Antique stoneware crocks, which were once primarily considered to be practical kitchen utensils, have now proved to be some of the most precious and prized possessions of modern-day collectors. Stoneware crocks were initially only used for the preservation of ingredients, such as pickled vegetables, butter, salted meats, and others. Additionally, they also proved to be great display kitchen utensils that added a certain intrigue and appeal to the American kitchen.
These antique crocks we generally made of ceramic and were popular mainly because of their sturdiness, durability, and affordability in past centuries. Today, certain rare pieces of western stoneware have proved to be priceless because of their unique and appealing designs as well as their rich history. We’ll help you understand the importance of these works of art in history and why they’re considered to be such precious in the modern era.
If the world of western stoneware has recently grabbed your interest, then you’ll be glad to know that you’re in the right place because we’ll help you acknowledge everything you need to know in order to become a part of the expanding antique stoneware crocks collector’s community. We’ll guide you on everything from how to identify certain pieces of antique crocks to antique crocks’ value in today’s market.
So without further ado, let’s get straight into the guide!
What Are Antique Stoneware Crocks?
If you’re new to the field, chances are that you’re not fully aware of what a stoneware crock is and how it may be used. For starters, a stoneware crock is basically a form of the weir pottery primarily made of durable and water-tight ceramic that is responsible for giving the crock its characteristics, including strength, durability, and more!
Similar to various other ceramic materials, a stoneware crock can come in numerous different shapes and sizes as the material is fairly easy to mold into whatever shape or design the maker desires. France is the country of origin for these crocks; however, the idea quickly spread to Germany and Britain, which became the leading importers of stoneware crocks during the 19th century.
Most antique crocks are colored with white clay and grey salts and designed with cobalt blue decorations.
History Of Antique Crocks
Learning the vast history of western or American stoneware will certainly give you a head start in your attempt to join the massive antique crocks collecting community. The concept of antique stoneware crock originated in France, where it was only intended to be used for the storage of pickled vegetables, meats, salts, and other ingredients in the kitchen. Following the American Revolutionary War, the idea spread to England and Germany, both of which, became the main importers of western stoneware.
As the trend of stoneware crocks grew in the market, countless new American potters joined in as very well-known crock makers and began to distribute their products all across the globe. In the 19th century, the popularity of stoneware crocks was at its peak as new and improved designs and concepts were being invented all across New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Gradually, American potters from other England states, such as Ohio, also took interest in the production and distribution of stoneware crocks.
By the 20th century, it has almost become a necessity for a typical American household to have a stoneware crock in their kitchen. Many antique crocks belonging to various centuries ago have been preserved to date, making them incredibly rare and highly valuable in today’s market.
Continue reading to understand how you can identify early crocks and potentially add them to your antique stoneware crock collection.
Identification And Types Of Antique Crocks?
If you’re looking for the perfect antique crock to add to your collection, then you must know how you can identify any antique crock to become aware of its origins as well as its potential worth in the market. In order to know which company manufactured a certain crock, you must look for antique crock markings on the piece. Generally, this maker’s mark is found on the bottom of the antique crock and it hints toward the pottery company that was responsible for manufacturing this certain product. This could also help you define the rarity of the piece as well as which era and country it belonged to.
Apart from trying to identify a piece solely on the basis of its antique crock markings, there are also additional ways that you may use to effectively identify the type of crock that you’re working with. You can do so by carefully analyzing the shape of the antique stoneware and the designs on it. While trying to identify your crock, you might come across a scenario where the crock design, crock size number, and shape are directly related to specific antique stores, American potters, or stoneware company that, in most cases, is responsible for producing the crocks that you’re trying to identify.
Here are some of the most popular types of antique crocks that you’ll certainly want to be aware of while joining the stoneware crocks collectors community.
Stoneware Jug With Bird Designs
A stoneware jug with a crock’s design of a bird hand-painted in cobalt blue ink is arguably one of the most common types of antique crocks that you’ll ever come across. Crocks of these types are generally made from ceramic, and at times from kaolin clay. The iconic cobalt blue design adds a sort of uniqueness to the piece and greatly enhances the crock values.
This type of stoneware jug would be an ideal addition to your collection as they don’t only appeal to individuals but are also easily accessible. A stoneware jug with cobalt blue designs can be found effortlessly from any old crocks or antique trader stoneware or an online shopping site, such as eBay or Etsy.
Stoneware Crocks With Chicken Designs In Cobalt Blue Color
These are 5-gallon containers with blue decorations generally in the shape of a chicken. The cobalt blue design goes perfectly along with the glaze finishes to significantly increase its worth in the market.
When produced by the right makers or manufacturers, these pieces are considered to be one of the most valuable antique pottery pieces, going as high as $1250 in today’s market. If you come across such crocks, keep in mind that the price may vary depending on various factors, including the crock’s age, crock location, and crock size.
Larger Crocks With Freehand Cobalt Blue Designs
This is a very well-known piece of salt glaze stoneware originating generally from New York or other regions of the United States. This large stoneware crock consists of beautiful salt glaze finishing coupled with hand-painted blue designs.
The size of these types of crocks can be anywhere near 16 inches tall and come with two handles that make the crock easy to handle. Such crocks are considered to be highly valuable in today’s market, going as high as $350 on popular shopping sites, such as eBay. They are also great collectibles as they can significantly boost the value of your antique crock collection.
Stoneware Jug By Kodak
The Kodak stoneware jug brings timeless beauty to your collection of antique stoneware crocks collection because of its elegant design and its incredible glass-like surface. The jug is nearly 18 inches in length and has a capacity of approximately 5 gallons.
The main highlight of this stoneware crock is the maker’s mark in the center, which is responsible for significantly raising the worth of this piece in today’s market. Furthermore, this antique crock greatly appeals to stoneware collectors because of its rarity in the modern era. Getting your hands on such an elegant piece of stoneware crock will prove to be vital for your collection.
N. Hasting New York Stoneware Jug
The New York stoneware jug by N. Hasting is categorized as one of the smaller crocks in the market. The jug has a length of nearly 12 inches and is primarily known for its beautiful glass-like finish. These crock pieces, if maintained in good condition can go as high as $250 in today’s market.
This New York stoneware jug dates back to the early 20th century and is generally marked with “N. Hastings, New York”; therefore, hinting toward the manufacturers of the crock as well as the crock’s location.
Popular Manufacturers Of Antique Stoneware Crocks
In order to be an integral part of the antique stoneware crock collection community, you must have the necessary knowledge about stoneware crocks as well as their vast history. This also involves being aware of the different manufacturers of antique crocks as well as the maker’s mark of each company to be able to effectively identify a certain stoneware piece at first glance.
Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, numerous potters from all across America have come out with new and intriguing crock designs and concepts, such as sting crocks. Few of these manufacturers have been known in history as some of the best crock manufacturers of all time primarily because of the quality and durability of their products.
Here are some of the most popular antique crock manufacturers that you need to be aware of.
Monmouth Pottery Company
The Monmouth Pottery Company was founded back in 1892 in Monmouth, Illinois. Monmouth Pottery was known to produce some of the most beautiful pieces of antique stoneware during its early ages. They produced practical and useful items, such as stoneware crocks, jugs, butter churns, and more!
These pieces were marked with a highly prominent maple leaf logo that added a certain uniqueness to the crock. The maple leaf logo was also considered to be the official mark of Monmouth Pottery. The company was known to primarily use three types of glaze finishings, which were salt glazes, Albany slip glazes, and bristol glazes.
Monmouth Pottery ceased the production of stoneware crocks in 1985 due to its inability to compete with other manufacturers. The company has its pieces all around the global market some of which, are highly valuable because of their rarity and the discontinued production of the company.
Western Stoneware Company
Unlike other pottery companies on this list, Western Stoneware Company wasn’t an independent company that entered the market. Instead, it was made in 1906 by merging seven different stoneware companies, including Monmouth Pottery. The official mark remained the same as Monmouth Pottery, which was a maple leaf logo with the company’s name in the middle.
They produced various lines of stoneware and pottery, including crocks, butter churns, jugs, water coolers, and more. The company generally used salt glazes; however, there are instances of the company using other sorts of glazing as well. For a large period of their production time, their markings stated “Western Stoneware Co.”
Red Wing Stoneware
Red Wing Stoneware & Pottery is arguably one of the most popular stoneware companies in the history of antique stoneware. Red Wing Stoneware mainly specialized in producing stoneware, dinnerware, and pottery. The company was founded by John Paul in Minnesota and dated back to 1861.
Red Wing Stoneware left its mark on the world of stoneware and pottery by introducing some highly valued pieces into the market. Products of Red Wing Stoneware are also considered to be incredibly precious to crock collectors because of their unparalleled rarity in the modern era. The company’s mark consisted of a red wing, which was also the brand logo of Red Wing Stoneware.
The company is still in business and produces different types of stoneware, furniture, and collectibles to date.
Robinson Ransbottom Pottery
The Ransbottom Brothers Pottery was founded in 1901 and mainly dealt with the production of pottery in the USA market. The Ransbottom Brothers Pottery soon became a part of Robinson Clay Products and eventually, changed their name to Robinson Ransbottom Pottery.
Robinson Ransbottom Pottery made use of yellow clay for the production of their crocks and other stoneware. The Robinson Ransbottom Blue Crown eventually became the official mark of this company. Stoneware crocks with this blue crown mark are highly valued in today’s market as well as by crock collectors of the modern era.
Antique Stoneware Crocks Value Guide
If you’re trying to come up with an accurate estimate of the value of a certain piece of stoneware, then you must be aware of certain factors that greatly impact a crock’s price and its worth. These factors are responsible for defining how much collectors or traders would be willing to pay for a certain crock.
Naturally, the crock design is directly related to the worth of that particular crock in the market. This is primarily because the design is the first thing anyone notices with a first glance at the crock. The design is also responsible for leaving a good first impression on the customers or collectors and is responsible for determining whether or not the piece grabs their interest.
Some of the most intricate and valued antique crocks had cobalt blue designs that instantly grabbed the attention of collectors. When talking about antique crock designs, hand-painted designs are greatly preferred over stamped designs, which are common in fakes and copies. A knowledgeable and experienced crock collector can easily distinguish between an original crock and its remake by analyzing their designs.
Certain manufacturers of antique stoneware crocks are highly valued in today’s market. Therefore, if your crock is manufactured by a well-known company or brand, then it is likely to be valued high by traders as well as collectors.
The manufacturer of a certain crock can be identified easily by analyzing the mark on it. Each manufacturer has its own mark or logo that is imprinted on its products.
If your crock is in a fairly good condition, then it is likely to have a higher worth in comparison to other crocks in poor conditions. The condition of your crock primarily depends on the crock’s age and how well it has been stored over the years.
Moreover, the condition of a crock also covers the number of chips and cracks that have been made over time on the surface of the crock. Minor damages, such as surface crazing or small cracks don’t necessarily mean that the crock is in poor condition. In fact, it could imply that the crock is an authentic piece and therefore, will be valued high by collectors.
Type Of Glazing
The kind of glazing that has been done is also responsible for defining the worth of antique crocks. This is because glazing gives crocks their signature appearance, which can attract potential collectors.
Most antique crocks are salt-glazed; however, other popular types of glazing, such as Albany slip glazes, and bristol glaze, have also proved to be highly valuable in the market.
In certain scenarios, a crock might be more valuable than another primarily because it is rare or difficult to find in the market. A crock might be considered rare if the piece is limited or if the company has ceased production. Extremely rare crocks from very well-known manufacturers are valued at thousands of dollars in the market and are highly valuable to crock collectors.
White Pottery Price Guide
Considering that you’re ready to start your own crock collection, you must be wondering how you can do so effortlessly and without spending thousands of dollars in doing so. You are highly recommended to visit online stores, such as eBay or Etsy, and take a look at the massive collection of antique crocks that they have.
You are free to go for whichever piece appeals to you; however, you need to make sure that the crock is authentic and not a fake or a remake. To do so, you are instructed to carefully analyze the crock yourself or from an expert. Once you’re certain of the originality of the crock, you may go ahead with your purchase.
Here are some antique crocks that will help you get an accurate idea of how much they’re worth.
- Vintage Crown 3 Stoneware Bean Crock Glazed Robinson Ransbottom USA Antique Pot- Sold for $12.00
- Antique Vintage 5 gal S.HART FULTON. NY Cobalt Blue ART STONEWARE CROCK- Listed for $100.50
- Vintage 3 Gallon Red Wing Union Stoneware Crock 3.5 Inch Wing- Listed for $69.99
- 2 Gallon Robinson Ransbottom #2 Stoneware Crock Blue Crown 9-1/4”tall No Chips- Sold for $65.00
Antique stoneware crocks collection is a passion that you will certainly enjoy for the rest of your life. By building up the ideal crock collection, you can not only find an informative and fun hobby but also compete with other collectors in your area. By learning more about the history of stoneware crocks, you can become an integral part of the crock collecting community. Furthermore, you can also pass this hobby on to your children and give them something to learn about, while also enjoying their free time to the fullest.
So what are you waiting for? Don’t hesitate to get started with your antique crocks collection right now! If you have any questions or queries left unanswered, be sure to leave them down in the comment section and we’ll get back to you in no time!