Miscellaneous Articles

Sept. 7, 2003

Two months ago, a project I'd had great faith in came to an end. Roger Jensen had agreed to change his business methods including changing the way he marked his pottery. This was accomplished in order to be less confusing to buyers of his products and to keep folks from believing they'd bought a genuine piece of McCoy pottery. Roger is a talented man and could succeed making original pottery under his own name.

The lady I worked with had inside knowledge of his operations and was totally convinced he was making the changes I reported in my previous article. His previous buyers were not pleased that they could no longer buy the items marked McCoy and the pressure was great for him to return to his old business methods. And he did.

I felt that I was being fair in telling folks that he'd changed his methods of operation and I believed at that time that he would continue. As well as the lady who worked hard with him to establish a web business under his name and who encouraged him to be straight with the public, and me, who publicly wrote of his change, he let us both down.

More importantly, he let the collectors down. I have no idea if he is still making items marked Jensen-McCoy but he has reverted to using the McCoy name on new items. Educate yourself on the McCoy items you're interested in and beware, once again, of sellers using hidden feedback and private auctions who are selling these fakes.

~ Chiquita Prestwood

June 2 , 2003

Fakes, Look-A-Likes and Reproductions are terms that have frustrated McCoy collectors for several years. Several people, including Roger Jensen, have been associated with the making of these items. Sometimes these are re-makes of McCoy cookie jars with color variations, sometimes they're copies of other manufacturers items and are marked with the McCoy logo. Often they're made with crazing to resemble the old, original product.

This has been very confusing and frustrating to those of us who truly love our McCoy. It's also frustrating to newer and uneducated collectors who are just learning about McCoy and think they've found a treasure when they come across a McCoy Red Riding Hood Cookie jar and are told it's not genuine. I've heard all the arguments from them trying to convince me as well as themselves that it has to be genuine. It has the Old McCoy mark, It has crazing, the dealer said it's McCoy. Etc.

For a while, one fake McCoy maker said he would mark his jars so they'd be noticed as repros. He marked them with magic marker and the mark would easily rub off. This was not a solution. Similarly, Roger Jensen marked some of his items with a two digit number indicating the year they were made-along with the McCoy mark. This still was confusing to newer collectors and not a satisfactory solution.

So the repros, fakes and look-a-likes have flourished in the open market place and on eBay. The Sellers on eBay who have sold these items have added frustration to our situation with their hidden feedback and private auctions. We've all sat back and watched innocent people buying these items believing they were getting a genuine or a rare McCoy item.

Because of the private auctions we didn't have access to the buyers e-mail addresses to warn them. Thousands of dollars have been spent on these items and we became more frustrated. What could we do? The dealers didn't care. The law didn't care. Ebay didn't care. The manufacturers didn't care. Meanwhile more and more of these ill-marked items have appeared. Recently I got an e-mail from someone asking if I'd share what I KNEW for a fact about Roger Jensen and his pottery. Oh man, would I!

Briefly I gathered my thoughts and then replied to the mail with facts, including my frustrations Ms. Source (Out of respect for her I will not use her name) revealed that she knew Jensen, knew where he was and what he was up to. She did NOT like the idea that he was making the these items in her hometown, that he was supplying the dealers who sold the wares on eBay and in malls. She did NOT like the controversy over his products and the McCoy name. She was uncomfortable that the dealers on eBay were selling these wares as originals and taking money from innocent buyers.

I'd like to mention here that Ms. Source is NOT a McCoy or Pottery collector and really has no knowledge of McCoy. She has a collection of her own and shuttered to think it could be reproduced and what it would do to the value and collectibility. After checking out the trademark and legalities with an attorney, she discovered what Jensen is doing is not Illegal. There is no way to stop Roger from making McCoy, Hull or Shawnee designs. They are not copyright protected and anyone, literally anyone can produce them.

Ok, We don't like that but it's the truth! It's not what we want but some things are just totally out of our control. Without having been trademarked the items can be copied. So, what's the next best thing? Beyond putting a stop to the manufacture of these copies and fakes, what would I do if I could? One of my main complaints has been that the innocent collector, seeing an item marked McCoy did not know the difference in the genuine items and the fakes.

So if I could change one thing it would be that the items be clearly marked so Everyone would know in no uncertain terms that it was not an Original or Genuine McCoy item. Ms. Source has been in a position to research the legalities and has talked with me about my (and the collectors) concerns with the fakes and look-a-likes. She combined that information with her own concerns for her town and the townspeople and the people who were being taken by fake McCoy pottery marked as McCoy. Ms. Source wrote " Roger loves pottery. He loves the old designs and he wants to make pottery and make a living. He's been totally deluding himself by believing that "he isn't responsible for Faye"

She is or was one of the most prolific sellers of the fakes on eBay. "You know and I know that isn't true. By ever having made a product at any time that could be used to fool and deceive people he has hurt honest collectors." Mrs. Source compiled her information and had a long talk with Mr. Jensen explaining her research and the passionate McCoy collectors. She took my suggestion into the conversation and told him he MUST clearly mark future items with a new mark, not just McCoy and sell them for what they are, not representing them as Old McCoy.

She insisted he change the name of his company and his marking of the pottery making it impossible for anyone to misrepresent his work again. She has assured me that he agreed with everything she said and has made a commitment to completely change his business model There will no more Faye selling his items, no more distributors to malls, no more fakes that are not properly marked.

From the point of view of McCoy Collectors Everywhere, this not the perfect solution but does appear to be the best I could ask for. As of now, Mr. Jensen is in the open about his pottery. Already his items are appearing on eBay and catching notice. Already Faye and the other sellers are running out of the fakes they've been selling. Of course, Roger Jensen is only one of the makers of this pottery.

Other items still exist but this is one big step for us. You'll still find the repros, fakes and look-a-likes (marked McCoy (on eBay but they will not be products by Roger Jensen. I appreciate the contact from and with Ms. Source. I appreciate her interest in her community and in doing "What's Right" for all of us. I also appreciate Mr. Jensen making these changes. I believe we've finally made a bit of progress with this subject thanks to Mr. Jensen.

Hopefully others will follow suite and mark their items appropriately. His new name is "Jensen McCoy, USA" and his mark will be shown with this article. As always I continue to believe education is the best weapon against the repros, fakes and look-a-likes. Find the books that you think best fit your needs and study the pages. If something seems too good to be true, it PROBABLY is.

~ Chiquita Prestwood