Q: I have a very heavy tile with a bird on it that came from my husband's grandparents' home. It is marked on the back with two R's under a circle of lines, the letters "XXVI," and the date 1794. Before my kids put it in a garage after my demise, I'd like to know a little about it and if it has any value other than sentimental.
A: You have a Rookwood Pottery tea tile. The number"1794" is the shape number, not the date. The mark is a reverse "R" connected to the letter "P." The flames above the letters were used as a date mark. One flame was added each year from 1887 to 1900, making 14 flames. After 1900, Roman numerals (letters) below the mark tell the last two digits of the year of manufacture. Your tea tile was made in 1926. Rookwood Pottery was founded in Cincinnati by Maria Longworth Nichols in 1880. The bird pictured on your tile is a rook. Rookwood Pottery moved to Starkville, Mississippi, in 1960 and closed in 1967. All of Rookwood's assets have been sold several times. New Rookwood pottery and tiles are being made. Value of your tile: about $300.