Rookwood Pottery Marks – How to Identify Rookwood

Rookwood Pottery Marks – How to Identify Rookwood

Rookwood Pottery is an iconic American pottery company that was founded in 1880 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company quickly gained recognition for its high-quality ceramic pieces, which were known for their innovative designs and intricate hand-painted details. Over the years, Rookwood has produced a wide range of pottery, including vases, tiles, figurines, and more.

One of the most important aspects of collecting Rookwood Pottery is being able to identify its unique markings. Each piece of Rookwood Pottery was marked with a special symbol or signature that can help collectors determine its authenticity and age. These markings are often found on the base or underside of the pottery and can provide valuable information about the piece’s date of production, artist, and other relevant details.

There are several different types of Rookwood Pottery marks to look out for. The most common mark is the “RP” logo, which stands for Rookwood Pottery. This mark was used from 1886 to 1900 and can be found in various variations, including with or without flames and with or without a small “P” underneath. Another common marking is the Rookwood flame mark, which was used from 1901 to 1926. This mark features a stylized flame symbol and is often accompanied by the artist’s initials or a shape number.

Understanding the History of Rookwood Pottery

Rookwood Pottery is a renowned American pottery company that was established in 1880 in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is known for its high-quality ceramic products, particularly its art pottery, which is highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts.

The founder of Rookwood Pottery, Maria Longworth Nichols Storer, was a trailblazing woman in the field of ceramics. She was the first American woman to start her own pottery company, and her passion for art and pottery led her to establish Rookwood Pottery.

Rookwood Pottery quickly gained recognition for its innovative designs and exceptional craftsmanship. The pottery company became known for its use of intricate glazes and unique designs inspired by nature and the art nouveau movement. Rookwood pottery pieces often featured botanical motifs, animals, and landscapes, which added to their appeal.

One of the distinguishing features of Rookwood Pottery is the use of artist marks and date marks. Each Rookwood pottery piece is marked with the artist’s initials or cipher and the year it was made. These marks are helpful in identifying and dating Rookwood pieces, as they changed over time.

During the early years, Rookwood Pottery attracted a talented group of artists and craftsmen who contributed to its success. Notable artists like Matt Daly, Charles Todd, and William Watts Taylor were associated with Rookwood Pottery and left a lasting impact on its art pottery production.

Rookwood Pottery faced challenges during the Great Depression and had to adjust its production to cater to changing market demands. The pottery company began producing more functional items such as vases, bookends, and lamp bases to sustain its business. However, Rookwood Pottery’s art pottery still remained highly regarded and collected.

In the late 1960s, Rookwood Pottery faced financial difficulties and eventually closed its doors in 1967. However, the legacy of Rookwood Pottery continued to thrive, and in 1982 it was revived by a group of investors who recognized its historical and artistic value.

Today, Rookwood Pottery continues to produce exquisite ceramic pieces that reflect its rich history and artistic heritage. The company maintains a strong focus on craftsmanship and quality, ensuring that each piece of Rookwood Pottery carries on the traditions established by Maria Longworth Nichols Storer over a century ago.

Collectors and admirers of Rookwood Pottery appreciate its artistic designs, attention to detail, and the historical significance of each piece. The continued popularity of Rookwood Pottery serves as a testament to its enduring appeal and its important place in American ceramic history.

Identifying Rookwood Pottery Marks

Rookwood Pottery, founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1880, is known for its high-quality art pottery. Each piece of Rookwood pottery is marked with a signature mark that can help in identifying and dating the piece. Here are some tips on how to identify Rookwood pottery marks:

  1. Look for the Rookwood logo: The Rookwood logo is an important mark to look for on Rookwood pottery. It usually consists of the word “Rookwood” enclosed in a circle. The logo may be impressed, incised, or painted on the piece.
  2. Pay attention to the shape number: Rookwood pottery often has a shape number marked on the piece. This number can help in identifying the specific shape or design.
  3. Check for date codes: Rookwood used a system of date codes to mark their pottery from 1886 to 1909. These date codes consist of a combination of letters and numbers that indicate the year, pottery line, and shape. A reference guide can be used to decipher these date codes.
  4. Look for artist marks: Rookwood pottery was often hand-painted by artists, and their initials or signatures may be present on the piece. If you find an artist mark, you can research the artist to learn more about the piece.
  5. Consider the glaze type: Rookwood pottery is known for its unique glazes. Pay attention to the type and color of the glaze, as this can also help in identifying and dating the piece.

Remember that identifying Rookwood pottery marks can be a complex process, and it may require some research and expert knowledge. If you are unsure about the authenticity or age of a Rookwood piece, it is recommended to consult with a knowledgeable appraiser or collector.

Exploring the Rookwood Pottery Markings

When it comes to identifying Rookwood pottery, one of the most important aspects to look for is the pottery markings. These markings can provide valuable information about the pottery’s origin, date of production, and even the artist who created it.

Rookwood pottery was produced in Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1880 to 1967. The company was known for its high-quality ceramics and innovative designs. Each piece of Rookwood pottery is marked with a specific marking that can help collectors and enthusiasts determine the authenticity and historical significance of the piece.

Here are some common Rookwood pottery markings and what they mean:

  • The Rookwood Logo: The most recognizable marking is the Rookwood logo, which features a Gothic “R” and a backward “K.” This marking was used from 1886 to 1900 and can be found on both the underside of the pottery piece and the bottom of the Rookwood paper label.
  • A Reverse R: Another common marking is a reverse “R,” which was used from 1901 to 1904. The reverse “R” can be found on the bottom of the pottery piece and sometimes accompanied by the artist’s initials.
  • Shape Numbers: Rookwood also used shape numbers to identify their pottery. These numbers typically appear alone or with other markings and can be found on the bottom or side of the piece. Shape numbers are useful in identifying the specific design and style of the pottery.
  • Artists’ Initials: Many Rookwood pieces were hand-painted by talented artists, and their initials can often be found alongside the pottery markings. These initials can provide insight into the individual responsible for the artwork and add value to the piece.
  • Date Codes: From 1886 to 1900, Rookwood used a variety of date codes to mark their pottery. These codes consist of a combination of letters and numbers that indicate the year and batch number of the piece. Decoding these date codes can help determine the age of the pottery.

It’s important to note that Rookwood pottery markings can vary, and not all pieces will have all of the above markings. Additionally, there are several resources available online and in books that provide comprehensive guides to Rookwood pottery markings to assist collectors in identifying and dating their pieces.

Overall, exploring the Rookwood pottery markings is an exciting journey that allows collectors and enthusiasts to uncover the history and craftsmanship behind each piece. By understanding these markings, one can truly appreciate the beauty and value of Rookwood pottery.

Decoding the Rookwood Pottery Date Codes

When collecting Rookwood pottery, one of the key factors in determining its value and authenticity is being able to identify the date of production. Rookwood pottery used a system of date codes on its pieces, which can be decoded to reveal the year in which the piece was made. Here is a guide to decoding the Rookwood pottery date codes.

How to Find the Date Code

The date code on Rookwood pottery can usually be found on the bottom of the piece. It is a four-digit code, with the first two digits representing the year and the last two digits representing the month of production.

Decoding the Year

To decode the year, you need to refer to a Rookwood pottery dating chart. This chart provides a list of the corresponding numbers and letters used by Rookwood to represent each year. For example, the number “1” represents 1881, while the letter “O” represents 1910. By finding the corresponding code for the first two digits of the date code, you can determine the year in which the piece was made.

Decoding the Month

The last two digits of the date code represent the month of production. Rookwood used a letter code for each month, with “A” representing January and “L” representing December. By finding the corresponding letter for the last two digits of the date code, you can determine the month in which the piece was made.

Additional Considerations

It’s important to note that the date code on Rookwood pottery is not always present or easily readable. Some pieces may have faded or worn marks, making it difficult to decipher the date. In such cases, it’s best to consult an expert or reference guide to determine the age of the piece.

Additionally, Rookwood pottery went through various ownership changes and reorganizations throughout its history, which can affect the date code system. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific date codes used during different periods to accurately date Rookwood pottery.

In Conclusion

Decoding the Rookwood pottery date codes is a crucial skill for any collector or enthusiast. By understanding how to identify and interpret the date codes, you can determine the age and value of Rookwood pottery pieces with greater accuracy. Remember to consult reference guides and experts when necessary, as the date codes can vary depending on the time period and specific piece in question.

Recognizing Rookwood Pottery Artists’ Signatures

Identifying the signatures of Rookwood pottery artists is crucial for collectors and enthusiasts to properly attribute the pieces. The company employed numerous talented artists throughout its history, each leaving their unique mark on the pottery they created. Here are some tips to help you recognize Rookwood pottery artists’ signatures.

  1. Study the Rookwood Pottery Markings: Before attempting to identify the artist’s signature, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the general Rookwood pottery markings. This includes the Rookwood logo, shape numbers, date codes, and any additional markings or symbols present.
  2. Consult Reference Guides: There are several reference guides available that provide information on Rookwood pottery artists’ signatures. These guides often include photographs or illustrations of known signatures, helping you match them with the signatures on your pieces.
  3. Look for Consistency: Rookwood artists generally signed their pieces in a consistent manner. Pay attention to factors like the style of handwriting, the letter forms used, and how the signature is positioned on the pottery. Comparing signatures on multiple pieces by the same artist can help establish consistency.
  4. Check for Initials or Monograms: Some Rookwood artists signed their pieces with initials or monograms instead of their full names. Look for these unique combinations of letters or symbols and cross-reference them with known artist signatures.
  5. Compare to Known Signatures: If you come across a signature that you think belongs to a particular Rookwood artist, compare it to known signatures of that artist. You can find examples of signatures in reference books, online databases, or by consulting experts in Rookwood pottery.
  6. Consider the Time Period: Rookwood pottery spanned several decades, and different artists worked at different times. Understanding the time period during which an artist was active can narrow down the possibilities when identifying a signature.
  7. Seek Expert Opinion: If you’re unsure about identifying a Rookwood pottery artist’s signature, consider seeking the opinion of an expert. They have extensive knowledge and experience with Rookwood pottery and can help determine the artist behind a particular signature.

Keep in mind that identifying Rookwood pottery artists’ signatures can be challenging, especially if the signatures are obscure or worn. However, with careful study, reference guides, and expert advice, you can enhance your ability to recognize and attribute Rookwood pottery to its respective artists.

Determining the Value of Rookwood Pottery

When it comes to collecting Rookwood pottery, determining its value can be an intriguing and important aspect. The value of Rookwood pottery can vary based on several factors, including its age, condition, rarity, and the specific artist who created it. Here are some key points to consider when determining the value of Rookwood pottery:

  1. Age: The age of the Rookwood pottery piece can significantly impact its value. Generally, older pieces are more valuable than newer ones. Rookwood pottery was first produced in 1880, so pieces from the early years of production tend to be highly sought after.
  2. Condition: The condition of the pottery is another crucial factor in determining its value. Pieces in excellent condition, without cracks, chips, or significant damage, are more valuable than those with flaws or repairs. The presence of any restoration work can also affect the value.
  3. Rarity: The rarity of a Rookwood pottery piece can greatly impact its value. Certain designs, glazes, or shapes that are harder to find or were only produced for a limited time can command higher prices amongst collectors. Unusual or unique pieces are often more valuable than those that are more common.
  4. Artist: The specific artist who created the Rookwood pottery piece can also influence its value. Rookwood had a roster of talented artists who worked for the company, and pieces created by renowned artists are typically more valuable than those by lesser-known artists. Collectors often have preferences for specific artists and seek out their works.
  5. Market Demand: The current market demand for Rookwood pottery can also play a role in determining its value. Trends in the collecting world, as well as the overall interest in Rookwood pottery at a given time, can influence the prices that collectors and dealers are willing to pay for pieces.

Keep in mind that determining the value of Rookwood pottery can be subjective and dependent on individual preferences and market conditions. Consulting with experts, researching comparable sales, and staying up-to-date with the market can help collectors make more informed assessments of their Rookwood pottery’s value. Ultimately, the value of Rookwood pottery is determined by what someone is willing to pay for it.

Factors That Affect Rookwood Pottery Value

The value of Rookwood pottery can vary greatly depending on several factors. These factors include:

  • Rarity: The rarity of a particular Rookwood piece greatly affects its value. Rookwood is known for its limited production, and pieces that were only produced in small quantities are considered more valuable.
  • Age: Generally, older Rookwood pieces are more valuable than newer ones. This is because vintage and antique pieces often have more intricate designs and are sought after by collectors.
  • Condition: The condition of a Rookwood piece can significantly impact its value. Pieces that are in excellent condition, with no chips, cracks, or repairs, are considered more valuable compared to those with damages.
  • Design: The design of a Rookwood piece also plays a crucial role in determining its value. Pieces with complex and unique designs, created by famous Rookwood artists, are generally more valuable.
  • Artist: Rookwood pottery was created by various artists, and pieces made by well-known artists are more desirable and valuable. The reputation and popularity of the artist can significantly impact the value of a Rookwood piece.
  • Size: The size of a Rookwood piece can affect its value. Larger pieces are generally more valuable, as they require more clay and labor to create.
  • Decorative Techniques: Rookwood pottery utilizes various decorative techniques, such as hand-painting, glazing, and carving. Pieces with intricate and well-executed decorative techniques are generally more valuable.
  • Historical Importance: Some Rookwood pieces hold historical significance, such as commemorative pieces or those associated with significant events or figures. These pieces can have increased value due to their historical importance.

It’s important to consider these factors when determining the value of a Rookwood pottery piece. Consulting with experts or collectors specializing in Rookwood can provide further insight and assistance in accurately assessing the value of a specific piece.

Appraising Your Rookwood Pottery Collection

Do you own a collection of Rookwood pottery and you’re curious about its value? Appraising your Rookwood pottery can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Here are some steps to help you appraise your Rookwood pottery collection:

  1. Research – Start by researching the history and background of Rookwood pottery. Learn about the different types of pottery they produced, the artists who worked for the company, and the different periods of Rookwood production.
  2. Markings – Look for the Rookwood marking on each piece of pottery. The marking can help you determine the approximate age and value of the piece. Rookwood markings generally include the Rookwood name, a shape number, and a year mark.
  3. Condition – Assess the condition of your Rookwood pottery. Look for any chips, cracks, or repairs, as they can significantly affect the value of the piece. A well-preserved piece in excellent condition will generally be more valuable than one with extensive damage.
  4. Style and Design – Consider the style and design of your Rookwood pottery. Certain styles and designs are more desirable and sought after by collectors, which can increase the value of your pieces.
  5. Artist – If you own pieces by renowned Rookwood artists, such as Maria Longworth Nichols or Kataro Shirayamadani, they may have a higher value than pieces from lesser-known artists.
  6. Past Sales – Look into past sales of similar Rookwood pottery pieces to get an idea of their current market value. Online auction platforms, antique stores, and specialized pottery websites can provide information on recent sales and prices.
  7. Consult Experts – If you’re unsure about the value of your Rookwood pottery collection, consider consulting with experts or professional appraisers. They have the knowledge and experience to accurately assess and value your pieces.
  8. Catalog and Document – Keep a catalog and document all the details of your Rookwood pottery collection, including photographs, measurements, markings, and any other relevant information. This will be useful for insurance purposes and if you decide to sell your collection in the future.

Remember, appraising your Rookwood pottery collection is not an exact science, and the value of your pieces can fluctuate depending on various factors such as market trends and demand. However, with some research and guidance, you can gain a better understanding of the value and significance of your Rookwood pottery.


What is Rookwood pottery?

Rookwood pottery is a well-known American pottery company that was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1880. It is known for its high-quality ceramics and art pottery.

How can I identify Rookwood pottery?

Rookwood pottery can be identified by the Rookwood mark that is usually found on the bottom of the pottery piece. The mark includes the company’s name, the artist’s initials, and the year the piece was made. Additionally, Rookwood pottery is often known for its distinctive glazes and designs.

What are some tips for identifying Rookwood pottery marks?

When trying to identify Rookwood pottery marks, it is helpful to reference a Rookwood pottery mark guide or book. These resources provide information on the different marks used by the company over the years. Additionally, familiarizing yourself with Rookwood’s various glazes and designs can also assist in identifying genuine Rookwood pottery.

Are Rookwood pottery marks valuable?

Yes, Rookwood pottery marks can be valuable to collectors and enthusiasts. The value of Rookwood pottery is determined by factors such as the rarity of the piece, the condition, and the popularity of the glaze and design. Rare and early Rookwood pieces with desirable marks can fetch high prices at auctions and antique markets.

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