Where Yesterday Meets Tomorrow
Van Briggle art pottery is one of the newest victims of counterfeiting activity. Antique and Collectors Reproduction News (ACRN) reports that numerous forgeries have been sighted all over the United States. The pieces have forged signatures, artists marks, and logos. They are being reported in both actual Van Briggle shapes and in fantasy shapes with Van Briggle marks. These are particularly difficult forgeries to detect because the original Van Briggle pottery was all hand made and glazed with hand incised marks and signatures. The Van Briggle Company began production in 1901 and still continues in production today. During that century of effort, there have been countless variants among the authentic marks - so the forged marks simply look like the typical hand done mark. The shapes, glazes, and base materials have also vary over time so it is difficult to pick out fakes by those characteristics. ACRN identifies two useful identifiers for the fakes (which will, no doubt, now be corrected on future forgeries.) First, many of the forgeries contain a finisher's initials (AO, for instance) and also a numeric mark. In the originals you'll find one or the other, but never both. Also, "almost all" authentic pieces have two tone glaze highlighting the contours. In all fakes noted so far, only one color was used.
The original Van Briggle company is still in business. One can hope that they will press for criminal action against the perpetrators.
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