The Colors of Fiesta

February 10th, 2009

Heidi Kellner discusses the history, colors and styles of vintage Fiesta dinnerware and other Homer Laughlin Company lines such as Harlequin and Riviera. Heidi can be contacted via her website, Art of the Table: Fiesta Pottery, which is a member of our Hall of Fame.

I started as a collector and I’m a web designer, so I thought I would design a website from my passion. I threw it up there and people just found me and it started to take off. Fiesta is made in West Virginia, and I’m from West Virginia originally. I was a thrift store fanatic in college, and I would see this unmarked colored dishware that just really caught my eye. That was probably Riviera, because Fiesta would be marked.

People would know Fiesta, but Riviera wouldn’t be marked, so often they wouldn’t know what it was. We’d get it for a quarter, usually chipped up. I think it’s the color that everybody responds to first with Fiesta. Its number one attraction is the bright color.

Collectors Weekly: Were both Fiesta and Riviera made by the same manufacturer?

Kellner: Yes, Homer Laughlin Pottery Company in Newell, West Virginia. They’ve been there since the 1930s. Fiesta started in January 1936 and went through the war. The red had uranium in it, and during the war the government needed uranium, so they couldn’t get the materials and they quit making it. Red was always more expensive because the materials were more expensive, and it still is probably the most desirable color. There’s a little less of it, next to maybe medium green, which they only made for a few years.

After the war, they introduced 1950s colors, and then it dwindled and they redesigned it a little bit. They did this ironstone line, which is I think pretty unattractive, but people do collect it. They quit for a while and picked it back up again in the mid-1980s, but they redesigned the line. The pottery itself had changed, so with some of the molds, the lids were collapsing, and they had to physically change some of the designs. Some of the molds are exactly the same, like the water-pitcher mold, and that’s caused a lot of confusion in the collectors’ world, trying to tell the new from the old.

Homer Laughlin started putting a raised letter H on the bottom, but not always. There are other ways to tell once you start seeing new and old together in person. The newer glazes are more translucent, so you’ll be able to see through the pottery, and they go around these Art Deco lines instead of being deeper and thicker and more opaque. The newer glazes are lighter and thinner and more translucent. If you see white lines, that’s new.

When you’re first starting, it is difficult to tell. A book pays for itself immediately with your first purchase. There are all kinds of little ways to tell the new and the old. They used stamps and numbers or initials on the bottom of pieces, inspected by the plant. They don’t do that anymore. If you get a piece, turn it over, and if you see a pair of numbers or a pair of letters, you know that it’s vintage.

There are little, tiny differences in the pieces, too. The water pitcher is one of the most troubling pieces to tell new from old because they used the exact same mold. The new water pitchers have an indentation in the handle because the mold was slightly changed and they were tooled by hand. All you have to do is put your finger inside of a water pitcher and the new ones have what they call a little dimple inside the handle. As soon as you know that, you’ll never be fooled again.

Homer Laughlin is still manufacturing today. You can go to your mall, like to a big Macy’s department store, and you can buy Fiesta. They still do all kinds of color changes and they add new pieces, then they discontinue colors and they become very collectible. It’s still the most collected dinnerware in the world.

Collectors Weekly: What were the first colors they used?

Kellner: The very first color was red. They call it red, but it’s actually an orange. They started with red and cobalt and ivory and then a green, which they call light green but I like to call original green because there’ve been so many greens. Then there was yellow, and turquoise was added six months or so after the first five colors. That’s why, for example, the cream onion soup bowl in turquoise hardly exists at all. They were just introducing the color as they were discontinuing the first couple of pieces.

They kept the same six colors for the first 20 years, and then they added four colors in the 1950s – chartreuse, rose, forest green, and gray. Then they restyled it, reintroduced red, added a medium green, and discontinued the cobalt. So they were really switching it up a lot, and then the whole thing dwindled until the 1980s. Anybody who collects vintage Fiesta has this kind of special appreciation for it compared to the newer colors. There are 35 colors that have been on the market since the ‘80s. They’re just trying things out, throwing them out there.

Collectors Weekly: How come Fiestaware dwindled and then came back in the 1980s?

Fiesta Coffe Pot - Made in all colors except medium green and was in production form 1936 until the middle of 1956 . The coffee pot was reintroduced in 1969 in ironstone and amberstone.

Kellner: I don’t know if it was just a management problem, because the interest was definitely there. People collect the pottery, even the new stuff, and they go to the factory. Their quality control was huge because it was really made to be mass-produced. They have a lot of glaze runs and sand bumps and all kinds of manufacturing flaws and problems, so they have seconds. People will stand in line at that factory overnight until they can get deals on these factory seconds, so there’s still a frenzy.

The seconds are really a personal preference or choice. Sometimes you can call the factory flaws character, but sometimes they can be distracting, like a really drippy, runny glaze. Green can be really splotchy, and I don’t think you want a giant bowl that’s all splotchy, so you want to minimize the irregularities as much as possible.

You learn to set your own limits on what’s acceptable for you and what’s not. Like with tin tops, the glaze would pop and sometimes you get these little dots. To me, that’s no big deal. It’s part of the process. The dinnerware itself came out during this Art Deco modern streamlined era, so you do really want the stuff to be in good condition. It’s not like 18th-century stoneware where a big chip missing doesn’t seem to bother anybody. This stuff is streamlined Art Deco, really clean, so condition is one of the things that I really preach in my business. If you watch the market, if a piece has a chip on it, depending on the rarity of the piece, it will bring half what it’s worth, if that. It’s really something to be concerned about. There’s enough of it out there that you can be fastidious about condition.

It’s hard to find plates without any kind of wear, but you don’t want scratchy, dull, overused plates. Plus there are health issues with Fiesta. There have been concerns since the very beginning, not only because they were using uranium in their red, but before they started remaking it in the ‘80s, it was all lead-based glazes. There are heavy metals in these glazes, but as long as it’s in good condition and it has a nice, clear protective coating over it and you’re not sawing a big steak on it and getting the chips of it in your food, you’re going to be fine.

Collectors Weekly: What was the heyday of Fiesta? When was it really being used?

Kellner: It came out in ’36, and I think its heyday was shortly after that in the 1940s. It was really cheap, so it was made for middle-class housewives, and it was always thought to mix and match with other things that were out there. Homer Laughlin’s early advertising showed it in ensembles with all kinds of other dinnerware that they were making. The whole idea was that it could just mix in and be used as filler pieces. The whole idea of mixing and matching, taking control of your own fashion sense, was a part of their original plan.

Collectors Weekly: Were Harlequin and Riviera the same era as the Fiesta?

Kellner: Exactly the same. They’re really sister potteries. Harlequin even has the same glazes, and some of the Riviera has the same, too. You’re going to find radioactive Harlequin and Riviera in the red as well, but both of those potteries were unmarked. I don’t want give misinformation, but I want to say that the Harlequin was made for F.W. Woolworth Company and it was exclusively sold there. They still do that. They have certain colors that they exclusively sell at Bloomingdale’s, so that adds to the collectibility of the pieces.

Fiesta is the most collectible. Riviera was sold exclusively by the Murphy Company. It’s a smaller line; really beautiful, unmarked, and more fragile. They made less of it, so there are fewer pieces, and it’s really under valued, because it’s actually rarer than Fiesta. Once you start collecting Fiesta, if you just keep at it, you’ll find yourself into the Harlequin pieces and the Riviera.

The designs are slightly different, but they were designed by the same designer, Frederick Rhead, and they have the same kind of Art Deco lines. The Harlequins were lighter, so they were cheaper to make and they were sold at Woolworth’s for quite a bit less than Fiesta.

Collectors Weekly: Were certain Fiesta designs more popular than others?

Fiesta Dinnerware Covered Casserole in Medium Green - Produced from 1935-1969

Kellner: I don’t know how many pieces were produced total, but I would assume that because they were constantly discontinuing pieces, there were some that weren’t really popular. They discontinued the cream soup bowl and the covered onion soup bowl right away. Large 12-inch divided plates were the first or second piece to go, so I think it really depended on what the market was doing.

I’ve been selling Fiesta online for about five years now, and I probably sell more of the bowls than anything else by a long shot. My number one request is sets of seven nesting bowls [see example, at top]. A full set weighs about 20 pounds, and I think I sold my last set for $1,800. It was the most expensive set of bowls I have ever sold to date.

There are all these little quirks that you can get into when you’re collecting Fiesta. We know that if the bowls have rings on the inside bottom, they were all made in the first year, 1936 to 1937. Then it was too cumbersome, so they took the rings off. It’s a nice thing because it does date your bowl.

The bowls are supposed to fit inside each other. You get a set with seven, but nobody is definite on how they were originally marketed. There are arguments on whether they were marketed as one, two, three, or four bowls that nested, whether they came in a standard set of colors, and whether the customers were allowed to mix and match. It’s really not clear.

They added the lines on the outside after they developed the main form and colors. They decided that they needed to do something to make them just a little less boring, so that was the extent of the decorations. It’s really the final fringe on the Fiesta; a little bit of flair.

Collectors Weekly: Did other companies besides Homer Laughlin make colored dinnerware, with this Art Deco modern look?

Kellner: Sure. Fiesta was probably the original, and it became very popular very quickly. There was a company – I think they were called Knowles – that just really ripped them off completely. Homer Laughlin sued them and ran them out of business. Out in California, there’s Bauer, which is really similar. In fact, the colors are almost identical. He’s got red, yellow, cobalt, and some other different California colors that for the most part are really closely competitive with Fiesta. They’re much heavier and have a lot of rings. They call it ring ware.

Then there was Catalina Island Pottery. Catalina Island Pottery is a similar solid-color dinnerware that is very collectible now. There was Gladding McBean Pottery, which I think bought into Bauer. There’s California Pottery. Even McCoy Pottery in Ohio and all the Ohio art pottery makers started dabbling in solid-color wares because Fiesta was so popular.

Collectors Weekly: Do you have everything that Homer Laughlin made on your site?

Vintage Fiesta Relish Tray - debuted along with the original line in 1936. It was discontinued in 1946.

Kellner: I think I have almost every piece photographed. There are a few pieces I’ve never had. I’ve never owned a mixing bowl lid. Certain pieces seem really odd to me, so I’ve never bothered to fork over the money needed to buy them. There’s a French onion casserole that has this giant stick handle that I think is clunky, so I just never bothered to buy one.

There are certain things that seem like signature Fiesta pieces. There’s the demitasse pot, or the after-dinner coffeepot, with the stick handle. They only made those in the first six colors before they discontinued it. A sugar bowl is a beautiful piece and it’s got everything Fiesta’s all about. They’re Fiesta signature pieces with those extra little flairs.

Then there are pieces that are really odd, like the carafe. It was part of the original line but was discontinued by 1946. It’s a very odd piece and it took me a long time to come around and enjoy it. It has an awkward look, a big round bowl that’s in a skinny neck, and I hate it. Once you get into it, sometimes you get caught up and you get really addicted to collecting Fiesta, so you want one of everything and every color.

Collectors Weekly: Do people collect every color?

Kellner: It’s a preference. I know a husband who only collects green and his wife collects yellow. I knew a woman who only collected ivory. There are people that really just collect the oddities, like the original coffee cups that have flat bottoms because they were hand tooled. There’s a utility tray, and the early ones will have a wiped dry foot but the later ones will have a wet foot, so people would ask, “Does it have a dry foot? It’s important.”

Ashtrays had extra rings on the bottoms. When you really get into collecting something for a long time, you start picking up on these little subtleties, and you want a brighter, thicker glaze, the most rings, the best examples, or the ones with the labels still on them. That’s big with Kitchen Kraft.

Kitchen Kraft is also made by Homer Laughlin and is extremely collectible. They were more like serving pieces and they seem like they were made for filling out the table. Big jugs and big bowls fall into Kitchen Kraft. They’re actually marked with “Kitchen Kraft” on the bottom, even though they’re Homer Laughlin or Fiesta colors. They did refrigerator sets, cake servers, etc. I don’t have my Kitchen Kraft gallery up yet. It’s highly collectible and it’s harder to get.

Collectors Weekly: Do most collectors stick to Fiesta or do they go from Fiesta to Riviera to Kitchen Kraft?

Kellner: A lot of people buy all across the board. I had a woman who’d buy a Harlequin teapot, then ask for a Fiesta marmalade, and then ask for a Riviera butter dish. It’s a sickness; one thing leads to another and you just can’t help it.

Vintage Fiestaware Vase - 8" vase was made for about 10 years while the 10"and 12" were only made for a brief 6 years (1936-1942).

Vintage Fiestaware Vase – 8″ vase was made for about 10 years while the 10″and 12″ were only made for a brief 6 years (1936-1942).

The pieces are styled completely differently, even though the glaze colors will be the same, and there are duplicate pieces. There’s a sauceboat in Harlequin and there’s a sauceboat in Riviera, but both have a completely different design.

Some of the advertising that was printed by Homer Laughlin would actually show tables set with both Riviera and Fiesta pieces mixed together. They were even promoting it early on – “Hey, this is all mix and match” – because there was never a butter dish with Fiesta, for example. Here’s an entire dinner line, but they never give you a butter dish, so you’ve got to go a Harlequin or Riviera to get one.

Some of the rarest Fiesta is the Fiesta with stripes. I think I saw a covered onion striped soup bowl. I want to say it went for $4,000 or $6,000 at auction, but now they have a value of $10,000. The guy flew from Seattle into the Midwest to buy this covered onion soup bowl with red stripes. It’s extremely rare; you hardly see it come up at all.

It makes you really wonder about what you could buy today that’s going to be worth that much tomorrow. But it took 60 years, so you’d have to wait 60 years. The Fiesta market’s doing pretty well. I think it’s a good investment as long as you’re really particular about your condition. I think it’s holding its value really well.

Collectors Weekly: Do people use their Fiestaware?

Kellner: They use it a lot more than you would think. I just had a woman write me yesterday to say that her parents had always used their plates and their mugs and displayed the rest of their Fiesta, but her dad, who was getting older, started pulling the other pieces out and using them. He had broken one of the creamers, so they were trying to replace it before her mom found out. That was funny. So yes, people use it.

I get questions about safety. The Iowa Poison Control Center bought some Fiesta from me to run tests on. I just donated a bowl to a science teacher to do an experiment with his class at a school. He needed a uranium red bowl.

As far as the safety factor. I won’t put water in a water pitcher and let it sit overnight because there’s going to be some seepage. Homer Laughlin conducted their own tests, and they strapped the 15-inch red chop plate to somebody’s chest for 24 hours to measure the radiation coming off of it to try to prove that it was safe. All the tests were really extreme. They had a test where a woman washed and handled the dishes almost all day, day after day, but you just don’t use things like that.

You have to draw the line somewhere, however. The red sugar bowl, for example – do you want to put your sugar inside a uranium bowl and leave it for weeks, then use the sugar in your tea? I don’t know about that. I would also never put it in a dishwasher or a microwave.

Collectors Weekly: When did it become popular to collect Fiestaware?

Kellner: Huxford put out her first book, The Story of Fiesta, in the 1970s. Fiesta probably started to become collectible when it was discontinued. You couldn’t get it anymore, so you wanted it. They’ve really been able to keep it collectible, even the new stuff. They do little things, like a limited color or a limited piece, but they constantly introduce new pieces and new colors. Again, it’s a fever. There’s a documentary called Dishes, which is all about Fiesta, and the filmmaker was just absolutely amazed at how obsessed collectors get with this dinnerware. It’s addictive.

Collectors Weekly: How many pieces do you have in your collection?

Kellner: I just lost my inventory list, so my poor husband had to lug 38 boxes out of the basement. That doesn’t include all the Fiesta we have on display. My goal was always to have one of everything, because if I had one of everything, anybody could reach me at any time and I would have what they needed. I do try to keep everything in stock. I can’t even imagine how many pieces that might be, and I do still buy pieces.

Collectors Weekly: Where do you usually buy your pieces?

Fiestaware Medium Green Teapot - Unlike the large teapot that was discontinued in the 40s, the medium version was in production the entire time and can be found in all eleven colors

Kellner: I try to buy at auction because then you can see it. When I first started collecting, I was lucky enough to have a shop nearby with a warehouse full of Fiesta. I paid book prices, but I was able to hold it in my hands and examine it and know exactly what I was getting.

People buy from somebody like me, a collector, or go to a show. There’s the Homer Laughlin Association sale and auction every year. I still hear stories of people finding Fiesta at yard and estate sales for a quarter. I know a Fiesta collector in Illinois that bought seven turquoise covered onion soup bowls off of a wagon. It’s out there.

At the height of production, Homer Laughlin was producing 360,000 pieces of dinnerware per day. Their factory was a million and a half square feet. They were cranking it out. They’re still located in Newell, West Virginia, but I don’t know whether they have newer factories. They had multiple factories at a time.

Collectors Weekly: So do you collect the newer Fiesta, too?

Kellner: Only the older stuff. There are people that do collect both potteries, but I just feel like the original Fiesta was designed painstakingly by an entire crew and they really spent a lot of time on the design. They had a professional English pottery designer. They had glaze experts. They had all kinds of marketing experts. There are certain design changes that happened with the newer potteries which are really not as aesthetically pleasing. I think the proportions are really out of whack, but that’s a personal preference.

Collectors Weekly: Was there European dinnerware similar to Fiesta?

Kellner: Fiesta is quintessentially an American pottery. Its colors are American. The English came from a really different cultural experience with finer china and a finer dining teatime. There’s something really utilitarian, industrial, and bold about Fiesta that has something to do with the American spirit. It’s lower class.

Collectors Weekly: What are some of your favorite pieces of Fiestaware?

Kellner: The relish tray is great. You really can mix and match all the colors all at once. You get four trays in your center, so you see all the colors in one tray. I have a preference towards the pots, the pieces that have the handles, the lids. I always thought things like a mustard jar were really overrated because they’re $250 and they’re like 2 inches, but the marmalade is the same pot. It’s a little bigger, but for some reason it’s really nice. I love the demitasse pots with the stick handles. They have the little cups to go with them; very fancy.

The sweet compote is really cute. The coffeepot’s a great piece. The vases are great. There are 8- and 10- and 12-inch vases. They’re still making new vases with exactly the same molds, but the height is different because the clay is different, so the new vases shrink. The old vases are exactly 8, 10, and 12 inches and the new vases are 9 1/2 inches, so all you have to do to know if a vase is new or old is measure it.

Kitchen Kraft is fun because you can get labels on it and you can’t really ever find Fiesta with labels on it. The Kitchen Kraft came with a gold and black Kitchen Kraft label, and there are actually quite a few pieces still floating around with these labels on them.

Collectors Weekly: Are there any clubs for Fiestaware collectors?

Vintage Fiesta Disk Water Pitcher: Molds designed by Frederic Rhead in the 1930s

Kellner: There’s HLCCA, Homer Laughlin Collectors Club Association. I joined that for a little while. They have a newsletter. There used to be a wonderful website called mediumgreen.com, but they just quit. It was basically a public announcement board. It was a huge community with messages all day long back and forth about Fiesta, but Homer Laughlin sued everybody about two years ago, including me.

They wanted any use of the word “Fiesta” to have its trademark after it, and you absolutely were not allowed to use “Fiestaware” in one word. You had to refer to it as Fiesta and you had to put these little copyright symbols on it every single time. There were a few collector sites that just said, “Forget it. It’s not worth it,” and took their sites down, which was sad.

“Fiestaware” is common lingo. I don’t think that the company will sue you, but I think it is interesting to note. It’s almost like Kleenex. Kleenex is a manufacturer, but we call all tissue Kleenex. I actually talked to a lawyer when they were suing me and he told me that if it was worth it, I could probably argue that “Fiestaware” has entered common language use and win. It was really odd. I don’t know why they were going after people. They were going after their fans. It was really not a very intelligent decision. I don’t know what they gained by bringing a lawsuit, especially since it’s a vintage pottery and it’s not even what they’re making anymore. There was a lot of anger on the Medium Green post. It was like cutting the hands off their fan base.

Collectors Weekly: Are there any important books for someone who’s just starting to collect Fiesta dinnerware?

Kellner: I really like Bob and Sharon Huxford’s Collector’s Encyclopedia of Fiesta, they did their 10th edition in 2005. It has the story of Fiesta, a price guide, Riviera, Harlequin, the decal line, the go-alongs, some other kinds of art china, and other miscellaneous stuff. There’s another book put out by the Homer Laughlin China Association with the history of the entire pottery, too. Fiesta’s even made it into some other books. Your general Miller’s Guide to Antiques will have a few pages on Fiesta now.

Collectors Weekly: Anything else that you’d like to mention that we didn’t touch on?

Kellner: I would emphasize that if you’re going to get into collecting Fiesta, make sure you collect the high-quality pieces. Condition is number one. And buy pieces with lids. People find pieces really cheap without a lid, and then they wait their whole life to find a lid. I just hope that people continue to collect it and enjoy it because it is really colorful and very American.

(All images in this article courtesy Heidi Kellner of Art of the Table: Fiesta Pottery)

33 comments so far

  1. medium teapot Says:

    I have a medium teapot in a lid in what I guess is “old or vintage yellow” but it looks more mustard or goldish to me. it has a flat internal bottom and no markings on the bottom. I know it is Fiesta because it came from my grandmothers collection which she started collecting when they were introduced in 1936. I have been able to identify most of the pieces through color and stamping but this one remains a mistery. Can you help?

  2. Monica M. Says:

    “Some of the rarest Fiesta is the Fiesta with stripes. It’s extremely rare; you hardly see it come up at all.”

    I have two FIESTA RED STRIPE-YELLOW by HOMER LAUGHLIN CO luncheon sized plates. I’ve only seen a representation on replacements.com. What would they be worth?

  3. Tina Says:

    Was there ever a white gravy bowl with green on the inside and gold paint around the edges.

  4. Patti Says:

    Hi Heidi -
    I hope you can offer me some advice. We are in the middle of a “Living Estate Sale” for my husband’s 93 year old Grandfather who is in a nursing home. There is a set of Fiestaware – service for 6 I think, with a dinner plate,salad plate, saucer, in different colors, there are only 4 coffee cups though, (unless Ifind them in another cupboard!) There is also 2 platters, a covered casserole, salt and pepper shakers, a covered butter dish, and the relish tray. They plates and cups look like they used them, the casserole(s) look really good, and the relish tray looks like it was never used. We have one of the original boxes that he has stored slides in! How would you recommend we value it and how should we sell it? Ebay, Antique store? As a lot or as individual pieces? ANy advice you can offer us would be greatly appreciated!

  5. Mary Dersch Says:

    Hi Heidi, We recently purchased a chartreuse juice tumbler. Would you please give me any information you have on this tumbler, such as rarity, price, and the history of it. According to our price guide it has a value of 750.00+.
    We happened to run across it at an antique shop. We are just curios to know why it has such a high book value.
    We really enjoy your website. We love fiesta and have been collecting for about 30 years now.

    Thank you very much, Mary Lou

  6. Nancy Davis Says:

    I’m looking for a source to buy broken fiesta ware. I’m trying to collect enough to make a mosaic table top. I have been given lots of the new Fiesta Ware and that’s what I use for my everyday china. I display it in my eat-in kitchen and would like to make a table top to match.
    I’ve called the Homer Laughlin company and they do not sell the broken pieces.
    I thought I might try to find a restuarant which uses fiestaware or even a knock-off with similar colors to sell the pieces that get broken.
    If anyone knows of a source, please email me. Thanks! Nancy nqdavisccr@yahoo.com

  7. John Lambiase Says:

    We have the first struck, first jiggered medieval “Potter at Wheel” plate made for the American Potters Exhibit at the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair. It is inscribed as such on the back. I can send the pictures if you like. We are asking you to provide us with suggestions on how we might sell this piece. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

    Sincerely,
    John Lambiase
    fiestafolk

  8. Erin Keck Says:

    Hello Heidi,
    I have a question for you. I have inherited many items from my grandmother, one of which is a table setting for 4 of McCoy Fiestaware. The dinner plates are sectioned into 3 partitions. Have you ever seen this? I have looked for information about it, but am not finding anything. I am just wondering how rare is this. Thanks, Erin

  9. Judi Begnoche Says:

    Hi Heidi,
    I recently purchased some clear glasses with painted rims and after researching, I believe these are Riviera go alongs. I really love these glasses, but my husband tested them for lead and they came out positive – BUMMER!! Is there any consensus of opinion as to whether these are okay to use. I appreciate any help you can give me.
    Thanks so much
    Judi Begnoche

  10. Vickie Rose Says:

    I still have concerns about using my vintage Fiesta given to me by my mom. It would not be safe to serve liquids from my pitchers on an occasional basis, special occasion? How do I test for lead like Jui mentioned in her 9/30th email. My friend says since she purchased the knockoffs in the department store she can at least use hers. She feels mine are just dust collectors. Any response?

  11. J Carpenter Says:

    Hi Heidi,
    I just purchased a light green,small, Fiesta teapot. The marking on the bottom says “fiesta Made In USA” Above the fiesta it looks like a small “t” was imprinted as well. The lid is more round (dome shaped) than what I have seen in other pictures. Is this an original or did I pay for reproduction?

  12. N Vandermeer Says:

    Can the old fiesta ever go into a dishwasher and come out OK if I were to use for everyday now? My cousin and I recall her parents getting a dw inthe 70′s but we can not recall if the fiesta went into it. hx

  13. Patti Myers Says:

    We could never make up our mind on buying dinnerware so 2 years ago I bit the bullet and bought assorted vintage Fiesta dinnerplates and salad plates.
    I want to buy my husband a sugar bowl and possibly a creamer. I prefer the original colors. I haven’t done much research. Is there a problem with certain colors? I was considering a sugar bowl in the red/orange. Is that a color I should stay away from if we are planning to use it?
    We put our plates in the dishwasher regularly. Is that a problem? I would rather use my pieces than collect and resell someday.
    Thanks!

  14. jean Says:

    Hello.
    I have collected Fiesta for many years, since the 1970′s. I have rarely ever seen the Red Stripe but I am fortunate to have a Red Stripe Fiesta Bud Vase. Do you happen to know a value? I was once offered $1500 for it and I cant believe I turned it down, I guess I was just suspicious. Any input would be appreciated.

    Jean

  15. April Says:

    I have a Fiesta mug that is rose colored with a picture of Porky Pig “Thats all Folks!” on it. on the bottom of the mug there is a stamp that says Made Expressly for the Warner Bros. Studio Stores Homer Laughlin China Co. Genine Fiesta U.S.A. 11 A Lead Free. Do you have any idea what year this was produced and the retail value? ( I tried the Warner Bro. Studios online and the representative there couldn’t help me.)Thank you.

  16. Louise LaPointe Says:

    Hi, I just found a pitcher with a lid in a green color, It says Fiesta kitchenkraft usa on the bottom. I dont feel the dent on the handle or the pimple you mentioned on the inside of the handle. It’s in great shape. It almost looks like the med. green, but kind of looks mint green to me. Do you know this piece and is it worth much? Just starting to get into the Fiesta collecting! Thanks, louise

  17. Tara Ashton Says:

    I have nine sets of vintage Fiesta salt-and-pepper shakers.
    They all have seven holes, large for the pepper, and small for salt.
    I noticed the contemporary Fiesta shakers have one with seven, and the other with six holes.
    Question: Is there such a thing as a vintage shaker with six holes?
    Thank you so much in advance for the help.
    Tara

  18. Tara Ashton Says:

    Regarding the lead content in vintage Fiesta ware,

    I own over three hundred mint pieces of vintage Fiesta, and was understandably concerned about lead leaching from the Tom and Jerry coffee mugs, and the tea cups, as foods high in acidity will cause lead to leach readily.
    So, I purchased a lead detection kit, and tested all eleven colors in the tea cups.
    The red was the only color that tested positive for lead. All other ten colors tested lead-free.
    Also of interest, I used a Geiger counter to test the ionizing radiation of the red by putting the wand into a red coffee pot. The radiation was off the charts! The pointer on the dial was full-tilt to the right and the popping noise was almost continuous, thus the name collectors have come to call it as “radioactive red”.
    For comparison purposes, I walked around my home with the Geiger counter, and would get one pop here and there.

  19. Mary Sieber Says:

    I love Fiesta, both the old and the new, and collect (and use daily) the post-’86 colors, of which I have 11 different to date. For another great book on Fiesta, check out Warman’s Fiesta by Glen Victorey. It’s great!

  20. Arlana Nickel Says:

    I have my mother’s vintage Fiestaware that she started collecting in the 30′s to 50′s. My parents used it every day until their deaths in 2005. I found a box of tea cups and saucers that she had put aside that are Fiesta look-alikes but on the undersides they say “Made in England”. The colours are very similar except about 4 colour variations including black that are not the same as the original Fiesta. But they look almost identical right down to the rings and round cup handles. Have you ever seen/heard of these dishes? I have not been able to find any information on them.

  21. Dottie Dalton Says:

    Dear Heidi- About 3 years ago my cousin sold the vintage set of 7 mixing bowls you showed above for $50.oo to a dealer. I kept telling her not to sell them before she checked it out. The dealer and wife kept hanging around and eventually won out over my concern. Who was right-are they worth more or not ? I want to be able to warn the next person in case they have some in another estate sale. dd

  22. Diana Pratt Says:

    Dear Heidi-i actually LIVE in Newell, WV. there is a store at the pottery with an area that you can buy fiesta “seconds” i purchased my dinner plates there for around $4 a piece(i think!) but they have all types of the china, platters, mugs, bowls, etc. i’m going to go get some more and break them to make a mosiac tabletop for my “bar” between my kitchen & dining room. i’ll let y’all know how it turns out!!!

  23. carolyn kendall Says:

    I bought a cobalt plate. We could not see name on bottom. We took a picture with a digital camera and you could see the name fiesta trough the view finder. Can you tell me why not with the eye or magnifying glass.

  24. lORI SHRADER Says:

    I found a rare Fiesta piece;tin kitchenware white stool with Fiesta decal on. I’m looking for a value to resell. The only thing I found was in a Fiesta 8th edition where they just mentioned it. Does anyone have any information on this? they also made breadboxes & tin trashcans.

  25. Sue B. Says:

    I have a set of 4 Fiesta mugs. They are white with cobalt blue polka dots. They were made as samples to see what they might look like, but were never manufactued and sold. They are about 15 years old. I do not use them at all. Would they have much of a sale value since they are the only 4 of their kind?

  26. Judie Beckett Says:

    Can vintage fiesta ware be put in the microwave and/or the dishwasher?

    Thanks

  27. Tony C Says:

    Hi All,

    Recently I found a set of ivory/yellow plates with a double red stripe on the outer lip and inner side of the rings. The plates have the Fiesta logo, but I can not find anything information on them. My grandparents worked for Sears for years and I beleive they received them from Sears. The set has one large plate four smaller plates. Any help or advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you all!

  28. Donna Daniels Says:

    I have an ivory and a cobalt demitasse coffee pot. I need lids for them. Any idea on where I might find them? All help appreciated.

    Thanks

  29. andy hogan Says:

    My mom has a complete 8-place setting set of Fiestaware which she received as a wedding present in 1946 and it has NEVER been used. Not a chip on anything! The pieces are still wrapped in newspapers from 1946. The set is 4 colors, mixed. My mom, now 85, is cleaning house, so to speak, and I claimed the dish set for my daughter-in-law. Any idea of the value?

  30. gary gunderson Says:

    I have been collecting original color fiestaware for 20 years. Recently a friend who was an antique collector indicated he had small rose colored fiestaware
    objects about 3 1/2 inches long and 1 inch high with a circle on the right end.
    He says they are name placement tags for dinner. I have not seen then listed in
    books. Could you advise on function and value for purchase. Thanks for your
    site.

  31. ee Says:

    Gary, those pieces are P86, not vintage, and they’re dealer shelf signs…not really Fiesta, but a go-along made to match the pottery. Collectors do use them as place markers. In terms of value… most really don’t sell for all that much…less than $20, certainly. You might see an unusual color sell for more.

  32. Heidi Kellner Says:

    Hello All, It’s been great watching the comments grow and this article gets a lot of views! I’m sorry I can’t answer your questions all directly right here, but since it’s not my site I can only comment like you all, but I would like to invite you to visit me at: http://www.vintageamericanpottery.com
    There you will find all kinds of photographs and information and a contact form where you can send me an email and I’m always happy to answer any questions. Best and Happy Fiesta Hunting! Heidi

  33. Laurina Ghiglione Says:

    I have acquired some vintage Fiesta-most pieces are signed on the back but I have 8 -9.5 inch dinner plates in yellow that are not marked as to manufacturer. They are identical in color to a signed platter I have and appear to be identical in design as well. Did Fiesta ever produce dinnerware that was not stamped with their trademark??? They really look to be authentic.


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