A cookie jar without a lid makes a fine centerpiece when filled with seasonal silk flowers
Sandra in Big Spring, TX asks:
"This (Mar-crest) was my grandmother's everyday dishes. I would love to collect some peices. Can you tell me where I can find them? Thanks"
Search eBay and Google frequently. Go to yard sales, estate sales, the DAV and the Salvation Army, second hand stores and antique malls. Network with other collectors. Search not only for items to add to your own collection, but also for your friends collections as well, while you're looking. Notify fellow collectors when you come across items they collect. Maybe you can trade pieces needed with your local and internet friends.
"My mother recently gave me two Mar crest mixing bowls, large and small, the large one is severely cracked. The smaller one is in great condition. Should I just dump the larger one? PS, Love your site. Thanks! Teresa"
Hi, Teresa. How nice of your mother for the gifts! Are you planning on keeping them for display? For personal use? Or for sale? If for personal use or display, keep them both! If for selling (assuming they are the regular warm Colorado brown color), I'd skip selling the badly cracked bowl.
I believe in finding new uses for many items I might otherwise throw in the trash. I use a beautiful Mar-crest frosted rim cookie jar with no lid for a utensil holder on the counter top next to my stove. My 2 grease pots without lids hold silk ivy on a shelf. Maybe you can find another use for the bowl and turn the bad side toward the wall? Did you know that there are some people that collect broken pottery/ceramic pieces and make "mosaic" table tops? They're beautiful, btw!
If you can't think of a new use for the cracked piece, consider donating it to the Salvation Army or the Goodwill, or use it to hold odds and ends in the garage or shed rather than putting it in the trash. Now, if you'll excuse me, I feel the need to hug a tree. :-)
"To what degree is oven safe on Mar-Crest cooking dishes"?
"Is Mar-crest dishwasher and microwave-safe"?
Almost everyone I know that uses some of their Mar-crest for everyday does put them in both the dishwasher and the microwave. As for display only pieces, my answer would be no. I hand wash all my favorite dishes, glasses and cooking pans anyway, rather than put them in the dishwasher where they might get etched. I always let dishes air dry in the dishwasher, too, rather than using the drying cycle.
Caution must be used when using Mar-crest to heat foods and beverages in the microwave. Frequent microwave use may damage not only the glaze, but the integrety of, say, a handle, in time. I've had the handle of an old pottery cup break off while I was drinking hot coffee from it after microwave use.
Original boxes claim that Mar-crest is safe to use in the freezer and also in the oven with temperatures up to 500 degrees.
June in San Marcos, TX asks: "Is the 4"tall dutch oven w/lid, stove top safe"?
While Mar-crest is ovenproof to 500*, it must NOT be used on the stovetop. Incised on the bottom of the large square Mar-crest handled skillet, are the words: "DO NOT Place On Open Flame Nor On Electric Stove Burners"!
A warning placed in (some, if not all) original Mar-crest boxes claims:
"Your STONEWARE is ovenproof -- excellent for baking and braising ... craze proof and crack resistant ...
... Although your stoneware is ovenproof it is not flameproof. DO NOT PLACE it over an open flame or electric range burner without placing an asbestos pad under it."
Below is a link to what the Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center says about those old asbestos pads in an internet article written in 2008:
"I have an entire set of Mar-Crest dishes including serving pieces. How much is it worth"?
Now, that's a tough question. Many things must be known about what you have. A list is necessary with how many pieces you have of everything (8 dinner plates, 8 1-finger cups, 10 berry bowls, etc.). A thorough and detailed description of every piece is needed (chips, cracks, flea bites, repairs, stains, missing lids, etc.). What rare or hard to find items do you have? Some rare pieces can easily bring well over $100 each. Were they display only pieces? Were they ever used? How used?
The most recent eBay auction for a large Mar-crest collection sold for $550, excluding shipping. This collection was said to have consisted of 220 pieces. The auction didn't sell the first time it was listed. The condition of the items were somewhat vague, some items were paired with the wrong lid or were mismatched in other ways.
Search past online auctions and see how much various lots of Mar-crest have gone for. The experience and feedback of the seller can affect the final price an auction goes for. It also depends on if the "right" collectors are online the week of your auction, and can easily find it (meaning that it's placed in the proper category, keywords are used and are spelled correctly). Negative auction terms and inflated shipping and handling charges can turn prospective bidders away, too.
The time of year one is selling in can be a factor. It seems to me that Mar-crest sells better in late fall and in the winter (just before Christmas). The time of day and day of week the auction begins and ends on can be important. You might consider having an appraiser come to your home and give you an estimate.
There is no price list for every piece of Mar-crest (yet). There are only a handful of books about vintage pottery, cookie jars, etc, but each book usually only gives a price for 1 or 2 Mar-crest pieces. Of the ones I've seen, very few seemed up to date. Two fairly new books are wayyyyy off. I did give quite a few Mar-crest prices last year for the Yard Sale and Flea Market Anual book. You can check on the advanced search of ebay for completed auctions, checking titles and descriptions. But search only goes back as far as about 30 days.
I've heard that it's "probably" lead-free. I drink out of a Mar-crest stein every single day, and have for a few years. If you're very concerned, you can purchase a lead test kit at a hardware store and follow the directions. Did you realize that leaded crystal contains lead? And that lead is not the only potentially dangerous element that can possibly found in pottery glazes? Glazes from other countries, especially very colorful pieces, may be of utmost concern. I'll study more about this and will give a more in depth answer as soon as I learn more. In the meantime, here's a few links that I found to be informative:
"I recently inherited four Marcrest Oven Proof Stoneware Plates from my grandmother. I didn't realized their was so much history behind these plates".
Julie, thank you for visiting! Maybe you will start a Mar-crest collection? My collection started with a cookie jar I found just like the one my mother had. They bring back a lot of memories, don't they? I hope that you've bookmarked this site and will visit often. :-)
No, they did not. Sometimes, online sellers will call the low creamer with a handle and a spout a gravy boat (the creamer that goes with the covered sugar bowl). Sometimes, a seller will refer to the midsized pitcher as a gravy pitcher. We've even seen sellers call the 10 ounce individual casserole/soup dishes with a handle, a gravy dish.
Others have asked: "Did Mar-crest ever make a stopper for the carafe jug, a lid for the jumbo pitcher (making it resemble a coffee pot), a garlic roaster, an escargot skillet, a salad/dessert plate or a covered butter dish"?
Go to the Message Board on this site and title your message that you need a cookie jar lid. Good luck! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shawna in Searcy, Arkansas asks:
"I am new to Mar-Crest, and after viewing your site, I discovered that I need the grease-pot with lid that came with the salt and pepper shakers. I also need the lid for the 6 x 2 and 3/4 inch sugar bowl. I was thrilled to find that my lids and bowls are correctly matched up though. I have quite a collection thanks to my mother. I have quite a few repeat pieces. I would very much like to have a daisy and dot dinner plate. I have only seen one of them, but my mother just won't give it up. Thanks again for such a great website (:-)"!
Shawna, you're in luck. The Mar-crest grease pot with lid and dinner plates can currently still be found every now and again. Just make sure the condition is what you're looking for. If they're available online, make sure the sellers feedback is good.
Like I said, there's still several around, but the condition of most of these 50 + year old pottery pieces might not be as good as what you're wanting to add to your condition. Need a lid only for your sugar bowl? HINT: Watch for auctions or second hand stores where the sugar bowl (or grease pot) has, say, a broken handle, but a perfectly good lid!
"Hello... Are you in anyway connected with Mar-Crest from Chicago who manufactured Melmac in 1954 (or so, that's what my cup says...) :c) ? Memories: We are still using melmac, or at least the pieces we have left... and discovered they don't go in the microwave! Something weird about sitting down to a hot meal and then all of a sudden seeing the plate snap in two just sitting there before you put the fork in! Heheheh ;c)".
Hi, Michel. Sorry, I know very little about Melmac. I can just see that plate snapping in half! I've had a cup handle snap off while drinking hot coffee from a pottery cup before. It happened to a police officer friend that came to my home to finish up an accident report that I was involved in nearby. It sliced his thumb and he almost needed stitches. The hot coffee burned a large blister on his leg, plus he had to return home to change his uniform pants, lol. I'm so glad he was a friend!!
"How about starting a catagory/listing for exchanging and selling mar-crest pottery on your web site. I have oodles of the stuff that I would like to see go to someone who loves and collects it. Why not go to the source/you to find it. Thanks".
Ms. Moore, thank you for your great suggestion! When the site first opened, I did sell a few pieces myself. It went very smoothly. Anyone can pay PayPal by just having the sellers email address. I posted pictures of each item and gave detailed descriptions and a clear return policy. I'll need to do some serious thinking about this, as it does sound like a wonderful idea. Thanks again. Stay tuned!
"What is the most prized Mar-Crest peice to find"?
Tough question! Can I narrow it down to 6? The 5 piece blue snack set, 5 piece snack set in brown, rounded handle oval batter pitcher, soup tureen with pink interior, Well 'n Tree style meat platter and the round griddle with a handle. Oh, I almost forgot about the square snack plate.
Nancy asks about a Mar-crest list, as does Russell in Anchorage, AK, who also had this to say:
"Hi, I recently received a ton of the Daisy Dot from my mother, she spent YEARS collecting it with plans to give it to me.She told me that she was pretty sure she had a full set minus the lazy susan and then many other pieces. I am looking for a list of a complete set. So I know what I have and dont have and need to buy/sell/trade for. Do you know where I can find said list"?
The frustration I felt when trying to identify Mar-crest pieces was one of the reasons for starting this web site. Seemed like everywhere I looked online, a particular piece might be called a number of different things. Since there were quite a few pieces manufactured in the daisy and dot pattern, combined with the fact there is so little factual information out there...many pieces have been misidentified. Most, I believe, is unintentional, due to the lack of information or simply finding erronenous information.
That's why I avidly seek close-up pictures of Mar-crest pieces and their original boxes. Where better to get the correct name for a piece than from the box it came in?!
On Mar-crest.com, there are a few different ways to identify your items in question. Probably the fastest way is to quickly scan the Pictures page. No luck there? Try one of the other pages such as Pastels and Colors or the Miscellaneous page. Still no luck? Scroll down the Index page.
I'm doing my best to stay on top of all information submitted to the site, sent to me via email or brought to my attention networking with several other avid Mar-crest collectors. Unfortunately, there is no book specifically about Mar-crest. In the meantime, please visit this site often, as information continues to find its way here. If you ever get stumped, feel free to send me a clear picture of the piece fairly close-up, including a picture of the bottom, and please list its measurements. Good luck!
"Rita, Thanks for this informative site! I am trying to collect some info (not an appraisal) on a carafe I found at auction recently. It's just like the ones shown on the personal collections link of your site. Only difference is: it bears the name "Har-Crest" vs. Mar-Crest. Are these two companies one in the same? Could this piece have been produced under the Hull-Marcrest era...or...is it likly that my piece a reproduction of the Marcrest line of stoneware? Any history you could provide would be greatly appreciated!?"
Thanks, Brett, for your kind words. Your carafe is Mar-crest (Marcrest). The "M" looks like an "H" on many of the pieces, including the carafes. And the "E" looks like it could be an "I". Other interpretations of the spelling I've seen is: Har-crisi, Marcrisi, Harcrist, Marcrist, and (figure this one out) Marquest. Sometimes, the logo is worn, sometimes it looks like the logo didn't "take" as well as it should have. Sometimes, the glaze is a little thick and it blurs the letters. But Mar-crest it is. Hope this answers your question.