Q: I have a five-piece place setting of children's dishes picturing Roy Rogers and his horse, Trigger. It includes a dinner plate, dessert plate, cereal bowl, fruit bowl, and mug. The set was purchased new about 1947. The mark on the bottom of each piece is a lariat in a circle with the words "Oven Proof" on the top, "Rodeo by Universal" in the middle and "Union Made U.S.A." on the bottom. Tell me more about the dishes.
A: Roy Rogers (1911-1998) starred in popular Western movies and TV series from the late 1930s into the 1960s. He and his wife, Dale Evans (1912-2001), built a merchandising empire that included everything from lunch boxes and dishes to a chain of restaurants. Universal Potteries was in business in Cambridge, Ohio, from 1934 to 1976 and made many different patterns of semi-porcelain dinnerware. The word "Rodeo" in the mark refers to the dish shape, not to the Roy Rogers decal design. A complete Roy Rogers place setting sells today for over $100 if the dishes are in excellent condition.