QUESTION: I am presently cleaning out my house, anticipating putting it on the market soon. I have some old pottery items I would like to sell and am particularly interested in any information you can provide about Weller pottery, especially a cylindrical vase, 7¾ inches high and 3½ inches wide, with an impressed “WELLER EOCEAN” mark on its bottom. The vase’s pale-to-dark-green background is covered with purple and pink flowers. Is it valuable? — F. O., Egg Harbor Twp.
Answer: Your vase was produced by Weller Pottery, founded in Fultonham, Ohio, in 1872 by Samuel A. Weller (1851-1925). A pioneer maker of utilitarian and decorative art pottery, Weller moved his factory to Zanesville, Ohio, in 1882. By 1895, more than 500 Weller employees were designing, making and selling large numbers of popular Weller products.
Weller’s small Eocean line, introduced during the company’s early period, features art pottery items, especially vases, decorated with slip painting under a high gloss glaze. Pale background colors were blended in with an atomizer.
Eocean continued to be popular for many years until Weller closed in 1948.
Folks who collect Weller Eocean pottery search for pieces without chips, cracks, repairs or decoration damage. During the last two years, some Eocean vases in very good to excellent condition sold for $120 to $225 each.
Question: I would appreciate anything you can tell me about a 14-inch-high cloth “Little Lulu” doll given to my husband’s grandmother during the 1940s. The doll’s hangtag identifies its maker as the Averill Manufacturing Co. in New York. The smiling little girl has black yarn hair, a swivel head, painted cloth face and wears a bright red dress with white rickrack trim. She is in very good condition. — P. H., Ocean View
Answer: Little Lulu was a child comic strip character, the invention of Philadelphia cartoonist Marjorie Hendersen Buell (1904-93) who signed her work “Marge.”
The artist sold her first illustration at age 16 to the Philadelphia Public Ledger and soon was creating cartoons for Colliers, Life and Ladies Home Journal magazines.
She drew her Little Lulu character for the Saturday Evening Post from 1935 to 1945 when Lulu reigned as a comic strip favorite. By 1950, the Lulu strip was featured in the Chicago Tribune and syndicated here and abroad.
During the 1940s, Buell also drew cartoons for a Paramount Pictures series of animated shorts and created widely merchandised comic books, greeting cards, books and dolls.
Your Little Lulu was produced in the 1940s by Averill Manufacturing Co., a New York doll and novelties business founded by husband and wife doll designers, James P. and Georgene Hopf Averill (1876-1944). Her trade name, Madam Hendren, appeared on cloth Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls and other characters.
Marge Buell sold her Little Lulu rights to the Western Publishing Co. in 1972.
Dolls like your Averill Little Lulu, in good to very good condition, sold for $90 to $150 last year and this year.
Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Living section, The Press of Atlantic City, 1000 W. Washington Ave., Pleasantville, NJ 08232. Email: treasuresbyalyce81 @hotmail.com. Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.