A honey of a collection

The buzz around Butte, Montana is that Donna Delray has a honey of a collection. Donna is the proud owner of a beautiful assortment of nearly 200 honey pots!

A native of nearby Anaconda, Donna was first stung by the collecting bug more than twenty years ago when she attended a neighborhood church bazaar. She purchased a honey pot set for twenty-five cents. According to Donna the search took off from there.

The stinger in collecting honey pots is trying to find all four pieces intact: the pot, lid, spoon and under plate. As an advanced collector, Donna passes on pieces that have cracks, chips or crazing. Through the years, Donna has developed a network of family and friends who help her add to her collection. Her most recent prize is a Noritake pink luster pot, which her aunt discovered on a trip to Baltimore. Twenty years ago Donna’s mother-in-law gave her a honey pot set with all four pieces in perfect condition that she found in Delaware. Those two pots from beloved family members are Donna’s favorite pieces.

According to Betty "Bee" Ramsey, President of Honey Pots International, bees, beekeepers and honey have been documented since ancient times. "One of the more interesting discoveries made by archeologists in the tombs of Egyptian kings was containers of honey. The honey was still edible," says Betty.

While the most popular form of honey pot is the skep-shaped pottery, honey pots can be found in numerous shapes and sizes. Donna’s colorful collection features a multitude of designs and patterns from many different countries. The United States, France, Germany, England, Holland, Spain, Scotland, Norway, Japan and Ireland are all represented in Donna’s collection.

Although the prices for rare pots can be as high as $1,000, many vintage pots can be found at flea markets or antique malls. The most expensive pots have back stamps by potteries such as Irish Belleek, Limoges, English Moorcroft, Spode, Wedgwood, Royal Winton and Noritake. Several leading companies represent the United States, including Lenox, Cambridge, Fostoria, Westmoreland and Imperial Glass.

For honey pot fans who are just getting started, Donna recommends purchasing contemporary sets. These range in price from $10 to $30. Some are reproductions of vintage pieces, while others are original works of art.

Donna looks forward to sharing her collection with future generations. What a sweet idea!

Mary Dessoie founded the Butter Pat Patter Association for collectors of butter pats. Butter pats are miniature plates that were introduced during the mid-1800s for individual servings of butter. A subscription to The Patter newsletter costs $22 and includes a mint-condition Royal Doulton butter pat and 10 issues of The Patter. Sample copies of The Patter are available by sending $4 and a LSSAE (70 cents) to Mary Dessoie, 7950 E. Keats Avenue, No. 178, Mesa, AZ  85209-5025.    For those persons who would like to start their subscriptions immediately and receive their Royal Doulton pat by return mail, please send your check or money order, in the amount of $22, payable to Mary Dessoie.