Monday, March 28, 2011

Shawnee Pottery Corn Collectibles

Corn King
Shawnee corn pieces are a familiar sight to most collectors of antiques. Whimsical and fun, they add a vintage touch to any kitchen.

Shawnee Pottery Company opened in 1937 in Zanesville, Ohio. The Shawnee name and mark were inspired by an Indian head found on the ground during construction of the factory. At its peak, Shawnee produced over ten thousand pieces a day.

Shawnee’s corn pieces were first produced as a promotional item
White Corn
for Proctor & Gamble and were given away in boxes of Oxydol. The first corn line was called “White Corn.” In 1946, the corn color changed from white to yellow and was dubbed “Corn King.” This line was produced until 1954 when the colors were again changed. The corn was a lighter yellow and the shucks a darker green; this line is known as “Corn Queen.” Corn King is generally more valuable than Corn Queen.

Dating your Shawnee corn pieces:
  • White Corn: 1941-1946
    Corn Queen
  • Corn King: 1946-1954
  • Corn Queen: 1954-1961
The marks are not as easily dated. However, generally:
  • "USA": pre-WWII
  • "USA" with a number: 1945-1961
  • "Shawnee, USA" with a number: 1946-1961

Corn King
Tips for identifying genuine Shawnee corn pieces:
  • Most pieces left the factory with paper labels which are now long gone . Most pieces are unmarked or just have “USA” marked on the bottom.
  • Lots of other companies made corn lines of their own. Their molds and glazes were not exactly the same so an experienced collector can immediately spot the differences.
  • Most Shawnee pieces are glazed completely inside and out except for a raised rim on the bottom. The larger pieces can be completely unglazed on the bottom.
Beware: Many inexperienced collectors (or dishonest experienced collectors) will label any Shawnee corn piece as “Corn King” despite the three distinctly different lines. Be sure to do your own research before making any big purchases!

Caring for your vintage Shawnee Pottery pieces:
  • Hand wash with warm water and a mild dishwashing soap. NEVER put in your dishwasher.
  • Don’t be afraid to use them! Many collectors use their pieces regularly.
We have a variety of Shawnee corn pieces in the store right now. Stop by and take a look!

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