One thing I've noticed: many sellers (and buyers) mistakenly think that because a piece of pottery is stamped ''USA'' or ''made in USA'' that it is McCoy. Not so! True, McCoy stamped some of its pieces ''USA,'' but so did many other potteries at the time. McCoy did use the ''USA'' mark on some pieces, but just as many more were clearly marked ''McCoy'' (or "Floraline" or "MCP" which stands for Mount Clemmons Pottery) or not marked at all.
During war and post-war times, many in America, feeling that their jobs and the U.S. economy were threatened by imports (pottery and other goods, too), insisted on buying goods made only in the USA--thus the reason for the USA marking.
Many other potteries used (and still do) the USA stamp (Shawnee, Hull, Hall, Weller, California Pottery, to name just a few). Sometimes the actual way the piece is stamped USA can be a clue, as in the case of Hull pottery: the ''S'' will often be rather large and slanted--almost script-like.
McCoy sometimes used a squared-off (blocked) USA stamp (some of these read U.S.A.--with periods--inside a small rectangular box). Most often, though, they used a regular USA mark with no periods. Sometimes the ''S'' is a tiny bit larger or a little more crooked than the other two letters--sometimes. Remember, the ''ordinary'' USA stamp on a piece of McCoy will not have periods at the end of the letters (like this: U.S.A.). If it has periods and it's not block, it ain't McCoy.
When browsing online through planters, dishes, cookie jars, vases, figurines, etc., don't feel compelled to believe every seller when he/she states this piece is McCoy or ''believes'' the piece to be McCoy. Read on through the description. If the only mark on the piece is ''USA,'' be very wary. Often I've seen ''McCoy'' in the subject line, but buried in the description would be something like, ''It's marked USA. I believe this piece to be a McCoy.'' I don't doubt that they believe it to be a McCoy. What I doubt is whether or not what they believe is true.
The best defense is to get yourself a good book or two on McCoy pottery and learn some of the styles, glazes used, etc. The books can save you tons of money in mistakes--as well as help prevent your buying fakes and reproductions (the subject of my next post). Be familiar with the ''weight'' of McCoy pottery pieces. With just a few exceptions, most McCoy pottery is hefty in weight. Reproductions and many non-McCoy pieces are lightweight, fragile.
Many great and rare pieces of McCoy surface right here on eBay--a collector's dream. If you run across an interesting piece, and it has a bit of time remaining for bidding, put it on your ''watch'' list. Then search online, in books, etc., until you are reasonably comfortable that the piece is a worthwhile purchase. That saves money, aggravation, and negative feedback for all concerned.
Gut instinct is a good guide, too. If the piece is very reasonable, the seller has a good background, and you hate to pass up the piece, then go for it. Nothing in the world feels better than to buy a unique piece of pottery at a good price then later find that you have snared a ''real McCoy.''
Trish (aka ''Jaggwire'')
Please feel free to visit and post comments/questions on my blog for McCoy lovers: http://blogs.ebay.com/jaggwire