Learn About Roseville Pottery's Desirable Cremo Line

Collectors Pay Thousands for Rare Unmarked Pieces

Cremo Vase by Roseville. Morphy Auctions

Would you recognize this piece of pottery as Roseville? This isn't your run of the mill vase, to say the least. When pieces from the Cremo line like this one come up for sale, and they rarely do, they usually sell for hundreds if not thousands per piece, and that's even when they are not in perfect condition.

According to Warman’s Roseville Pottery: Identification and Price Guide, Cremo is consistently one of Roseville's rarest and most valuable lines when they occasionally come up for sale. This guide states that the pattern was introduced in 1912, while most other resources indicate a production date of 1905. Nevertheless, the concurrence among pottery enthusiasts is that any Cremo find is a good one no matter when the line was first made. In fact, collectors will sometimes purchase a damaged piece of Cremo just to have an example in their collections. This is certainly not the norm for more commonly found antique and collectible pottery, including most other Roseville pieces unless you're talking Touring examples, which are also hard to come by.

Learning to correctly identify Cremo is paramount to avoid overlooking a great find, since these pieces exhibiting Art Nouveau flair were all unmarked. According to justartpottery.com, the pattern's "tube-line decoration features green, curved lines with blue and yellow flowers on a background that blends from pink to yellow to green … there are 11 vases and one jardinière listed on the factory stock page. Many of the shapes used for the Cremo pattern come from the Roseville Rozane line." So, there are pieces floating around out there, and unless you become familiar with the coloration and designs, they can easily be overlooked without any marks to guide you regarding the origin.

This pattern should not be confused with the similarly named and more commonly found Cremona pattern made by Roseville, which was produced much later and actually looks very different than Cremo in spite of the similar-sounding name. And, although importers have attempted to reproduce Roseville pieces in a variety of forms, collectors don't really have to worry about reproductions of the rare Cremo pieces, at least not at this point in time. With all honestly, the complexity of the pattern and color combination would make this line very hard to duplicate with any amount of success. If this was going to happen, it probably would have already done so when art pottery prices hit their peak around the time this vase was sold at auction.

About the Roseville Cremo Example Shown Here:

This Roseville Cremo vase may be more valuable than the average piece due to its purported extreme rarity. When sold in November, 2012, Morphy Auctions was unable to find a similar shape listed in any Roseville reference guide. Since there was no record found of this style or provenance provided by the seller, one can speculate that it may have been an experimental one-of-a-kind piece. Or, it may have been a piece thrown and decorated by a Roseville employee for personal use with the Cremo colors and design. This is just speculation, and does not add to the value of the piece, but collectors still ponder the origin of these seemingly one-off wares.

The exceptional color and beautifully executed glaze also make this piece extremely attractive to advanced Roseville dealers and collectors. Not an overly large piece, it measures just 8 1/2" tall. It was sold in excellent condition, making it even more desirable. The hammer down price of $8,400 does include the buyer’s premium charged by the auction house. 

Prices for art pottery in general have declined overall since this piece was sold, including hard to find Roseville items in many instances. Really rare pieces like this one, however, would likely hold their own at auction bringing formidable sums.