Deldare from Buffalo Pottery- a Great Time to Collect!

While we have a little down time at Cornerstone I thought it might be interesting to give some information about the Deldare ceramic pieces made by Buffalo Pottery that we have in our front counter showcase. Most of our customers are not familiar with it because it isn’t often seen, but they do respond to it visually because it’s so striking.

“Buffalo Pottery owes it existence to a cake of soap” as one reference book puts it. The Larkin Soap Company founded in the late nineteenth century was helped by the premiums it gave to become a very well known brand. The burgeoning demand for the product spurred the company to build it’s own pottery (which opened in 1903) to produce the quantity and quality of the premiums it needed. Buffalo Pottery, after a time, began creating advertising and commemorative pieces for other companies.

The Deldare line was by far the most sophisticated line of pottery produced by Buffalo Pottery. Potters that had been hired away from other potteries created the line. There had to be chemists, potters, and artists to create the ware. The clays they used were different than their other wares, and the artists had to be highly skilled to make the hand painted line consistent. It was a complicated process that came together to produce this unusually colored eye catching line of ceramics. English scenes were chosen to decorate the pieces. At first glance it looks like English pottery.

The Deldare line was produced mainly from 1908-1911 and sold as a “stand alone” line in high end department stores. The line was discontinued in 1911 because it was costly to produce. It was revived briefly between 1923-1925, offered this time as a Larkin premium and again discontinued again because of cost and lack of color photos in their advertising. The wares are dated and signed by the artists.

The “Emerald” line of Deldare is distinguishable from the rest of the this pottery by it’s imaginative Art Nouveau borders. That line is shown mostly with comical Dr. Syntax scenes. Even though the borders are different in style from the traditional look of the other pieces it really works visually. The Emerald line is predominantly what we have in our showcase at Cornerstone. They are all from the earlier period of production.

When I was a young antiques dealer in the 1980’s, Deldare was very expensive. Small pieces sold for $400-500 easily. Since the market for many antiques has softened in the past 10 years, the price of Deldare has fallen dramatically. Currently prices are about 10%-20% of what they were at the height of the market. This would be a great time to collect it. Although prices have tumbled, Deldare still looks great to me.

Thanks to “The Book of Buffalo Pottery” by Seymour and Violet Altman for the great information.

Beth Plein
Consignment Manager
Cornerstone Antiques, Consignments & New Home Furnishings