen with pottery.  Thanks for reading this.  I appreciate any feedback from anyone on this subject.   I would love to hear from you. 
 
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