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Information

There's no knowledge like experience. I have been collecting salt and pepper shakers for over 30 years. I'd like to share my knowledge with you. I've read books and talk to others about shakers. Here's some of the information I have to share. If you have information you'd like to share with me please e-mail me at

Books  |   Getting Started  |   Finding Shakers  |   Buying Shakers



Books

I have read many books to learn about salt and pepper shakers. If you're looking for salt and pepper shaker values it's best to look in "Salt and Pepper Shaker" books instead of Antique, Garage Sale, and Flea market books. I don't feel antique book authors appreciate salt and pepper shakers like salt and pepper shaker collectors. Though, you sure can get a lot of information about the different companies from antique books. The values I have included with each shaker includes the book code next to the title to show where I found my information. Remember a value listed doesn't mean anything; if someone wants a set bad enough they'll pay for it, wouldn't you?

Below is a list of books I've read. I found some values for my salt and pepper shakers. I gave each book a code as a reference to show which book I used by the values in the salt and pepper descriptions. Click on a book title for more information about the individual book.

(BH01) - Avon Collector's Encyclopedia - 16th Edition
(CA97) - 1003 Salt & Pepper Shakers with Values
(CC94) - Confident Collector Salt and Pepper Shakers - 1st Edition
(CO85) - The Collector's Encyclopedia of Salt & Pepper Shakers
(GR86) - Great Shakes
(HG96) - Salt & Pepper Shakers Identification & Values
(HG93) - Salt & Pepper Shakers Identification & Values II
(HG98) - Salt & Pepper Shakers Identification & Values III
(HG95) - Salt & Pepper Shakers Identification & Values IV
(KO00) - Kovels' Antiques & Collectibles Price List 2000 - 32nd Edition
(OF99) - Official Price Guide to Antiques & Collectibles - 17th Edition
(OF00) - Official Price Guide to Antiques & Collectibles - 18th Edition
(MA99) - Maloney's Antiques and Collectibles Resource Directory - 5th Edition
(WA97) - Warman's Americana & Collectibles - 8th Edition

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Getting Started

It's best to decided what type of Salt and Pepper shaker you want to collect. What fascinates you the most? You can find all different types in the books I've read. The Great Shakes book is wonderful for pictures and ideas of collections and the Salt and Pepper Shakers Identification and Price Guide has hardly any photos, but has great information about types of shakers and how to become a collector. Once you decide what you want to collect the sky is the limit.

Where do you find salt and pepper shakers?

You'd be surprised how many salt and pepper shakers you'll start to notice; they suddenly appear everywhere. Let your family and friends know what you're interested in. They might want to add to your collection. They may buy you a set as a gift or give you a set that's just collecting dust in their house.

Where do you buy shakers?

My favorite places to buy salt and peppers sets are at garage sales and flea markets. They're usually priced the best. The seller is usually cleaning out what they consider junk. They may just want to get rid of a set and have them marked very low. eBay is a wonderful venue, but you may be bidding against others. What may start out as a low price could go up depending on how many others are bidding. And the buyer pays postage. Your buying site unseen. You have to rely on a photo and description. Be sure to read the description. I bought a set that was peeling and didn't know it until I got it. Sure it was inexpensive, but was it worth it? I didn't know the set of "Drips" I bought were suppose to be a "Drip and Drop." Not an expensive mistake, but it could have been. I saw a set of two beautiful angels, but the true set includes one angel holding a muff and the other angel holding a bell. I know this because I have the correct set. The set that was for sale had both angels holding a muff.

The sets I've bought at Antique Malls have been in mint condition and of course I've paid mint prices for them. I feel it's worth paying a higher price for an excellent set.

Book Details

Bud Hasting's 16th Edition Avon Collector's Encyclopedia - 2001 (BH01)

This is a great book for Avon Collectors, but it only had a few salt and pepper shaker sets. The book had a lot of information about the company and hints about buying for collecting. Bud included his personal web site: www.avonpriceguide.com

1003 Salt & Pepper Shakers with Values by Larry Carey & Sylvia Tompkins - 1997 (CA97)

You'll see a lot of character shakers that most people would recognize in this book. It includes very nice photos of the shakers, with information and values.

The sections included:  
Disney
Hanna-Barbera
Warner Brothers
Walter Lantz
Foreign Characters
Various U.S. Characters
Entertainment Characters
Mascots/Symbols

Confident Collector Salt and Pepper Shakers,
The 1st Edition by Gideon Bosker and Lena Lencer - 1994 (CC94)

I would like to have copied this whole book for you, but there are laws against that. This book is a must have, so buy it or go get it from your library. This is the kind of information you want when you are learning about shakers. Not only does the authors describe their love for shakers, but the discriptions of the types of shakers are wonderful.

Here's the types of shakers they describe:

substances
sizes
go-withs
one-piece sets
huggers
squeakers
moveable
hangers
carriers
swingers
nodders
condiment sets

The authors listed information about the manufacturers you should know:

parksmith company
emeloid comany
heather house
national potteries company
lenox china company
burroughs company
william goebel company
osuga ware
ceramic arts studio
whapeton pottery company
  (rosemeade)
shawnee pottery company
pearl china company
shafford
fiedler and fiedler
  mold and die works,
hull china
beswick china
edward a. muth & sons, inc.
bill's novelty and premium company
vallona starr

No wonder I love this book so much - Gideon Bosker, one of the authors, is the author of the book Great Shakes! Too bad this book doesn't have the photography that Great Shakes has. Of course, if it did have more photos (there's only a handful in the book) the book would be over 2,000 pages instead of about 450 pages.

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The Collector's Encyclopedia of Salt & Pepper Shakers by Melva Davern - 1985 (CO85)

I enjoyed looking through this book. Not only did this book have great photos of all the shakers, but it gave information and values too.

This book is divided into two sections.

Section One
Advertising
Animals
Avon
Bakelite
Bone China
Chalkware
Children's World
Fine Feathered Friends
 
Fruit, Vegetables and Food
Game Birds
Goebel, Angels and Pixies
Metal
Miniatures
Nesters, Huggers and Hangers
Novelty Sets: Household Items
Novelty Sets: Miscellaneous
 
Occupied Japan
One-Piece Shakers
Plastic
Shawnee and American Pottery
Transportation
Water Related
Wood
Section Two-People
Bench People
Black Americana
Chefs
Children
 
Clowns
Indians
International Style
Presidents
 
Santas and Christmas
Vegetables and Fruit People
People-Miscellaneous

Here are some notes from this book:
Avon Calling!
Shakers at your door! There are sets of salt and peppers pictured in the book from Avon Products, Inc. Sachets bath oils or cologne were contained in most of them. Easily recognized because the company name is impressed on just about every item they produce, Avon shakers offer a wide range of materials and forms to satisfy any collector.

California Perfume Company was the original name of the Avon Company. It began production in the late 1880's and after many changes, became the Avon Products, Inc. in the mid 1930's. It is a rare and happy occurrence whey one can buy and use a product, save the empty containers and find that their value as collectibles increases year after year. As a result, the company is familiar to collectors all over the world.

They tell about some of the sets I have:
The little figural sets are sure to win your heart. These sets, however, never contained a product but were sold "as is." The little girl and her teddy bear, along with a figural tree for Hors d'oeuvres, were offered in 1979. The Sunny Bunnies were sold at Easter time in 1983. Both of these sets are ceramic. The little boy and girl are "Santa's Helpers." which were offered in 1983 for Christmas. This set is porcelain, of excellent quality with beautiful detailing.

Bone China
Bone China originated about 1800. The ashes of charred animal bones are actually added to the clay which when fired in the kiln, produces a very fine, very hard white china.

Chalkware
The Chalkware sets featured in this section date from the 1920's through 1950. They would never pass the FDA standards for use as a food container! Of all the sets pictured, there was no salt nor pepper found in any of them - which, considering how the plaster crumbles and the paint chips from the surfaces, is a blessing.

Occupied Japan
Collecting Occupied Japan items becomes more of a challenge every year. Long considered a "sleeper" among collectors, these items have been steadily increasing in value and prices are rising. In the past few years, we have seen more and more pieces at antique shows and less of them at flea markets. Occupied Japan items are "period" collectibles. After the war, during the time the United States occupied Japan, everything exported from that country had to be marked either "Made in Occupied Japan" or simply "Occupied Japan." The American Occupation continued from the end of World War II in 1945 until the Peace Treaty was signed on April 28, 1952. Items marked "Occupied" did not begin to arrive in the United States until 1947. Many items bear several other marks in addition to the "Occupied" stamp. This was a result of having items made before the occupation re-stamped with the "Occupied" mark in order to comply with the new law. The mark was discontinued after the signing of the Peace Treaty.

Black Americana
Black Americans have suffered for generations from the stereotyped images of racial inferiority that the culture had imposed upon them. The black stereotyping began centuries ago with caricatures of the native black, the slave, the cotton-picker and the Mammy. Later, the other black types were added tot he list: porters, Redcaps, ragmen, cooks and houseboys. The black man was usually depicted along with a watermelon or bale of cotton. Fortunately, this is now a part of the American past that will hopefully never be repeated. Since these items represent an era in our history now forever gone and since pieces depicting blacks in a derogatory manner will never again be made, collectors seem to be engaged in a mad scramble to collect anything and everything that they can find. As a result, black items have nearly disappeared from the market in recent years and those that one does find command very high prices.

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Great Shakes - Salt and Pepper for All Tastes by Gideon Bosker - 1986 (GR86)

I give this book A+. I picked this book up at the library and loved it. A very short book that doesn’t tell you about shaker values, but it tells you about how Bosker and a friend Lena were out taking photos and spotted shakers through a woman’s window. They went to her apartment, met her, and fell in love with shakers. The book includes a warning: collecting shakers can be habit-forming. That sure is the truth! I shared this book with my granddaughter, Brianna, she loved looking through it too!

Bosker’s book is divided into the following sections with wonderful photographs:

Paradise Found
souvenirs, states
Leave the Driving to Us
trains, planes, automobiles, buses, wheels, bicycles
Home on the Range
cowboys, Indians, horses, teepees, canoes
Counter Culture
fruits and vegetables, sausage and eggs, pie and whip cream, bottles of wine
Good Life (50’s post war optimism)
Filter Queens, Weber barbecue grills, Hamilton Beach mixers
Haute Shakeur
plastic shakers of the 30’s and 40’s, bold colors, crystalline form, explosive geometrics that influenced the design in all decorative arts
Wild Kingdom
birds, monkeys, bear and fish, giraffes with interlocking necks
Animal Farm
pigs, cows, turkeys
Salt of the Earth (variety is the spice of life)
Astronauts, Baseball Players, Black Americana, Eskimos, Canadians, Mailmen
Pouring Cats and Dogs
Cats, Dogs, Bones, Dogs with slippers
Celebrity Shakers
Campbell Soup Kids, Willie and Millies (penguins promoting Kool cigarettes), Walt Disney characters, Smokey the Bear, Humpty Dumpty
Wacky Ware
(ranging from the erotic to the exotic) women, plant and green thumb, alien and flying saucer, camera and photo album

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Salt & Pepper Shakers Identification & Values I-IV
by Helene Guamaccia

Helene’s books have wonderful photographs and the values of salt and pepper shakers. I own four of her books. She divided her books into different sections. Helen Guamaccia's books are highly recommended by other salt and pepper shaker book authors and antique book authors. I certainly have enjoy going through her books.

Salt & Pepper Shakers Identification & Values (HG96)
1985/values updated 1996 includes:

Advertising and Promotion
Animals
Birds, Fish and Fowl
Black Americana
Boxed Sets
Christmas Sets
Food
Kitchen Range Sets
Miniatures
Mustard Sets
Nodders
Nursery Rhyme, Fictional & Comic Characters
Objects: Ceramic
Objects: Plastic
Objects: Metal
Objects: Wood
Occupations
People
People of Different Nationalities
The United States
Transportation

Salt & Pepper Shakers II Identification & Values (HG93)
1989/values updated 1993 includes:

Advertising and Promotion
Animals
Birds and Fowl
Black Americana
Ceramic Novelty
Christmas
Fantasy, Fables and Fairy Tales
Fish and other Creatures from the Sea
Food
Glass, Metal and Wood
Miniatures
Nodders and Huggers
People-Occupations
People-General
People-Risque
People and Places - Historic
Plastic
Tomorrow’s Collectibles

Salt & Pepper Shakers III Identification & Values (HG98)
1991/values updated 1998 includes:

Advertising
Animals
Children
Condiment Sets
Feathers and Fins
Food
Going Places
Holidays
Hodgepodge
Japanese Luster
Miniatures
People
Series
Tomorrow’s Collectibles

Salt & Pepper Shakers IV Identification & Values (HG95)
1993/values updated 1995 includes:

Photographs of Salt and Pepper Collections and photos of people that attended a Salt & Pepper shaker party. The guest dressed up like specific shakers; very cute.

Advertising
Animals
American Made Shakers
  Ceramic Arts Studio
  Rosemeade
  Poinsetta Studios
  Sorcha Boru
  Vallona Star
Birds, Fish, and Fowl
Character Sets
Condiment Sets
  Animals
  Birds, Fowl, and Fowl
  Houses and Transportation
  International People
  Chefs
  Sailors
  Clowns
  Monks
  Sports
  Children
  Miscellaneous People
  Black People
  Miscellaneous Sets
  Luster Sets
Food
Holidays
Metal, Wood, and Glass
People
  Nationalities
  Wild West
  General
  Black Americana
Nodders
Places
Plastic
Things
Tomorrow’s Collectibles

Kovels Antiques & Collectibles 2000 Price List - 32nd Edition
by Ralph & Terry Kovel - 2000 (KO00)

This antique and collectibles book doesn't have much on shakers. Here's what I found:

Salt and pepper shakers in matched sets were first used in the nineteenth century. Collectors are primarily interested in figural examples made after World War I. Huggers are pairs of shakers that appear to embrace each other. There are a lot of shakers listed and prices, but it's hard to figure out what set books are talking about when they don't include pictures.

This book included information about companies and manufacturers:

Avon started in 1886 as the California Perfume Company. It was not until 1929 that the name Avon was used. In 1939, it became Avon Product, Inc. Avon has made many figural bottles filled with cosmetic products. Ceramic, plastic, and glass bottles were made in limited editions.

Holt-Howard was an importer who started working in 1949 in Stanford, Connecticut. He sold many types of table accessories, such as condiment jars, decanters, spoon holders, and saltshakers. The figures shown on some of his pieces had a cartoon-like quality. The company was bought out by General Housewares Corportation in 1969. Holt-Howard pieces are often marked with the name and the year or HH and the year stamped in black. There was also a black and silver label.

Lefton is a mark found on many pieces. The Geo. Zoltan Lefton Company has imported pottery, porcelain, glass, and other wares to be sold in America since 1940. The firm is still in business. The company mark has changed through the years; but because marks have been used for long periods of time, they are of little help in dating an object.

Occupied Japan was printed on pottery, porcelain, toys, and other goods made during the American occupation of Japan after World War II, from 1945 to 1952. Collectors now search for these pieces. The items were made for export.

Official Price Guide to Antiques & Collectibles
17th Edition - 1999 (OF99) and 18th Edition - 2000 (OF00)
by Rinker Enterprises, Inc.

Information found in both of these books:

Collecting Tips
Condition is everything. The difference between very good and near mint can be the difference between $100 and $1000 or more. Be a tough grader. Overgrading is a common mistake. If an item needs restoration, know what that will cost before you buy. Also remember that a restored antique is generally worth much less that an unrestored pieces in pristine condition. Just because something is scarce doesn’t mean it is valuable. In today’s trendy market, desirability is a major value key.

African-American Memorabilia
For the past century, the depiction of African Americans has been a reflection of this country’s fitful growth as a free nation. Although many of the images are derogatory and degrading, both black and white collectors have found them historically interesting. A nation from its mistakes will find endless education here.

Holiday Decorations
Holidays are special events, times when we can get together with friend and family, exchange gifts, observe religious rites or dress in outrageous costumes. Collectors of holiday items can choose from a wealth of material. Many collectors focus on one holiday, such as Christmas or Halloween. Others prefer to specialize in a type of item, such as postcards. Whatever the method, displaying your finds is great fun and collecting can be enjoyed year round. For further information Holiday Collectibles: A Price Guide by Pauline and Dan Campanelli, L-W Books, Gas City, IN, 1997, Christmas Revisited by Robert Brenner, Schiffer Publishing, West Chester, PA, 1986 and Collectible Halloween by Pamela E. Apkarian-Russell, Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, PA, 1997 is recommended.

Salt and Pepper Shakers
Salt and pepper shakers are on most dinner tables (very few of us use salt cellars). Although people obtain shakers to match table settings, the book lists shakers that are considered novelty or figural shakers; some even advertise products. Collectors are drawn to the strange forms and bright colors. Many shakers match a more expensive cookie jar by the same manufacturer such as Shawnee or Regal. Shakers draw collectors not only from the cookie jar field buy from the fields of black Americana, comic character and advertising memorabilia. With so many shapes and themes, crossover collecting is nearly endless. Collectors talk about sets such as one piece (one container), nodders (which sit in a base and rock back and forth), nesters (which sit one inside the other), or huggers (which fit together).

Sometimes a pair of salt and peppers aren’t really a pair, but two different forms that share a theme such as a cow jumping over the moon or a bowling ball and pin. Many times there are other pieces, such as a condiment jar, a tray or a bench, that are required in order to complete the set. Be alert to reproductions of expensive shakers and missing parts. Prices listed in this book are for excellent condition examples - no chips, cracks, flaking finish, or missing parts. The shakers the book lists usually range from 1"-5" in height, so nearly everyone has room for two or three hundred. Many common shakers can be purchased for less than $10. For further reading the book recommends The Complete Salt and Pepper Shaker Book by Mike Schneider, Schiffer, Atglen PA 1993 and Salt and Pepper Shakers, Vols. I-IV by Helene Guarnaccia, Collector Books, Paducah, K.Y.

About 100 sets are listed, but there are only about 8 photos in each book. One of the book states Santa Claus, Holt-Howard $20-$25. There's no picture to identify which set the book is refering to. See why I prefer salt and pepper shaker books for information about values?

Maloney’s Antiques and Collectibles Resource Directory - 5th Edition - 1999 (MA99)
by David J. Maloney, Jr., ISA CAPP

This book lists names, addresses, phone numbers, E-mail addresses, and Web site addresses of Collectors and Dealers.

Warman's Warman’s Americana & Collectibles - 8th Edition - 1997 (WA97)
Edited by Ellen T. Schroy

A price guide devoted to today’s collectibles, with collecting hints: histories, references, clubs, museums, and completely illustrated. This book is for Antique information. There’s information about companies, I didn’t get information about specific shakers, except the "Native and Watermelon."

Some notes from the book:

Avon
Collecting Hints: Avon collectibles encompass a wide range of objects including California Perfume Co., bottles, decanters, soaps, children’s items, jewelry, plates and catalogs. Another phase of collecting focuses on Avon Representatives' and Managers' awards.
  Avon products are well marked with one of four main marks. There is a huge quantity of collectibles from this company; collectors should limit their interests. Although they may be harder t find, do include some foreign Avon collectibles. New items take longer to increase in value than older items. Do not change the object in any way; this destroys the value.

History: David H. McConnell founded the California Perfume Co., in 1886 He hired saleswoman, a radical concept for that time. They used a door-to-door technique to sell their first product, Little Dot, a set of five perfumes; thus was born the Avon Lady, Buy 1979, Avon Ladies numbered more than a million. In 1929 California Perfume became the Avon Co. The time perfume company grew into a giant corporation. Avon bottles began attracting collector interest in the 1960s.

Black Memorabilia
Collecting Hints: Black memorabilia was produced in vast quantities and variations. As a result, collectors have a large field from which to choose and should concentrate on one type of item or a limited combination of types. Outstanding examples or extremely derogatory designs command higher prices. Certain categories, e.g., cookie jars, draw more collectors, resulting in higher prices. Regional pricing also is a factor. New collectors frequently overpay for common items because they mistakenly assume all Black collectibles are rare or of great values. As in any other collecting field, misinformation and a lack of knowledge leads to these exaggerated values. The Black memorabilia collector is particularly vulnerable to this practice since so little documentation exists. New collectors should familiarize themselves with the field by first studying the market, price trends and existing reference material. Seeking out other collectors is especially valuable for the novice. Black memorabilia has developed into an established collecting field and continues to experience increasing public attention and interest.

History: The term Black memorabilia refers to a broad range of collectibles that often overlap other collecting fields, e.g., toys and postcards. It also encompasses African artifacts, items created by slaves or related to other slavery era modern Black cultural contributions to literature, art, etc., and material associated with the Civil Rights Movement and the Black experience throughout history.
  The earliest known examples of Black memorabilia include primitive African designs and tribal artifacts. Black Americana dates back to the arrival of African native upon American shores. The advent of the 1900s saw an incredible amount and variety of material depicting Blacks, most often in a derogatory and dehumanizing manner that clearly reflected the stereotypical attitude held toward the Black race during this period. The popularity of Black portrayals in this unflattering fashion flourished as the century wore on.
  As the growth of the Civil Rights Movement escalated and aroused public awareness of the Black plight, attitudes changed. Public outrage and pressure during the early 1950s eventually put a halt to these offensive stereotypes. Black representations are still being produced in many forms, but no longer in the demoralizing designs of the past. These modern objects, while not as historically significant as earlier examples, will become the Black memorabilia of tomorrow.

Holiday Collectibles
Collecting Hints: Collectors often start with one holiday and eventually branch out and collect all the holidays. Reasonably priced items can still be found, especially items from the 1950s and 1960s.

History: Holidays are an important part of American life. Many have both secular and religious overtones such as Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Valentine’s Day and Halloween. National holidays such as the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving are part of one’s yearly planning. Collectors usually consider President’s Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day and the Fourth of July as part of the general category of patriotic collectibles. Each holiday has its own origins and background and owes its current face to a variety of legends, lore and customs. Holiday decorations were popularized by German cottage industries at the turn of the century. Germany dominated the holiday market until the 1920s when Japan began producing holiday items. Both countries lost their place during the World War II and U.S. manufacturers filled the American appetite for holiday decorations.

McCoy Pottery
Collecting Hints: Several marks were used by the McCoy Pottery Co. Take the time to learn the marks and the variations. Pieces can often by dated by according to the mark. Most pottery marked "McCoy" was made by the Nelson McCoy Co.

History: The J.W. McCoy Pottery was established in Roseville, OH, in September 1899. The early McCoy company produced both stoneware and some art pottery lines, including Rosewood. In October 1911, three potteries merged to create the Brush-McCoy Pottery Co. This firm continued to produce the original McCoy lines and added several new art lines. Much of the early pottery is not marked.
  In 1910, Nelson McCoy and his father, J.W. McCoy, founded the Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Co. In 1925, the McCoy family sold its interest in the Brush-McCoy Pottery Co., and started to expand and improve the Nelson McCoy Co. The new company produced stoneware, earthenware specialties and artware.

Occupied Japan
Collection Hints: Buyers should be aware that a rubber stamp can be used to mark "Occupied Japan" on the base of objects. Fingernail polish remover can be used to test a mark. An original mark will remain intact since it is under the glaze; fake marks will disappear. This procedure should not be used on unglazed pieces. Visual examination is the best way to identify a fake mark on an unglazed item. Damaged pieces have little value unless the item is extremely rare. Focus on pieces which are well-made and nicely decorated. There are many inferior examples. From the beginning of the American occupation of Japan until April 28, 1952, objects made in that county were marked "Japan," "Made in Japan," "Occupied Japan," or "Made in Occupied Japan." Only pieces marked with the last two designations are of major interest to Occupied Japan collectors. The firt two marks also were used during other time periods.

History: The Japanese economy was devastated when World War II ended. To secure necessary hard currency, the Japanese pottery industry produced thousands of figurines and other knickknacks for export. The variety of products is endless - ashtrays, dinnerware, lamps, planters, souvenir items, toys, vases, etc. Initially, the figurines attracted the largest number of collectors; today many collectors focus on other types of pieces.

Shawnee Pottery
Collecting Hints: May Shawnee pieces came in several color variations. Some pieces were both painted and decorated with decals. The available literature indicates some, but not all, of the variations. There is not a great deal of interest in either the Shawnee artware or dinnerware lines. These include Cameo, Cheria (Petit Point), Diora and Touche (Liana). New collectors might consider concentrating in one of these areas. Shawnee pieces were marked "Shawnee," "Shawnee U.S.A.," "USA #___," "Kenwood," or with character names, e.g. "Pat. Smiley" and "Pat. Winnie."

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