My John Deer Green Prop

2011.05.15 07 30 23 AM _CAS7498

Yes right in my box with thousands of props I have the most coveted green Fiesta coffee cup…. God only knows what values I’ve lost over the years!  Sometimes ignorance is bliss!  

I did see some of my dish ware at an antique store for $45 a plate and I gave the set away…go figure!  

Collecting props is more than a hobby, it’s a necessary part of my job and I have spent hours, days, weeks… a life time actually, collecting just the right prop for just the right moment…. and I spend my days capturing moments… those little slices of life cause we remember the moments!

At its introduction in 1936, Fiesta was produced in five colors: Red (orange red), Blue (cobalt), Green (light green), Yellow (deep golden), and Old Ivory (yellowish cream). By 1938, two years into production, a sixth color was added: Turquoise (robin‘s egg blue). With the exception of the Red, this color assortment remained in production until approximately 1950. The original Red had been discontinued before 1944 (see below).

The lack of this vibrant color, plus the general changes in society due to the United States’ participation in World War II, had caused a slump in sales of the larger serving pieces from the early 1940s. Prior to this reduction in the number of shapes offered, only one or two very specialized shapes had been discontinued and those by 1938. Later items which were discontinued, such as covered onion soup bowls in turquoise glaze and mixing bowl covers in any color, are scarce and highly prized by collectors.

By 1950, home decorating styles and colors had changed. The Homer Laughlin Company discontinued some original glaze colors and replaced them with four new colors. The original Blue (cobalt), the original Green (light green), and the original Old Ivory (yellowish cream) were discontinued, replaced by Rose (pinkish brown), Gray (medium), Forest (dark green), and Chartreuse (bright yellowish green). Two existing glaze colors, Yellow and Turquoise, continued in production, so the company continued to offer six colors through the 1950s.

By the end of the 1950s, sales had again dropped. The company reduced its offering of items and changed the glaze colors. By 1959 the United States government had released its block on uranium, which enabled the Homer Laughlin Company to produce the original bright orange-red glaze again (see below). The company discontinued the four glazes of the previous decade in favor of four new choices. A wholly new glaze color of green was developed and marketed at this time.

Although the company always referred to the new color simply as Green on any of its brochures, collectors later christened it Medium Green, to distinguish it from other green glazes which the company had produced. The Medium Green is a bright, almost Kelly Green. Some have described it as aJohn Deere Tractorgreen. Beginning in 1959, Fiesta was available in the following colors: Red (original orange red), Green (new Medium green), Yellow (original golden), and Turquoise (original robin’s egg blue).

Although this color assortment was available and sold for ten years (1959–1969), the popularity of Fiesta had fallen. The newest shade of green is in very short supply on the secondary market relative to the other glaze colors. It has gained almost mythical status and, for certain pieces in this glaze, commands astronomical prices wholly disproportionate to the rest of the line.

The Yellow glaze is the one glaze that was in production throughout the life of vintage Fiesta. Turquoise, while not strictly an original color (having been introduced about a year into Fiesta’s production) was otherwise also in continuous production until the end of the original vintage era in 1969. Red, while an original color at the line’s introduction, was removed from the market before 1944 (see below). Although it was brought back into production from 1959 to 1969, this was after most of the unusual serving pieces had long been discontinued. Red pieces also usually command a premium price in the secondary market, both for its vibrancy in the mix of colors and for its scarcity due to limited years of production. While many collectors love all the colors, some only want those of the “Original 6” or “Fifties Colors”.

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