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How do you identify pottery made in California?

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Quick Answer

One way to identify California pottery is by the "California," "Cal" or "Calif" mark stamped on the bottom or side of the piece. Additionally, if a maker's name or mark appears on the pottery, it provides a reference for tracking down its origin. When the piece has no identifying marks, its shape or style may help in identifying its origins, according to Potteries of California.

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California pottery grew along with the need for stone-based building materials during the state's housing boom in the 1850s. The first half of the 20th century saw a golden age of ceramic arts in the state, and much of the collectible pottery comes from the era spanning 1930 to 1960.

Many of the most commonly available pieces come from the larger factories of the period, such as Bauer, Pacific and Gladding-McBean. Pieces from these makers bear the name of the company in some form. For example, a piece from Bauer may say "Bauer," "Bauer Los Angeles," or "Bauer Pottery Los Angeles." Gladding -McBean used hundreds of different impressions over the years.

Pieces with no identifying marks are not necessarily more valuable or rare than ones with markings. Sometimes the maker's mark has worn away. In these cases, the best way to identify the pottery is by comparison.

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