DEAR HELAINE AND JOE: I am interested in knowing the price range on a set of dishes that I own. I have 12 five-piece place settings of the "Rooster" pattern by Stangl. There are also a creamer and sugar bowl, a 12½ inch platter and two nested vegetable bowls.
-- H.B., Willow Grove, Pa.
Dear H.B.: This may seem like the long way around the barn, but this story really starts in 1814 with Abraham Fulper, who began working for Samuel Hill in Flemington, N.J., making drain tiles and earthenware. When Hill died in 1858, Fulper bought the company and renamed it "Fulper Pottery."
Fulper expanded the production and made things such as vinegar jugs, butter churns, poultry fountains, bottles and pickling jars from both earthenware and stoneware. Today, Fulper is best known for its fine Arts and Crafts-style art pottery, which the company produced in the early 20th century.
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In 1910, Martin Stangl became Fulper's ceramic engineer and plant superintendent, but he left in 1914 to work for Haeger Pottery Co. in Dundee, Ill. He returned to Fulper in 1919 and became president of the company in 1928. The next year (1929), the old Fulper facility burned down and the company transferred its operations to the old Anchor Pottery in Trenton, N.J., which the company had acquired in 1926.
It is said that Stangl Pottery (the name was first used in the 1920s but was not officially adopted until 1955) manufactured the first solid-color dinnerware (other than white or cream) made in America. The pieces belonging to H.B. have a hand-painted decoration on a red-ware body, and this type of dinnerware was first made by Stangl in 1942.
It was made by covering the top with an "engobe" (slip or liquid clay) glaze over the redware surface. The pattern was stenciled on top of this and then carved into the surface. After they were fired for the first time, the pieces were hand-painted inside the incised lines and fired again.
Until it closed in 1978, Stangl made a wide variety of dinnerware, some of which is highly collectible today. Favorite patterns include "Country Life," "Town and Country" (also known as "Caughley), and "Ranger" (also known as "Cowboy and Cactus.)"
"Rooster" is fairly popular because the decoration appeals to the large number of people who collect images of chickens and roosters.
As for the insurance replacement value, we should note that prices appear to have declined a bit on this particular pattern in recent years. At one time, for example, a cup and saucer were worth $23 to $25, but now the value is closer to $18. The dinner plates should be 10 inches in diameter and are worth about $20 each, while the smaller 6-inch diameter bread and butter plates are worth about $6 each.
The 12½-inch diameter "chop plate" should be valued at $35, and the 5½-inch diameter individual fruit bowls are worth about $15 each. The creamer and sugar are approximately $30 for the set, and the 10-inch diameter salad bowl is around $40, while the smaller 8-inch vegetable bowl is about $30.
The entire set should be valued for insurance purposes at between $800 and $900 if it is in perfect condition.
Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson are the authors of the "Price It Yourself" (HarperResource, $19.95). Contact them at Treasures in Your Attic, P.O. Box 27540, Knoxville, TN, 37927.