Valentine’s Day in our house growing up was always a very big deal because it was the day my parents eloped and got married at the courthouse. So as an adult, I have always tried to make Valentine’s Day special in our house too. Last week I received my usual delivery of red roses at work. I came home and gave my husband Matt and the kids their presents too. I wasn’t expecting anything else and then Matt handed me a copy of The Collector’s Journal and said, “there is a clue to the rest of your Valentine’s Day present inside.” I looked through the pages and very quickly was perplexed. I thought to myself, “Did he buy me something at an auction?” After a couple of minutes I asked, “Do I need to read one of the articles?” He said, “Turn to the last page.” On the last page was an article about the Red Wing Collector’s MidWinter show that was going to be held in Des Moines. He said, “We are going to go check it out.” MidWinter was always one of those things you hear about in the auction world. But I had never gone. I had always heard it’s a place that you will see things that you have never seen and things that you will never be able to afford. Needless to say, I was excited.
Last summer, one of our auctions customers introduced me to the Red Wing Collector’s Society- Facebook Chapter. I belong to a lot of groups on Facebook. Some of which I have unfollowed after a few hours due to the negativity. But the Red Wing group is the complete opposite. Everyone is very nice, helpful and everyone has a lot of fun sharing photos of their collections. Over the past couples of months, I have learned a lot about Red Wing Stoneware and gotten a glimpse at some amazing stoneware collections. I was excited to attend Midwinter to get to meet some members in person.
So, we packed up the car and headed west to Des Moines. We arrived at the hotel where the show is held and met up with a friend who quickly showed us around. Our first stop was the 5th floor to see the life time collection of a collector, who due to life circumstances was selling his collection. There wasn’t much left, but I quickly saw something that I had never seen before and never afford. But it was great to meet him, see just a few items from his collection, learn more about Red Wing Stoneware and how it was made.
We then headed down to the first floor and checked out what Scott Spompinato of Spompinato & Co. had for sale. I quickly fell in love with a with a 5 gallon salt glazed crock. Just look at that dark, beautiful, cobalt leaf!!!! But I decided that it just wasn’t in my budget. I love to ask dealers what their favorite piece is in their booth and today for Scott that was a small advertising butter crock from Bremen, Kansas.
A short walk across the hall was Oakwood Farm, LLC owned by Tim & Roxie Lockard of Russell, Iowa. They had two of my favorite things- signs and children’s blocks. They had thee absolute cutest Kraft calf sign, that I wanted to bring home soooooo bad! (I have a slight obsession with cows. But that is another blog.)
After seeing a few familiar faces in the hallway, we ran into the talk of the show. All 30 salty gallons of her! She was gorgeous!!! She was attracting a crowd right there in the hallway! Just inside the next room was her new proud owner Bill Prock of Prock’s Crocks & Antiques. It has been great to get to know Bill on Facebook over the past couple of months and to see the wonderful crocks in his collection. His booth at Midwinter was just as wonderful. Just look at those advertising rolling pins!!!! And I even got a pen!!!!!
Down the hall we came upon Clifford & Alison Olson, who had the rarest of rare, one of a kind Redwing cups. Each was unique, very rare, and highly collectible. They also had a super rare salt glazed (kinda) 6 gallon. Did I mention that these people know how to have a good time???
We wondered through the hotel checking out rooms as we went and meeting new people along the way. We came upon Larry’s Jugs & Antiques, where I quickly made a new friend- Bud. Bud was great and he even posed for a picture with me!
Unfortunately, Mother Nature wasn’t having a good day and with the roads home quickly being covered with snow, we decided to head home. With a quick stop for some BBQ and a very fast run through the streets of the Brass Armadillo Antique Mall we headed back to Delaware County. I would highly recommend that anyone that has even a slight interest in stoneware to attend Midwinter when it comes around again. You will see things that you have never seen before and things that you will never be able to afford.
Happy Antiquing Everyone!!!!