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Collecting Fabulous Fiestaware !
As many La Mesa residences know, “What A Dish!” specializes in Fiesta Dinnerware. I have been collecting this American icon for over 20 years and I have approximately 350 + pieces in my personal collection. Much of my collection includes vintage items made between 1936 and 1977 (any piece manufactured after 1986 is called post-86 or P-86.) My dish hobby is very rewarding but keeps me extremely busy on the weekends hunting and buying new/old pieces from many sources including flea markets, garage sales, antique and thrift stores and private sellers. For the new collector or anyone thinking about jumping into the world of Fiesta, here are a few pointers about starting your own collection.
Since the Homer Laughlin China Company has been producing Fiesta of over 80 years there is plenty of dishware, both old and new, to find and buy. It can be very overwhelming at first with many pieces and colors to choose from. Since its inception in 1936 there have been 46 colors produced to date.
Here we go!
First rule, buy what you like! This is the “golden rule” of collecting. Start out with a piece of Fiesta that you just love. My first piece was a cobalt disk pitcher which I bought from JC Penny in 1991. I liked the color, I loved the shape and I knew the disk pitcher was a Fiesta signature item so I bought it - for $11.99. Next I found an old chop plate in vintage red at the local swap meet, then I found a yellow creamer at the Goodwill…that’s how it started. Once you buy your first piece you will start to see it and find it everywhere.
Second rule, read as much as you can get your hands on. When you start collecting anything, it is always wise to educate yourself so you know what you are looking at. Educating yourself will also benefit you when it comes to pricing! No one wants to pay too much for something and when you find the perfect piece for pennies on the dollars there is literally nothing better.
Rule number three, most new collectors starting out just pick a favorite color and buy it when they find it. This is part of the glory of collecting Fiestware, the fabulous, happy colors. With that said, some colors are very collectable and valuable. For Example, Lilac, which is a P-86 color, is currently selling on ebay for $186.00 a place setting. When it originally sold in the mid-90’s it retailed for around $20.00. I wish I would have bought it all-AH! Hindsight! Chartreuse is another P-86 color that was discontinued in the 1990’s. It has become very sort after due to its popularity and short production dates. Sapphire is a beautiful blue color that was made exclusively for Bloomindales in the 1980’s. It fetches very high prices on the secondary market, again, due to limited production and availability with some pieces selling for hundreds of dollars. Medium green, which is a vintage color produced early on, is very rare. Two pieces recently sold at auction in New York City for $31,000.
Rule number four, join any clubs or national collectors associations. I highly recommend the Homer Laughlin China Collectors' Club. (http://www.hlcca.org) This club is a wonderful source of information, news and exclusive Fiestaware. They also have a large national conference once a year that is attended by hundreds of Fiesta collectors from around the country. Facebook is another resource for Fiestaware clubs and collectors. Just search “Fiestaware” and join some clubs’ pages. I have meet wonderful people and made great friends who share a passion for dishes, specifically Fiesta.
Fiesta also has many licensed products available including: flatware, linen, glassware, cutlery, rugs, placemats, towels, kitchen utensils and cutting boards. I personally buy the glassware. It adds a completeness to my tablescapes and just rounds out my collection. All of these are available at “What A Dish!”http://www.whatadishsd.com
So, in conclusion, if you want a fun, exciting and very rewarding new hobby, start collecting Fiestaware and to help you out just follow these simples rules:
Of course I am always available to talk, give advice and discuss Fiesta. Most of all, shop small and shop your local retailer for all your Fiestaware needs. I can help you out in many ways and answer all your questions. See you all soon at “What A Dish!”http://www.whatadishsd.com