Haeger Potteries began its manufacturing history outside of Chicago in 1871 and marks 140 years of production in 2011. The company, which was originally called the Dundee Brickyard, has developed into one of America’s largest producers of pottery. In 1938, when the designer Royal Hickman joined the company, a line of art pottery was developed that was known as Royal Haeger. These early pieces of pottery are highly coveted by collectors. In addition, the company’s modern pieces are also collectible. Learn to identify the various Royal Haeger pottery pieces by doing some research and reaching out to other collectors.
Examine the bottom. Many Royal Haeger pieces are clearly marked. Look for the words "Royal Haeger." You may also see "USA" and a model number. Royal Haeger glazed the bottom of its pieces and used stilts during the glazing, which left three small marks. Look for these stilt marks. Also, some unmarked pieces of Royal Haeger have a distinctive "seam" in the middle of the glazed underside.
Learn the shapes. Royal Haeger made many different types of pieces, from ashtrays to vase. However, you can familiarize yourself with some of the most popular, and valuable, shapes made by Royal Haeger. This pottery shows strong art deco influences with flowing lines, and the pottery tends to have rich glazes. Royal Haeger is especially known for its animals, birds, and other figurines. One of the most famous Royal Haeger pottery figures is a sleek, stalking panther. Like many other pieces, the panther came in a variety of sizes. Also popular is Royal Haeger's line of lamps and lighting. The Haeger Pottery Web site features pictures of some the company's most famous pieces.
Find Royal Haeger guidebooks. Looking at collectors’ guides is an invaluable way to learn to identify Haegar pottery. Visit your local library or bookstore and look for books on American art pottery, which may contain a section on Royal Haeger, as well as books that center exclusively on Haeger wares. Some examples of Haeger collectors’ guides are “Collecting Royal Haeger: A Comprehensive Illustrated Price Guide” by Lee Garmon and Doris Frizzell; “Haeger Potteries Through the Years” by David Dilley; and “The House of Haeger, 1914-1944: The Revitalization of American Art Pottery” by Joe Paradis and Joyce Paradis.
Research the marketplace. Look for antiques and collectibles stores in your area that have a large selection of pottery. Talk to the owner and let him or her know your interest in learning more about Royal Haeger pottery. That person may be able to offer help or refer you to someone with expertise in American art pottery. Also, check out the inventory at large online pottery stores and at an Internet auction site such as eBay. Studying what is available from these sources will help you learn to identify Royal Haeger shapes and glazes.
Get help from other collectors. Fellow Haeger collectors are knowledgeable about the pottery and usually very willing to help you identify pieces of the pottery. Network with other collectors through organizations such as the American Art Pottery Association or Haeger Pottery Collectors Online.
Shelia Odak has over 10 years writing and editing experience for consumer and trade publications including "Radio/TV Interview Report." She has worked for over nine years in education and holds a Ph.D. from Georgia State University. Odak writes on a range of topics including education, literature and frugal living.