John Matarese looks into the craze over Rae Dunn pottery sold at Marshall's, TJ Maxx, and Home Goods
Rae Dunn mug
Remember the Beanie Baby craze of the 1990s? Perhaps you've heard about the tulip bulb frenzy of the 1600s?
There's a new frenzy brewing now at your nearest T.J .Maxx, Marshalls or Home Goods store over a brand of pottery called Rae Dunn.
Shoppers line up at opening time
It's Wednesday at a Home Goods store in an undisclosed location.
"We just come out Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m.," one shopper said.
Every week in this not-to-be-named shopping center, a group of women (and some men) wait for a shipment of Rae Dunn pottery; sometimes they wait up to two hours for the truck to be unloaded.
They didn't want to give their names and asked us not to reveal which store they were in, because it's "their little secret."
But Michael Victor, the husband of an avid collector, explained: "You gotta figure out where the truck is, then you gotta stand around the store waiting."
Victor was among the shoppers this particular morning. He scouts for Rae Dunn pieces for his wife, when she is at work and can't get to the store.
$20 items selling for hundreds
If you are looking for it, you need to know that Rae Dunn is sold exclusively at Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, and Home Goods, often for just $10 or $20 per item.
But then those items, just like Beanie Babies in the late 90's, are showing up on eBay and the selling app Mercari for double or triple the price.
We found a set of three bowls selling for $94. A Halloween serving bowl famously sold for over $300. And a cute birdhouse now has asking prices well into the hundreds.
"You can buy a Tweet Birdhouse in the store for $15," Victor said. "And they sell it online for up to $300 for this birdhouse, and I don't understand it at all!"
He says his wife only collects the pottery and does not resell pieces.
Tracy Alexander owns a kitchen craft shop called Bunches of Bows in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, and says customers are asking her if she sells Rae Dunn.
Answer: No. But she says the brand Mud Pie has a very similar look without the frenzy.
"The dishes and bowls come from a company called Mud Pie," she said. "The look is very very close, and all the pieces are readily available."
"Dunnies" want only the real thing
But "Dunnies," as they are called, want only official Rae Dunn. Dunn is the pottery artist who designs the pieces, which change every few months. That makes the old ones so valuable, just like those old Princess Diana Beanie Babies.
And Victor finds himself reluctantly in the hunt too when he's not Facebooking with the "Husbands of Rae Dunn Addicts Support Group." Oh yes, it's a real group, with over 2,000 members just like him.
As always, don't waste your money.
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