December 30, 2005

Food & Drink > Any Other Fiestaware Collectors Out There?

fiestaware-cabinet.jpg

Melissa and I got married in our thirties, so we already had all of the usual housekeeping stuff. Some was better than others, so we kept whichever was best and gifted and yardsaled the rest. When it came to dishes, it was no contest. I had bachelor dishes from K-mart, and she had Fiestaware.

I had seen Fiestaware at antique stores at high prices and assumed it was some ancient stuff that wasn't made any more. Melissa explained that it's still made, but every six months or a year the maker (The Homer Laughlin China Company) retires an old color and introduces a new color. Also, the entire line was discontinued in 1973, with production resuming in 1986. Here's a Fiestaware color chronology. There are currently 15 colors in production.

fiestaware-colors.jpg

Like Melissa, most people buy each place setting in a different color. You can buy everything in one color, but eventually it will be discontinued. Then if you break a piece you'll have to buy replacements on the collector's market, which today is eBay. A current place setting is about $20 on sale. Discontinued place settings can run $150 or more for rare colors like Lilac, which was only made in 1993-95, or for the pre-1974 pieces.

Most of our pieces are current, though Fiesta Yellow was discontinued a few years ago and Sea Mist Green and Rose are being discontinued effective the end of this month. We also have some antique Rose (1951-59) pieces passed down from Melissa's relatives. When someone asks what we want for Christmas we ask for a place setting in the new color. This year for Christmas we received Peacock Blue, which is what made me write this post. The last three years we've picked up Tangerine Orange, Shamrock Green, and Scarlet Red.

In our area Proffitt's carries Fiestaware. For online shopping, try Fiestaware Fiesta. If you live in East Tennessee or are travelling to the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area, visit the Rebel Dish Barn on Highway 66 in Sevierville. They have a huge collection of Fiestaware, with discontinued colors and unusual pieces like butter dishes, candlestick holders, and trivets that aren't carried in most department stores.

Incidentally, Fiestaware is dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and oven safe to about 350 degrees. Also, I'm picky about the shape of soup/cereal bowls, and for me the bowls are perfect. Fiestaware is tough, too. In four years we've never broken or chipped any of ours.

The best reason to have it, though, is that it's fun. I had boring dishes as a bachelor, but now opening the cupboard and seeing all of those colors makes me happy.

Trivia Bonus! The current Fiestaware glaze is lead-free, though older, pre-1974 reds weren't. The original Red (1936-1943) contained uranium oxide, believe it or not. Cecil Adams has the scoop. Homer Laughlin discontinued the color not necessarily because of safety concerns (according to Cecil, the radiation didn't exceed background levels), but because the government wanted all of the uranium it could get for the Manhattan Project.

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Comments

Wish my wife collected Fiesta Ware.

She's into Herrand China instead and so for each birthday/valentines day/mothers day/anniversary/christmas type of occaision she gets a piece. I can't afford a complete place setting, but over the years she has built up a few complete settings.

ANyway, I am a blue willow fan myself, but I do like the ecclectic look of all the multi colored fiesta ware pieces. Growing up, my best friends mom had them and thats what we would eat on when I had dinner over there.

Posted by: countertop at December 30, 2005

Melissa wanted to register for China for our wedding, but I talked her out of it. Growing up my mom had an awesome China collection that we never, ever ate off of. She spent decades putting it together, and it was just for looking at. My mom gave us her China collection this year and we've yet to unpack it.

Posted by: Les Jones at December 30, 2005

Now this is honest. I was eating some rice and salsa in a cobalt blue bowl when I read your post. I knew the stuff was collected, but for my wife and I it is our daily dishes. All Cobalt blue. We even have the big mixing bowl and spoon rest.

Posted by: Gunner at December 30, 2005

They're our daily dishes, too. As we get new sets every year, though, we're taking some out of circulation and putting them away, and we're picking up extras here and there as they're discontinued.

Posted by: Les Jones at December 31, 2005

My wife is a watermelon fanatic...

Last year my mon gave us a full set of Fiestaware in Watermelon. Big plates, little plates, big bowls, medium bowls, little bowls, cups, big glasses, little glasses. To go along with the platters we already had.

Whoof.

Our daily use stuff... I dropped on of the plates once on the counter. Chipped the counter tile, did nothing to the plate.

Posted by: freddyboomboom at December 31, 2005


Not owning any Fiesta, I really enjoyed this explanation of what's what.

Thanks. Oh, and Happy New Year.

Posted by: homebru at December 31, 2005

My sister inherited a radioactive red water pitcher, plus a few other heirloom pieces from the family farm. Over the years, I've tried to pick up more pieces for her at auctions in my neighborhood (Western IL). I even feed the stray cats from a yellow Fiesta veggie bowl (albeit a badly chipped one. If I had an undamaged one, I wouldn't leave it out on the porch, for sure).

Posted by: leucanthemum b at January 02, 2006

I will be traveling to the Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge area in early March. I know Fiesta is more popular up there than it is where I live (GA). I'd like some insight as to where to shop for Fiesta there. I'm into collecting the contemporary items, not the antiques. Please let me know by e-mail or posting...thanks!

Posted by: Mandy at February 07, 2006

I have a Hudge collection of vintage pieces. Enjoy it so much I started puchasing the new stuff. Its great fun to have.

Posted by: Dena at March 01, 2006

I've been a Fiesta collector since I graduated college in 1991. I have both vintage and the Post-86 stuff. If you are interested in becoming a true collector, then I recommend you join the HLCCA which is a collector's group that has a convention and auction every summer. There are also numerous collector websites, such as mediumgreen.com and fiestafanatic.com.

My collection is small compared to the hardcore collectors out there - check out fiestafanatic for links to various collections out there.

Happy collecting!

Posted by: Jaynee at May 03, 2006

My mother just gave me a box of Fiestaware that belonged to her mother-in-law. Are there any markings I should be looking for on the dishes? These would have been purchased before 1948, and include yellow, blue (looks like periwinkle), green (shamrock I think), and a rose color. Would these be safe to use today? Thanks for any help.

Posted by: D. Horgan at May 09, 2006

Hi, I'm a fiestaware collector and I am ready to sell my collection. I have original colors, not any medium green, lots of pieces, and wonder if I could find a collector who would like to buy. Thanks! I appreciate your website! Barbara

Posted by: Barbara at June 03, 2006

My husband and i are having an argument about my fiestaware.I have many colors (only the antique ones),and he is constantly using the bowl in the microwave!I have asked him not to do this as a brown ring in forming in them,but he insists that this theory has no merit and will only eat crow if i can get the correct information about this.Can you help?(he also uses my lead crystal glasses in the microwave to warm up the dogs gravy)and they are getting cloudy!)I might add we have well water with a high calcium content(we do not own a dishwasher-im it....)thanks to anyone that has an answer.

Posted by: janine at August 10, 2006

I first bought my lilac dishes because it was what I could afford. When my brother came over for dinner and saw the set he said I should pack them and up and save them because production had stopped on this color. He then educated me about Fiestaware. I have not stopped using my 12 place settings of lilac.
Now my brother is doing missionary work in Jamaca and has asked me to sell his fiestaware collection to pay off the last of his bills he left behind. I am starting with his Christmas Dishes that serve 20 with so many serving pieces. The pattern is holly. It includes the colored flatware of red, green and white. If you would like more information, please email me. He has many other colors and glasses to match which I will begin to sort through. Thank you. [email protected]

Posted by: Darlene at October 12, 2006

Has anyone found fun/colorful flatware to use with your Fiesta?

Posted by: MaryAnn at December 28, 2006

I know this is an old posting, but if you have a large amount of Fiestaware for Sale at a lot price I'm interested in buying ALL.

Alyssa

Posted by: alyssa at April 03, 2007

My mom just gave me a HUGE vintage Fiesta collection! It is all pre 1974 and she gave it to me after I found them.....sitting very lonely in a box. She said that she didnt use them because the pre 74 pieces are not dishwasher safe! Is this true?????
alane

Posted by: Alane at April 23, 2007

Hi,
I have Fiestaware in Turquoise and some serving bowls and blates in a sunshine yellow color (atleas that is what I call it). Ok, I went to this museum in Oregon called OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry). I love my dishes so I was shocked to see a display about radiation and you had to guess from a series of objects which had the most radiation. The meter ran the highest on a piece of Fiestaware which was turquoise (my same colour although it was a wedding gift bought in 2004). The other objects I was sure would have more radiation although I can't quite remember what they were. It was very interesting, but I was sadenned in thinking that I might need to get rid of the place settings. Can anyone just tell me for sure if they are safe to eat off of. I know that they say the older plates are the ones to watch for, but are the new ones totally safe too? I am wondering for my families sake. LOL, esp. if you think about putting hot food into it and the idea of offgassing chemicals.
thx. jessica.

Posted by: Jessica at June 06, 2007

Hi,
I have Fiestaware in Turquoise and some serving bowls and blates in a sunshine yellow color (atleas that is what I call it). Ok, I went to this museum in Oregon called OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry). I love my dishes so I was shocked to see a display about radiation and you had to guess from a series of objects which had the most radiation. The meter ran the highest on a piece of Fiestaware which was turquoise (my same colour although it was a wedding gift bought in 2004). The other objects I was sure would have more radiation although I can't quite remember what they were. It was very interesting, but I was sadenned in thinking that I might need to get rid of the place settings. Can anyone just tell me for sure if they are safe to eat off of. I know that they say the older plates are the ones to watch for, but are the new ones totally safe too? I am wondering for my families sake. LOL, esp. if you think about putting hot food into it and the idea of offgassing chemicals.
thx. jessica.

Posted by: Jessica at June 06, 2007

I have an extensive old collection plus some newer (1990 and onward) pieces. I have run my older fiestaware through the dishwasher on occasion, but I really do prefer to hand-wash it to prevent scouring and clouding.

I don't like the new super shiny glaze, especially on the dark colors, because it really shows small scratches. (The duller glazes, if not more scratch resistant, at least didn't show it as much.)

What I want to know is if there is lead in any of the pre-1973 colors. I know about the radioactive red (which I do have and still use), but I spoke with someone yesterday who claimed that *all* of the old fiestaware glazes had lead in them.

Posted by: Lisa at July 09, 2007

According to Cecil Adams, the pre-1974 red contained lead, but it isn't clear from that whether other colors contained lead.

Posted by: Les Jones at July 09, 2007

My folks bought the home i currently live in now and when they bought it the women left a large collection of this Fiestaware there as a gift to my parents for there first home. Well i just took it out of the attic and basement to inventory because my wife likes it. We counted all pieces and have about 700 i believe this to be a complete set of all colors is this about right?

Posted by: at November 04, 2007

Hard to say - there are lots of different Fiestaware pieces: candleholders, snack trays, egg servers, etc. It would be well worth your money to buy a collector's book that lists values. One is Warman's guide.

Posted by: Les Jones at November 04, 2007

Hard to say - there are lots of different Fiestaware pieces: candleholders, snack trays, egg servers, etc. It would be well worth your money to buy a collector's book that lists values. One is Warman's guide.

Posted by: Les Jones at November 04, 2007

Does anyone know of a GOOD Post 86 price/value book that I can purchase? I have gotten just about all of the ones listed on Amazon.com but have had a very hard time finding this information on any other colors but lilac and sapphire, which I don't care for or own. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks

Posted by: Becky at November 15, 2007

I have recently inherited a pitcher and 3 drinking cups in a light green color. The pitcher is stamped "Still proudly made by theHomer LaughlinChina Co." Under this is "Genuine Fiesta 60th Anniversary 1936-1996". This set is my first piece and I would like to know it's approx. value should it need to be photographed for homeowners insurance purposes. It's so beautiful, I am considering becoming a collector myself.

Posted by: Beth at December 21, 2007

I have recently inherited a pitcher and 3 drinking cups in a light green color. The pitcher is stamped "Still proudly made by theHomer LaughlinChina Co." Under this is "Genuine Fiesta 60th Anniversary 1936-1996". This set is my first piece and I would like to know it's approx. value should it need to be photographed for homeowners insurance purposes. It's so beautiful, I am considering becoming a collector myself.

Posted by: Beth at December 21, 2007

My mother has the complete service for 8 of the original 1936 set of the Fiesta Ware dishes.. she has everything.. the serving bowls, platters, and silverware.. she is curious as to the value of this set.. does anyone have a price range for her?

Posted by: Torge at April 06, 2008

My mother has the complete service for 8 of the original 1936 set of the Fiesta Ware dishes.. she has everything.. the serving bowls, platters, and silverware.. she is curious as to the value of this set.. does anyone have a price range for her?

Posted by: Torge at April 06, 2008

Does anyone have broke pieces of fiestaware they would like to give up or sell? I could use them. Also I collect vintage cups and saucers. I need the Medium Green color saucer. I have the cup.
Thanks!

Posted by: at August 02, 2008

Does anyone have broke pieces of fiestaware they would like to give up or sell? I could use them. Also I collect vintage cups and saucers. I need the Medium Green color saucer. I have the cup.
Thanks!

Posted by: tomtom at August 02, 2008

Is there any way to estimate the age of a piece of fiestaware? I'm aware the color chart can be of some use, but are there tell-tale signs such as the stamp at the bottom or the shape of the pieces? Has anything changed over the years other than color?

Posted by: Gerald at August 18, 2008

Have a large collection of fiesta ware for sale.
Can give detai;s if anyone is interested

Posted by: Mahlon at September 21, 2008

mahlon ... [email protected]
Have alarge collection of fiesta ware for sale, can give details and photos if interested

Posted by: Mahlon at September 21, 2008
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