Near the turn of the century, Elbert Hubbard established the Roycroft Printing Shop in East Aurora, New York. Named in honor of two 17th century printer-bookbinders, the print shop was just the beginning of a community called Roycroft, which came to be known worldwide. Hubbard became a popular personality of the early 1900’s, known for his talents in a variety of areas from writing and lecturing to manufacturing. The Roycroft community became a meeting place for people of various capabilities and included shops for the production of furniture, copper, leather items, and a multitude of other wares which were marked with the Roycroft symbol, an “R” within a circle below a stylized cross. Hubbard lost his wife on the Lusitania in 1915; production in the community continued until the Depression.
- Copper items are evaluated to a large extent by the condition of the original patina that remains. Knowing this, when you buy a possible Roycroft piece do NOT clean and scrub the patina off thinking that you are going to increase it is value by having a shiny clean item.
- That same rule goes with furniture, if you are in the market for a piece of Roycroft furniture do not have the piece stripped of it is varnish or have it painted to make it bright and new because you will devalue the piece significantly.
- Small items such as inkwells, chambersticks, candlesticks and bookends need to be treated with the same respect as the above mentioned items. With extra attention to the detail of these items make sure that they are not having cracks and chips that are apparent in the piece. These too will devalue the overall price of the piece.
When trying to collect these Roycroft design styles it is highly important that condition is your top priority on your personal agenda. Since a crack or a chip on a fine piece of Roycroft can and will affect the value of the piece. Keep in mind that the rarity of the pattern and design can promote restoration issues that also will affect the value of the piece that you are trying to buy. Remember this, buyer beware when you are in the market for buying Roycroft furniture and designs conditional issues should be a factor in your final decision before you make a high priced purchase.