Because of Longaberger's growing popularity, their pieces have become collectibles in many households and have been increasing in popularity among auction sites. How can you rest assured that you are buying authentic Longaberger items? Maybe the question should be, How can I make sure it is not a replica or fake?
The founding beliefs that solidified the cornerstone of the Longaberger Company remain alive today through their quality products. Over the years their reputation for terrific hand-made baskets has allowed for the emergence of other quality lines, such as their pottery, Woodscraft items and wrought iron pieces. Following are some of their identification traits:
Look at the bottom of the basket. In some cases the logo will appear elsewhere on the basket, due to the weaving or construction of the item. You should see the Longaberger logo burned into the basket. Over the years, the logo has changed but there are normally one or two items that have remained unchanged: Longaberger or Longaberger Baskets; Dresden OH or Dresden, OH USA. Some baskets predating 1982 may be missing a logo and the baskets woven by J.W. Longaberger himself will, most likely, be unsigned. In 2000, Longaberger celebrated the nation's centennial by using a special logo: 2000 Century Celebration.
While searching garage sales, you may happen upon an original J.W. Longaberger basket. Lucky, lucky you! The "stamp" of authenticity may be located INSIDE the basket and will read "Made in Dresden, Ohio". If you have one of these baskets in your hands, buy it. Then send it to Lonaberger to get it authenticated. Good luck... and have fun hunting these favorites down. (More information on J.W. Longaberger baskets can be found on a new review I'm writing. Please watch for it and vote YES that it is helpful.)
The person that handcrafted your basket should have signed and dated the basket, if the basket was made in 1978 or later
This is Longaberger's method for identifying their seconds. Many people still purchase these baskets for a reduced price, due to their value for parts or use as an everyday workhorse.
Longaberger baskets are made of hardwood maple splints. Their handles may be made of oak.
Some collectors find it fun to add left-handed baskets to their collections. These are baskets that have been woven by left-handed employees. To identify a left-handed basket, place the basket in front of you and look at the trim strip located at the top rim of the basket. If the end of the trim strip is pointing toward your left hand, it is a left-handed basket. Many people find these baskets highly collectible, due to their scarcity. By nature, there are fewer left-handed employees weaving baskets!
Sometimes you may notice daylight between the rows of weaving on your basket. This is normal, since the wood is a natural material that is prone to shrinkage.
There may be some wood graining on your basket, which is also normal. Because of the grain, you may find some slight fluctuation in the saturation of the stain. This is normal and is not considered a flaw. May collectors feel it adds to the personality of their basket and regard it as a fingerprint, of sorts.
Copper rivets join the swinging handles to the upper band of the basket; small tacks normally join upsplints to the upper rim of the basket. On special occasions, though, they may replace the small tacks with a decorative star tack or heart-shaped tack, etc.
Stationary handles and leather hinges will normally have three small tacks holding them in place. They will be positioned in a triangular pattern.
Well, I hope you have found this information useful. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list, but is meant to serve as a guide so you can enjoy a lasting relationship with a quality basket. This guide was built and developed on my humble opinions and observations. I am not associated with Longaberger in any manner, but have worked with them on a consultant basis in the past. I continue to be a huge collector of their products. If this has been helpful to you, please take a moment to vote YES below. Basket of blessings from the Ewe Drop Inn (shepherd42)!
(Also see my GUIDE on J.W. LONGABERGER baskets... http://reviews.ebay.com/Longaberger-J-W-baskets-What-a-find-Learn-more_W0QQugidZ10000000001637263 )