Personal Effects, June 24

BY JERRY SAMPSON

Question: Hi Jerry. I don’t really have a question but I wanted to ask you about granite ware. Back in the day when I was buying for my home, I remember that I used to drool over the granite ware that Sue Sauffley used to sell at Blue Monday Antiques in Stanford.

Would I have made a good “collector’s” decision if I had been able to shop with her? I still have many of the pieces that I bought over the years and love them all.

Answer: Well, first off let’s give the readers a definition of what granite ware is. According to Helen Greguire, who authored the the landmark book,”The Collectors Encyclopedia of Granite Ware”, Helen states that, “Granite ware is the adhering of different colored enamels to different metals and shapes at high degrees of heat, making a composition of a glass-like finish.” It was wildly popular from the 1880s all the way up to the 1940s.

It was earth shattering from the aspects of a housewife or a cook. It was colorful, light weight and wore like old boots. It was made in some faction, in almost every country of the world.

The colors, shapes and history are mind boggling.

Enough about that.

Yes, I remember Sue and her beautiful store, Blue Monday Antiques in Stanford. It was not unusual for Sue to have granite ware priced in the high hundreds of dollars, for rare patterns, colors and forms. 

This is a tricky question. Is this what you’re asking: If you had bought granite ware from Sue would you have made money? Probably not or maybe you would. I’ll just tell you, the antiques market has softened a lot since the days of Blue Monday Antiques.

Granite ware, just like a lot of other antiques, have become less popular. Now hold on all you granite collectors! In some aspects of the market, the really rare pieces of granite still bring premium prices. Maybe not a’la 1992, but still its worth money.

The average stuff or the damaged items, not so much. A lot of items have decreased in value. However, if you’d bought a piece from Sue that made you smile, that you needed to complete a collection or it made your heart race, then YES, you would have made a good deal, because its price, which is a one time thing, was decreased by your enjoyment of the object over the years. Thanks for a great question.