Four and Three Leaf Clovers (#3 – circa 1950-53)
Gold Prospector and Moonshine Jug (#12 – circa 1950-51)
White Cats (#18; also rare black version found – circa 1946-48)
Birds and Blossom (#44; also found with purple flower – circa 1950)
Cat and Canary (#33 – circa 1946-1950)
Frogs on Lily Pad (#58 – circa 1948)
Ten Pin and Bowling Ball (#48 – circa 1948-53)
Couple of Good Eggs
Couple of Bad Eggs
The Story of Vallona Starr Ceramics
In the early 1930s, Everett Starr Frost, Leona Frost, and Valeria Dopyera de Marsa opened a small gift shop called Triangle Studios which sold primarily local California ceramic wares. The store was located in the front of Valeria’s home in Los Angeles.
The triple partnership was formed while Everett Frost was employed at Security First National Bank in Los Angeles. The bank also hired Valeria, who was an artist, to paint window displays. Everett’s wife Leona was also an artist and eventually as the Triangle Studios store succeeded, they decided to start making their own ceramic ware. The three partners combined parts of their names – Val from Valeria, Lona from Leona, and Starr from Evertt – to form the name they used for their ceramics – Vallona Starr.
In 1946 Triangle Studios and Vallona Starr expanded and moved into a factory in an industrial area of El Monte, California. Two homes were added behind the factory; one for Everett and Leona and one for Valeria.
Vallona Starr ceramics followed a similar path of most USA pottery ware producers during this era. Production was rampant during World War II, but crashed after the war when cheap Japanese imports flooded the American market. The company closed its doors in 1953.
In her book about Vallona Starr Ceramics, Bernice Stamper states that because some Vallona Starr items have appeared with the name “Gilner” on the bottom, she believes that some of the molds were likely sold to Gilner pottery when the company dissolved.
Glum and Glee Clowns (#24 – circa 1950)
Panda Bears (#28 – circa 1948-50)
Pear and Apple (#6 – circa 1946-51)
Chicks (#46 – circa 1946-48)
Mama and Baby Bear
Desert Rocks with Lizard and Cactus
Squash (#4 – circa 1946)
Vallona Starr Pottery
Vallona Starr Ceramics primarily made novelty salt and pepper shakers, sugar and creamers, vases, and figurines. Many of these items followed different pottery line themes including Woodland Line, Winkie Line, and Flower fairies just to name a few.
All Vallona Starr wares / items have a distinct glaze which was designed by the son of Everett and Leona Frost, Carlyle Frost who was a chemist. Collectors of Vallona Starr salt & pepper shakers are very familiar with this bright, smooth, shiny, and hard glaze the helps characterize each piece. Interestingly the glaze resists crazing which is common on other California potteries such as Poinsettia Studio.
The distinct design and decorating comes from Valeria’s training. Valeria was trained by multiple master painters including Margaret Abbot and Heinrich Otto Punsch. The latter was a German master painter from Dresden Studios.
Kitten with Milk Bottle (#31 – circa 1948))
Man in Doghouse and Wife with Rolling Pin
Gnome with Toad Stool (#30 – circa 1948))
Couple of Nuts
Turnip and Lettuce
Two Peas in a Pod
Salt of the Earth
Some of the larger Vallona Starr salt and pepper shakers are impressed on the bottom “Vallona Starr” with or without an accompanying mold number and the word “California”.
The snails have been found stamped “By Vallona Starr Los Angeles”.
A rare blue star shaped sticker (see on the lady bugs) with the words “By Vallona Starr Los Angeles” can also rarely be found.
Some Vallona Starr salt and pepper shakers are not marked, likely because they were just too small. Some of the harder to find early Vallona Starr pieces are also not marked because the company had yet to start marking their pieces. Identification of these shakers relies primarily on studying reference books, but certain clues can be utilized.
One soft clue is the nice glaze already mentioned above. But another more reliable clue is the fill holes on the bottom of Vallona Starr shakers. The fill holes are nearly perfectly circular and uniform in size with just the tip of the average pinky finger fitting in. Additionally the fill holes’ edges are painted and glazed along with the surrounding underside of the shakers.
Most Vallona Starr salt and pepper shakers have a common three and two pour hole pattern of the period.
Knowing the various ceramic lines (i.e. Woodland Line) and their corresponding matching kitchen wares / items (i.e. sugars and creamers) helps confirm a shaker as Vallona Starr as well, because these larger items are frequently marked Vallona Starr.
Cosmos Design (#14; available in three colors – circa 1946-48)
Tulip Design (#8 – circa 1946-50)
Small 4.5” Version (#5 – circa 1946-53)
Large 5.5” Version (#49 – circa 1948-53)
Pic Up and Pep Up (#266)
Shadow Grey Squirrels (#85)
Brown Squirrels (#85)
Winkie Line – Drip and Drop (#25 – circa 1950-53)
The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg (Version 1) (#23 – circa 1950-53)
The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg (Version 2) (#10 – circa 1946-53)
Little Miss Muffet (also found in blue or green)
Gingham Dog and Calico Cat
Gingham Dog and Calico Cat
Tortoise and Hare (Version 1) (#32 – circa 1950-53)
Tortoise and Hare (Version 2) (#32 – circa 1950-53)
Sets That Can Be Found in Various Colors
Indian and Tepee
Bird on House (#1 – circa 1948)
Version 1 (#2; available in three colors – circa 1948-50)
Blue (not in shaker database)
Version 2 (#13)
(#4a – 1948-51)
(#4a – 1948-51)
Evergreen Tree (#29 – circa 1948-53)
Christmas Tree (#9 – circa 1948-53)
White with Gold Decorations (not in database)
Aladdin and His Magic Lamp (#11 – circa 1950-51)
Frog with Toad Stool (#19 – circa 1946-1951)
Birds in Nest (#27 – circa 1948-53)
Chinese Nurse with Child (#43 – circa 1950)
(#43 – amber with jade)
(#43a – red)
Owls (#60 – circa 1948-50)
Snow Birds (#55 – circa 1950-53)
Indian Woman Grinding Corn
Floral Design (#41 – circa 1946-48)
World War II Block Wardens
Vallona Starr Ceramics by Bernice Stamper; Schiffer Publishing; 1995.