Wants and Needs: Weller, Roseville or McCoy?

by Kate Nixon


During one of my many Arts & Crafts In August sessions last week, the idea of “want vs. need” came up as a potential discussion group topic, pertaining to the collector mindset. It was just one of many ideas thrown out there during the minutes before our Zoom presentation and while those present half chuckled at the idea, it stayed in my head long after. What are the wants of the collector vs. the needs of the collector? For that matter, what were my wants and my needs as someone new to the collecting world?

The question stayed with me during my drive earlier this week to Blowing Rock, a village two hours Northeast of Asheville known for the large rock formation with scenic views of the Blue Ridge mountains and forests. Amidst unleashed waves of rain, I looked for a spot to wait out the rain and my saving grace came as an “Antiques” sign came into view. I safely crossed into the large muddy parking lot, parked the car and ducked under the large garage door into the warehouse.

The Antiques store held booth spaces for 65 to 70 different dealers. I wondered how long it would take to spot something familiar. It came 40 minutes into my exploration. And it came with a story: something I decided was absolutely a need for me as a new collector.



I spotted an oaken desk, adorned with a number of a decorations. After crouching down and looking underneath for signs of shopmarks and opening the drawers, I came up empty. If it weren’t for the small slip of paper at the bottom, I would have completely passed it by. “Made in Thomasville, NC by a gentleman for his family. Was bought at a Moravian church in the Winston Salem area from his 74 year old grandson. I appreciated the story as small as it was. Somehow, there is always added value to an object when you know a little about its story. A cold dose of reality was unceremoniously dumped on my thoughts if I could further haggle: I would not have room to place this desk in my car. With a disappointed huff, I left the booth and continued on.

Another booth space offered a stack of old issues of Fine Woodworking. Picking one issue up with a gorgeous Arts & Crafts sideboard, I opened it up and upon reading the index, I recognized about 60% of the names listed as contributing writers. I decided to pay the $1.50 fee for the issue: I could always learn to “Juice up my joinery” and “Master the wood drawer slides” at some point. The next booth however is where I hit the motherlode.

In a display case, I naturally spotted an art pottery favorite. Can anyone else spot it?



Naturally, the Roseville Snowberry basket stuck out like a sore thumb. I recognized the line immediately having seen the blue Snowberry line on JustArtPottery.com’s website. Further inspection of the booth space revealed a number of additional Roseville vases and a couple Weller vases as well. I had finally hit what I was looking for and despite these items having larger price tags than I was anticipating, I naturally wanted to meet the dealer. As is the case sometimes, the dealer was indeed nowhere in the booth and I figured this would be a case where the Antique store owner would attempt to contact the dealer on behalf of the customer.



The Roseville and Weller vases did make me lean in a little more and I could feel myself growing a bit weaker. These were clearly wants, but as much as I tried, I couldn’t find a reason to need them.

I centered myself by taking a few deep breaths and told myself if I didn’t want it with 100% of my being, I would unfortunately need to pass it by. I tore myself away from the pink Weller vase and the appealing price tag and made my way to the exit. That’s when I saw it: a beautiful black jardiniere with a bright daffodil in the middle. It made me stop in my tracks. I looked at the price tag: it said “Weller jardiniere” followed by a price that made me do a double take. One look at the price tag and I knew that I’d regret it if I didn’t go for it. I picked up the jardiniere and carefully headed to the cashier, ready to brag to anyone who commented on the spectacular beauty I was getting,

I took it home and immediately began to look up the line of Weller that my jardiniere identified with. I was confident with the Weller Louwelsa line of Daffodil jardiniere when something finally occured to me. I had forgotten to look for a shopmark. I had been so careful with the oaken desk from earlier and I just depended on the price tag to tell me what I wanted to know. I looked underneath hoping for an obvious sign.



Not so obvious. Was this a case of an unknown Weller shopmark? My gut instinct said no and for a second, I felt like kicking myself for not having a resource with me to make a fully educated decision. I then thought of the feeling of confidence I felt when I saw it: this jardiniere would continue to give me joy despite the fact that I still didn’t know who made it and had the feeling that it was not a Weller jardiniere as it was labelled.

Two weeks later, when I finally thought to turn to the Facebook community to ask for their advice, I found an answer.



Instead of a Weller Louwelsa jardiniere, I appear to have a McCoy Loy-Nel-Art jardiniere. McCoy enthusiasts will recognize the line of Loy-Nel-Art named for the three sons of J.W. McCoy: Lloyd, Nelson, and Arthur.

My journey continues in attempting to figure out the shopmark, but I’d like to think Arthur McCoy had something to do with the jardiniere’s creation – perhaps in 1920? If you have any knowledge of the Loy-Nel-Art line of their art pottery, let me know if the shopmark looks familiar to you.

In the meantime, I think I’ve established that my main need AND want, especially when walking through an antiques store after about 40 minutes of finding nothing that strikes your fancy, is making sure you have a reference at the ready to make sure you make an informed decision. That is if you don’t immediately fall in love with it and buy it anyway.