Description: “A Nod to Abe,” a three-piece nodder set, was designed by sculptress Betty Harrington (1919-1990) the creator of many shakers and figurines for Ceramic Arts Studio.
- The base is a bust of Lincoln, complete with stove pipe hat, and the children’s bodies attached at Lincoln’s shoulders.
- The children’s heads are nodder shakers.
- The little girl, dressed in pink with a yellow flower, has 2 holes.
- The little boy, in a blue shirt and blue coveralls, has 3 holes.
Shaker Manufacturer: Regal China
Number Manufactured: 400
Convention Theme: ShakerFest ‘91
Convention Location: Schaumburg, IL
Hosts: Midwest Shaker Chapter
Original Price: $37
From “The First Ten Years, a History of the First Ten Commemoratives,” by Steve Justin in the February, 1997 Club Newsletter:
This set is a bust of Abraham Lincoln with two black children nodders, one in each of the shoulders. Abe has the traditional black stove pipe hat. The girl 3H has a pink dress and the boy 2H has a blue shirt and black bib overalls. The bottom is marked “Regal China USA.”
Regal China, based in Antioch, IL was contacted to make the sets for two reasons. First, they had made the Van Tel Huggies, and second, rumor had it that they might be going out of business. This could be the last chance to have a product made by them.
The set was designed by Betty Harrington of CAS. The committee felt that the first sample was too large, so it was resculpted to be smaller.
A surprise arose near the end of production. After going through many inspection checks, it was found that the pivot points for the nodders was incorrectly designed, and would not nod properly. The production was too far into the process, so the sets were issued with flat pivots. Also, the sculptor had left Regal China and was unable to redo the mold. The set has been in our cabinet for 5 years, and we never did check that out. Yes, they don’t nod as they should.
A report surfaced recently, that while cleaning the set, some of paint flaked off.
400 sets were ordered, to be delivered in two separate orders of 200 each. When the committee asked for the second order, Regal China was taken aback. They had destroyed all of the molds, except the Master mold. Regal China made additional molds, however, it took a bit longer to fill the order as each mold was good for only 25 sets.
Of the 400 sets made, only the #1 set was numbered. The logistics of numbering and distribution had now become too much of a hassle.
The back, carries the inscription on 3 lines, “6th S & P CONVENTION 1991 CHICAGO ILLINOIS Designed by: B H.” Interestingly, the base has two felt pads attached so that it would not scratch the area where displayed.
The #1 set had the colors of the children’s clothes reversed, and was signed by the designer. It sold at the 1991 convention auction for $1100. The last non-privately owned set sold at the 1996 convention auction for $200.00. Pre-convention cost, if picked up, was $35.00. All known remaining sets are in private collections.