Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Homer Laughlin Carnival

I've been looking for a detailed resource for HLC's Carnival line since I began collecting it some months ago. This blog here is my attempt to cobble together information I've gleaned from various sources and have it all in one place. Many apologies for any potential inaccuracies.
Carnival was a 5 piece breakfast set that was premium, or giveaway item, packed one piece at a time in boxes of Mother's Carnival Oats (a Quaker Oat brand). According to my somewhat out-of-date 8th Edition of Bob & Sharon Huxford's The Collector's Encyclopedia of Fiesta, this line was likely produced between the late 30's to sometime after 1952.

Originally I had assumed that all 5 pieces were available in all 9 colors it was produced in. But I was quite mistaken. I owe a great deal of this information to a forum for all things HLC, appropriately named Medium Green.

By Color:

Dark Green (also called Forest, same as the 50's Fiesta color) - all 5 pieces are available and considered common.

Gray (same shade as 50's Fiesta) - all 5 pieces, all common

Turquoise (same as Fiesta) - all 5, all common

Harlequin Yellow (a brighter, more vibrant yellow than Fiesta yellow) - all 5 pieces, all common.

Cobalt (same as Fiesta) - This one is trickier. Reportedly, all 5 pieces exist but only the saucer is considered easy to find. I've seen conflicting reports that plates are both common and scarce.

Green (same as light green Fiesta) - Similar to Cobalt in that all 5 pieces are reported to exist, but here the cup is considered the rarity. I've also seen it said that the fruit bowl is scarce. It was amazing to me to see that the cup was considered hard to find, since it was my very first piece of Carnival. I had very good fortune there!

The last 3 colors here, only certain pieces are known/reported to exist.

Ivory (same as Old Ivory Fiesta) - only a cup & the smaller sized fruit bowl are known, but if you check on, they have had at least 1 of the 6 3/4 plates before. A mystery!

Red (same as radioactive Fiesta red) - only a saucer & a fruit bowl are known to exist, but again has an interestingly mysterious "dinner plate" listed, with a photograph, but no measurements.

Fiesta Yellow (a more autumnal, harvest gold shade than Harlequin yellow) - only a 6 3/4 plate reported, and the larger size cereal/oatmeal bowl.

and a final note: Replacements also has another mystery photo - a "dinner plate" with 9" measurement in a lovely, multi-colored decal. How many of these pieces exist, I can only imagine. I've seen references to other Carnival cups with decals, but these are considered rare.

Also, there is a "rumor" of the existence of a red cup, but no one has ever seen it. Wonder how long this "rumor" has been circulating. Many of these tales seem to go back to pre-internet days!

And, of course, there's always the possibility that other unknown pieces could pop up, but at this point it is considered unlikely. And of course I could be missing all kinds of information just because my collector's book is several years (and editions) out of date, so please let me know if any information here is incorrect. I'd love to hear from fellow collectors!

Another thing I've almost forgotten, Carnival is sometimes confused with a similar line called "Deanna" by Knowles China. Click here for a close-up comparison of the two.

Happy treasure hunting!


  1. :-) I have the light green cake plate, found it in a Goodwill for like $2.99 in very, very good condition. I keep it on my dresser under a medium green fruit bowl (2 old hairlines) and in that a small oven serve bean pot with green flowers (glued together lid). That houses some jewelry, Goodwill too. The fruit bowl from a flea market dealer I purchase from a few times a year, that was $5. I love deals too, even it the dishes are not perfect. :-)

    1. Love a good thrift store find! I have many bruised and battered old Fiesta pieces I consider as more a 'rescue' than a purchase. Especially when it's just too cheap to pass up. My craziest flea market Fiesta find is a medium green disc pitcher for 15 bucks - a rare piece - but here's the catch, the bottom is so chipped up on both sides, hairline crack though the bottom. It's a sad sight, in a way, but I display it on top of my hoosier cabinet, where the damage doesn't show at all. It just looks like I have a perfect 600 dollar Medium Green disc pitcher, lol! Oh well, I'm happy to have it, chips and all :-)

  2. I have several pieces of the Red - I even have a plate. You could get the cup or saucer in the box of Quaker oats. All of the other pieces you saved proofs of purchase to redeem through the mail.

  3. Hello, this Howard from Davenport Iowa. I read your article on collecting carnival. I have been collecting carnival for about two years and you are spot on with your description. Just recently I found two light green cups and one cobalt blue. Thanks for writing the article, although I now realize I may never complete the collection. Still great fun.