Dishing on Strawser Auctions’ June 18th and 19th Fiestaware Sales Event

Rebekah Kaufman
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Fiestaware has put collectors in a party mood since its 1936 introduction at the Pittsburgh China & Glass Show. Produced in the US by The Homer Laughlin China Company, these timeless tableware and serving pieces are treasured for their eye-popping colors, functional and decorative shapes, and Art Deco aesthetic. Strawser Auctions of Wolcottville, Indiana, is holding its signature two-day Fiesta Auction on June 18th and 19th, 2021. Auction Daily spoke to Michael Strawser, President of the Strawser Auction Group, to learn more about Fiestaware and this comprehensive event. 

Vintage yellow relish tray. Image from Strawser Auctions/Liveauctioneers.com.
Vintage yellow relish tray. Image from Strawser Auctions/Liveauctioneers.com.

Auction Daily:  Strawser Auctions is well known for hosting important Fiestaware auctions. How and when did this get started, and what are a few notable sales from your previous Fiestaware events?

Michael Strawser:  Strawser Auctions has been hosting Fiestaware auctions for 25 years.  Our first collection came out of Pennsylvania.  We sold a Majolica collection (another one of our specialties) for a family who had us come back to get their Fiesta collection, and others began to follow.  In the past 25 years, we have auctioned some of the rarest, one-of-a-kind pieces of Fiesta, including a pair of vintage rose ebony tripod candle holders that sold for USD23,000.  Rose ebony was an experimental color in the 1930s, and pieces in that hue are very rare.  We also sold a prototype vintage yellow relish tray for $21,850 and a vintage maroon coffee pot for $19,550.

Vintage maroon coffee pot. Image from Strawser Auctions/Liveauctioneers.com.
Vintage maroon coffee pot. Image from Strawser Auctions/Liveauctioneers.com.

Auction Daily:  Tell us about the named consignor in this June 18th and 19th event. Who is Sandra Bond, and what are a few premier items in her collection on offer in this sale?

Michael Strawser:  Sandra Bond is from Nebraska and has collected Fiesta for many, many years. She and her husband would travel to the HLCCA (Homer Laughlin China Collectors Association) conventions, and eventually, she became the president of the association. Homer Laughlin would make special limited-issue pieces to be sold at the HLCCA convention every year, and Mr. Bond would be set on purchasing them for his wife’s collection.  As president, Fiesta would also send her sample pieces to approve for the convention, of which many are in the auction. Mrs. Bond is very well known and respected in the Fiesta circles.

Auction Daily:  For the most part, do collectors use their Fiesta items for meal preparation, serving, and eating, or do they put these items on shelves or behind glass like other fine collectibles?

Michael Strawser:  Most Fiesta collectors try to collect one piece in every shape and every color. Many collectors use their Fiesta, both vintage and Post 86, every day.

Lot #190: Post 86 lilac water carafe. Image from Strawser Auctions/Liveauctioneers.com.
Lot #190: Post 86 lilac water carafe. Image from Strawser Auctions/Liveauctioneers.com.

Auction Daily:  Give us the scoop on lot #190 – a purple pitcher for sale on day 1 of the auction, and lot #882 – a green pint jug for sale on day 2 of the auction. What makes these items top lots?

Michael Strawser:  The collection offers many rare pieces, including a Post 86 lilac water carafe. The water carafe was made in many different colors. However, a lilac carafe was not a regular production piece.  The collection also offers two extremely rare vintage medium green pieces – a two-pint jug and an egg cup.  Both of these pieces were also made in many colors but not in medium green.

Lot #882: Prototype 2-pint jug in medium green. Image from Strawser Auctions/Liveauctioneers.com
Lot #882: Prototype 2-pint jug in medium green. Image from Strawser Auctions/Liveauctioneers.com

Auction Daily:  And finally, is there a “typical” Fiestaware collector?  Have you noticed any changes over time? 

Michael Strawser:  Fiesta has been immune to the general downturn in the antiques and collectibles marketplace due to the fact that there is a healthy range of collectors, from very young to well-seasoned.  Many areas of antiques are “generationed out,” meaning that no or a very limited number of new people are collecting. Homer Laughlin has been very good at adding new colors and shapes, as well as retiring others, which continues to create interest for collectors.

For more information on Strawser Auctions and their upcoming Two Day Fiesta Auction, please visit their website. To learn more about Fiestaware, check out Auction Daily’s coverage of last year’s Fiesta offerings.

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James Ardis
James Ardis
Senior Writer and Editor

James Ardis is a writer, editor, and content strategist focused on the auction industry. His company, James Ardis Writing, has partnered with auction houses, galleries, and many clients outside the art world.

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