Spotlight on Collectibles: Metlox Handcrafted Dishware

If you're as obsessed with collecting as I am, you'll be very familiar with the phrases I tell my partner (and myself) to justify the oh so frequently arriving packages: "it was too good a price to pass up," "these aren't made anymore," "I've been looking for this one forever,"... But what I love about this collection is that they not only display beautifully but are usable, dishwasher-safe and most pieces are affordable! Now who can argue with that?

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This dishware collection is made by Metlox Pottery and is in the Aztec pattern of the Poppytrail line. Metlox Pottery began in 1927 in Manhattan Beach, California and grew to become one of California's premier pottery companies. There were two divisions within Metlox, the Poppytrail Division and the Vernonware Division (due to Metlox's purchase of Vernon Kilns in 1942). Known for their hand-painted and modern designs, Metlox dishware, and their only real competitor in the 60's and 70's, Franciscan, were the everyday dishware of choice in most American homes. During the late 70's, hand-painted dinnerware patterns with large selections of pieces began to fall out of favor with American consumers and Metlox had to begin competing with popular Japanese firms churning out inexpensive and simple styles.

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Another pattern by Metlox, the atomic California Contempora, is available in most of the same pieces. And with a large and well-preserved inventory available online for resale, collecting these sets can become quite addicting!

Like so many of the California potteries, Metlox closed in the late 1980s (1989), but these pieces can be found on many sites, including Replacements.com and eBay.com. Prices range from around $10 for a standard dinner plate to over $200 for some of the rare pieces in mint condition, such as the coffee pot (top row, middle pic) and the divided vegetable dish (bottom row, last pic).

(Images: 1. Chad Schroer, the rest, as linked above)

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