How Do I Identify Roseville Pottery Pieces?

By Meredith Jameson

The Roseville Pottery Company operated from 1890 to 1954 and produced earthenware for cooking and other daily uses, as well as art pieces. Roseville pottery pieces are now considered collector’s items, and can be difficult to find and identify, as there are many replicas available. There are a few tricks to identifying Roseville pottery.

Look on the bottom of the pottery. Early Roseville pottery had simple initials inscribed on the bottom to indicate the factory artists who made the pottery. After 1931, pieces had a cursive “Roseville” inscribed on the bottom, and later items have a raised “Roseville U.S.A."

Identify the numbers on the bottom of the pottery. Mid-to-late-period items have a number with three or four digits, followed by a dash, then one or two more digits. The first section of the number is the identification number for the item's design; the last section of the number is the size. For example, 500-12 would be a 12 inch Pedestal item.

Evaluate the pottery item for classic Roseville style characteristics. Most Roseville pottery has soft, earth-based colors such as browns, pinks and greens. In addition, many Roseville pottery items have floral and/or leaf patterns.

Look at the glaze on the pottery item. There should be a shine to the glazing, and you should be able to see the clay color underneath the glaze. In addition, pay attention to the flowers and leaves on the item. They should be bright, colorful and distinct from the background.

Examine the piece carefully for markings such as “Made in Japan.” Roseville pottery was manufactured solely in the United States. In addition, if the price for a piece of Roseville pottery seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Compare the piece to those in an online reference, such as the Roseville Pottery Exchange or Roseville Pottery (see Resources).

Tip

The number categories for Roseville pottery are:

100s and 200s: Cornucopia or Double Bud Vases 300s: Bowls & Plates 400s: Jardinières 500s: Pedestals 600s: Cupidors 700s: Umbrella Stands 800s and 900s: Ewers & Vases 1100s: Candlestick Holders 1200s: Wall Pockets 1300s: Pitchers 7000s and 7500s: Lamps

About the Author

Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.