Piece Rarity Indicator

[1] Either never seen, or seen in a collection, but not for sale

[2] Only one or two examples seen (for sale)

[3] Rarely seen (shows up every 2-3 years)

[4] Periodically seen (shows up every 0-2 years)

[5] Commonly seen (generally available)

After hitting a peak in the late 1990s, similar to the rest of the antiques and collectables market, pottery values have precipitously declined across the board. Rare pieces that regularly fetched hundreds of dollars now sell at a fraction of their peak cost. Many collectors built up their collections during this period, pouring a large amount of money and effort into collecting. With an average age of 65-75, many collectors are aging out of their collections and finding it difficult to secure buyers. Few – if any – new collectors are entering the market.

Many of the price guides available in the marketplace reflect the demand of the peak period and should not be used as a guide for current pricing. Even among California pottery collectors, demand for Pacific Pottery is low. Pacific’s relative rarity hurts demand, further depressing prices. Given the soft state of the market, pricing is impossible to accurately set or predict.

As a 25-year collector of American pottery and dinnerware, I narrowed my collecting focus to Pacific Pottery around 2010. During that time, I’ve made yearly buying trips to southern California, networking with other collectors of the genre. I’ve had the fortune to see (and buy from) several other significant collections. The internet continues to provide a good source for new pieces, but collecting this way requires patience (and money – tax and shipping increases the overall cost of the piece for the buyer, often by 20-30% for coast-to-coast).

A “rarity indicator” is included with each piece listed in the catalog. Keep in mind that rarity does not correlate with desirability. The indicator reflects the piece’s visibility in the marketplace over the past decade.

The indicator does not reflect rarity of color. Some pieces may be common, but in certain colors very rare. Review the color guide to see which colors you are more likely to find overall.