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Collectors coming to learn, share, shop

Valerie Becker (left) of Red Wing Framing presents Red Wing Collectors Society Executive Director Stacy Wegner with three framed prints of Red Wing Pottery paintings by Larry Veeder. Becker matted and framed the prints as a donation; they will be auctioned or sold during the convention. Ruth Nerhaugen / Contributor1 / 3
An Underwood Standard Typewriter is the style office workers likely used around the turn of the century. Ruth Nerhaugen / Contributor2 / 3
Peggy Yanover from St. Louis checks out the new Union Stoneware Company exhibit while visiting the Pottery Museum of Red Wing. The display replicates the Union Stoneware office, complete with saltglaze crocks and vintage office equipment. Ruth Nerhaugen / Contributor3 / 3

Nearly 900 Red Wing Collectors Society members will be arriving over the next few days on their annual search for locally made pottery and stoneware, dinnerware, art pottery and memorabilia.

The society's 42nd convention runs Thursday through Saturday, July 12-14, plus there will be auctions, sales and special events all week. Including walk-ins, attendance could top 1,000.

Again this year, the gathering is being held at two locations due to work being done at the previous site, Red Wing High School.

Convention activities will be at the locations used in 2017 — Minnesota State College Southeast and the Red Wing National Guard Armory — because those sites worked well, officials said.

The biggest draw for community residents usually is the Show & Sale, which will be at the armory on East Seventh Street on Saturday, July 14. Upwards of 50 vendors will have tables filled with antiques, pottery, stoneware and memorabilia, according to Stacy Wegner, the society's executive director.

The free show opens to the public at 10:30 a.m. Shuttle service will be available until 2 p.m. from the Minnesota Correctional Facility to the armory and back.

Another event that is open to everyone is the "Wine-ing for Red Wing" fundraiser held each year on the eve of the convention.

A Red Wing Collectors Society Foundation celebration with adult beverages and hors d'oeuvres, silent and oral auctions, it will run 6-9 p.m. Wednesday at the Pottery Museum of Red Wing, 240 Harrison St. Admission is $20; tickets are available in the museum gift shop.

Foundation President Dave Hallstrom encouraged everyone to stop in during the week and see what's new at the Pottery Museum. "Each year we make sure to change or add new collections," he said. This year Union Stoneware Company (1894-1906) is honored in a new display.

Collectors come to Red Wing each year for many reasons, Wegner said. The camaraderie of getting together with people who share the same interests is as important to most members as the chance to find special items for their collections.

Auctions and sales will be underway throughout the week. Individual vendors set up at a variety of locations, but the busiest spot is always the Pottery Place parking lot outside the museum. Local residents promote Red Wing at their yard sales, and several auctions are scheduled within a few miles of the city.

The official RWCS auction takes place Thursday of convention week at the armory, which will be cooled with portable air-conditioners if the weather is too warm, according to society president Paul Wichert.

Several rare items have been submitted to the auction, Wegner said, including the cowboy sconces, a seldom-seen Bud pitcher, two brushware lobby jars, water coolers, Nokomis pieces and a lunch hour piece of a dog with barrels. They are pictured on the society's Website.

Another special feature will be framed prints of some of artist Larry Veeder's groupings of pottery pieces. The Veeder family donated the prints, and Valerie Becker of Red Wing Framing prepared them for auctioning.

A 24-by-14-inch matted and framed print spotlights collectibles, plus Veeder painted in some historic photographs that hang in the Pottery Museum today. Two 10-by-12-inch prints feature kitchen items and cookie jars.

Additional Veeder prints will be available at convention headquarters.

The Thursday auction and activities at the college are for members only. However, Wegner pointed out, anyone can join in person at the college starting Thursday, online at or by emailing her at

Collector society members have a full schedule of activities for all ages.

At Thursday's opening they will hear from Goodhue County GIS Systems Specialist Leanne Knott, who created a "story map" of the historic Pottery District and get their first look at displays and the 2018 commemorative, a miniature of a Red Wing production piece. Young Collectors will go on a field trip to ArtReach in downtown Red Wing.

Friday is Education Day with sessions on topics ranging from dinnerware patterns, bean pots and fruit jars to life in Red Wing at mid-century, dump-digging for shards and shape numbers, plus tours of Oakwood Cemetery.

The Goodhue County Historical Society and ArtReach are teaming up to present Kids View, a learning program for youth members. A social gathering rounds out Friday's schedule.

In addition to the show and sale on July 14, there will be a banquet celebration at Mount Frontenac Golf Course.

A supplement with additional details will be distributed with Wednesday's Republican-Eagle. It also serves as the convention program for attendees.