Commemorative ABCThe Red Wing Collectors Society commemorative is always a surprise. The 33rd convention had a surprise within the surprise.
By: Anne Jacobson, The Republican Eagle
The Red Wing Collectors Society commemorative is always a surprise. The 33rd convention had a surprise within the surprise.
At Thursday's unveiling, collectors opened anonymous brown boxes to learn which of three miniature bean pot commemoratives they would take home.
Linda Wendlandt of Aitkin, Minn., was among the first in line and received version A - the bean pot with the Red Wing Collectors Society and convention date stamped on the front.
That put her on the search for version B, too, which bears a vintage "Merry Christmas" advertising logo. Wendlandt has a complete commemorative collection from every convention.
"That's why I want the other one," she said.
They may be hard to come by, commemorative manager Bob Morawski acknowledged. Her options included wining a commemorative by lottery, buying one from someone else, trading up or bidding in a silent auction.
Western Stoneware of Monmouth, Ill., made 3,563 pieces. Of those, 90 percent are version A and 9 percent are version B, and 33 pieces are version C. The rare version C features a vintage "Holstein" advertisement.
Morawski is serving the first year of a four-year term. He came up with the Christmas theme and the triplicate scheme in hopes of generating enthusiasm. He chose a bean pot -- a pretty collectible and popular item in its full size -- for the same reason.
"Interest in the commemorative has been on the decline, so went with the three commemoratives," he explained.
A few people grumbled about having to stand in line so long, but most collectors Thursday morning approved of Morawski's choice, regardless of which one they got.
"I like the bean pot," said Jane Timm of Millville, Minn.
"It reminds me of the bean pot when we were growing up," she said, turning to her mother, Bernice Wiebusch of Lake City. "You made beans in it."
They went home with both A and B versions.
Thirteen-year-old Michael Arndt of Stockton, Ill., declared the commemorative "better than most" and will proudly display it. He, his 11-year-old brother and parents regularly attend the convention.
Doug Lemons picked up his first commemorative at his first convention. A longtime collector and member from South Range, Wis., he had only praise for the entire experience.
"Red Wing is an awesome community," he said. He and his wife decided to come after their stoneware cooler was selected for the members-only auction Thursday night. They'll be back, he promised.
"This is going to start a real expensive tradition," Lemons said with a laugh.