Rare and Unique Frank Potteries and Frankoma Vases


Pictured here are a Frankoma #289 vase circa 1934-38 approximately 4″ tall in an unknown dark blue glaze, and a Frank Potteries #290 vase circa 1933-34 approximately 5.5″ tall in what has been called Early Blue glaze. (Mold numbers for reference only in Gary Schaum’s Collectors Guide to Frankoma Pottery book.)









Frankoma #289 Vase










Frank Potteries #290 Vase

I first learned of the existence of these vases while doing some online research on Frank Potteries pieces after purchasing a Frank Potteries creamer on eBay (pictured at bottom). During my searches, I came across a forum where someone was discussing finding these vases at a sale held by a former neighbor of Joe Taylor and his famous Bruce Goff house. The posts discussed the vases and what was on the bottom.

It was suggested to the owner of the vases that she take them to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma and to the Frank sisters, Donna and Joniece. At this point, I tried to message the owner on Facebook but the message probably went to her “other” folder since we weren’t friends and she probably never saw it. I figured that another collector probably bought them from her as I could not locate the forum discussion anymore.

A few months later, the owner posted about them on a Frankoma Facebook page. I sent a friend request and she accepted. We discussed the vases, her visit with the curator at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, and her visit with Donna and Joniece Frank. Turns out the owner of the vases knew the Frank family from working for the veterinarian they took their pets to years ago. No fault could be found in the authenticity of the vases and the markings on the bottoms. The Frank sisters provided signed letters regarding the possible history of these vases. A deal was struck and I purchased both vases.

The #290 vase has written on the bottom “Original first test piece of the Frank Potteries” believed to be in Joe Taylor’s handwriting. The writing is under some glaze remnants.  According to the seller of the vases, the Frank sisters recognized the hand writing as Joe Taylor’s. Now whether or not the writing means it was the first test piece of the newly created Frank Potteries business or the first test piece of that vase is unknown. I like to go by the actual wording present, :). Later test piece labeling was inscribed into the clay, so at this early point in the life of the business, I’m guessing a standard way of marking test pieces was not yet in place.










Bottom, Frank Potteries #290 Vase

The #289 vase has the famous Pot & Puma Cat Mark on the bottom along with “JOE TAYLOR” handwritten on it. I have been told that Joe Taylor’s wife would write either “JOE TAYLOR” or just “TAYLOR” on most pieces in their house. The name of the dark blue glaze is unknown to me. The Taylors were known to give pieces as gifts and it’s believed that’s what happened with these. I have had a Frankoma fan and collector confirm that the pieces are from the Taylor home and visually saw them there back when Joe was still alive and living there.










Two Views, Bottoms, Frankoma #289 Vase

I have no current plans to sell the vases. I would trade for a Frankoma T6 Club Trade Winds Tulsa tiki god bowl like the one pictured here. If they ever do go to a new home, I hope they stay together.








Frankoma T6 Club Trade Winds Tulsa Tiki God Bowl










Molter’s Frank Potteries Ebay Piece










Bottom, Molter’s Frank Potteries Ebay Piece

Below: Molter’s Tiki Collection, 8/2015

Molter's Tiki Collection 8/15

About James Molter, Jr.

James Molter, Jr., can’t recall any of his family members having Frankoma pieces as he was growing up. “I was probably first introduced to Frankoma Pottery in the mid 1990's at thrift stores. Since then I have always admired the glazes of the various plates, cups, and planters I have seen.”

“In 2014, I bought some non--Frankoma tiki mugs at a Goodwill store, thus beginning my passion for tiki mugs. When I collect something, I tend to want one of everything; I soon found out how impossible that would be. There are so many different tiki mugs out there, from vintage to modern.”

“I came across a Canadian antique store’s website that had a Frankoma War God tiki mug for sale. I thought it was so awesome, so I bought it. I started to research Frankoma tiki and found out about the line of tiki items they made for Club Trade Winds, Cultured Pearl and Frankoma customers. I decided to focus my collection on Frankoma tiki.”

“I soon found out that the more desirable pieces were few and far between and, to keep myself in the hunt, I started buying and selling other pieces of Frankoma. This proved enjoyable, educational, and was great networking in my hunt for the elusive Frankoma tiki.”

James now has a fantastic Frankoma tiki collection, along with a few other pieces he holds onto for possible trades, and others still that he plans to keep.


  1. Kenneth Craven says

    Great information. It is sometimes so hard to find information on Frankoma pieces that don’t appear to be in the books. I have quite a few of the Frankx2 pieces and can not find any listing of how many were produced or what is current secondary market. It does keep us busy trying to find out information and I hope I can get to the meeting in September and the Frank girls will be able to answer some questions.

  2. Frankoma Collectors says

    Great comment! Joniece and Donna Frank are a huge resource of information on Frankoma and Frankx2, their studio line. These pieces have been very popular since they began production in 1998. Like you, I hope to see them at the FCA Show & Sale on Sept. 25 & 26.

  3. Kenneth Craven says

    I will not be able to be in there in September as I had hoped. I would love to email the Frank girls about Frankx2 if possible. I have many of their pieces including all the Puter Pals, the Mayan Aztec Clock, Ricky, Dicky and Garth the turtles, Its over, The Sea Siren, Jonah and the whale, The chase, Seven of their Bilikens and Xmas cards. They are so well done and would enjoy knowing how many were produced and what years. Hope you all have a great time and wish I could be there with all of you

  4. Frankoma Collectors says

    Thanks for your comment! Sorry you can’t make it to FCA in Sapulpa Sept. 25 & 26; I was looking forward to meeting you. Probably the best way to reach Joniece Frank is via Facebook; she is a member of the large group, Frankoma Pottery Fans. Ken

  5. Kandy McClendon Steeples says

    Kenneth Craven, Joniece is having computer problems and has not been on facebook for awhile. I will visit with her about your questions and try to have some updated info soon.
    Hopefully you’ll be able to make the FCA reunion next time.
    You can send me an e-mail at ksteeples1@gmail.com
    I see the girls several times a week.

  6. Kenneth Craven says

    Thank you for your reply. I am so sorry about Joniece, we have lost a great artist and a wonderful person. I am so sorry I did not get to meet her. I hope someone will save her papers and write a book about this great lady. Ken Craven

  7. Is there anybody here? I have come across what I’m gathering is a rare early synar piece of ceramics In nice shape. I don’t know how to price it or where to sell. I see you deal with Frankoma but this is as close to a synar site I can find. I’ll check back or you could email my public box kroy91711@yahoo.com
    The piece I have is a beautiful golden color platter or bowl hard to describe, it has a 2-3mm chip that’s hard to even see. It is signed as such: synar original 521-A and on the opposite side of the bottom are the initials N.C. I’m not a ceramics expert by any means but I’m comfortable enough with it to know when I see and touch a well made piece and this one caught my eye here in Los Angeles area. Any help to find some info or pricing would be helpful. I live in Claremont Ca and ceramics are very popular here.
    I can send a pic if you could tell me how.

  8. Thanks for your comment. I have messaged you privately. Ken

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