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WHAT IS A VINTAGE VIOLET? ~ The official age is 25 years and older. Many vintage violets are extremely hard, if not impossible to find.

A violet dated or earlier is Vintage.

Where do I find Vintage Violets? You may find them for sale online or from commercial violet sellers, but your favorite vintage violet may be as near as your neighbor, your family, or local club.My own African Violet

NOW YOU CAN SHOW YOUR CLASSICS! ~ There is a new "Classic" class that is being adopted by some violet clubs. Now you can show your 15 to 24 year old "Classic" violets.

A violet dated between and is a Classic.

WHAT DATE ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT AND HOW DO I FIND IT? ~ Hybridizers spend years crossing violets, growing out the seeds, looking for unique and beautiful results, from which they will choose the most promising plants. These they will grow out at least three generations to make sure the plant remains true. Let's say the hybridizer has chosen several plants from the dozens grown from a cross, and decides to register two of them. Those two will then receive registration numbers and dates. The hybridizer may also list the unregistered plants in a catalog for sale or in the Master List (see below). In that case, the first date an unregistered violet appeared would be the date to use.

If your violet is registered with the AVSA, you can find the registration date in the African Violet Master List or in the First Class 2 computer program. Search for your violet by its full name (such as Granger's Carnival, because Carnival is a different plant by a different hybridizer. Unless of course your plant is actually Carnival). If your violet is listed you will now have the registration number, date and description.

If your violet isn't registered you might still find it listed (name and description only) or you might need to look in older Master Lists. It is a good idea to find some fellow violet enthusiasts or club members to help you look. They may already have Master Lists or the First Class 2 program to refer to. First Class 2 also has pictures of many violets.

For a list of clubs in your state, please visit http://www.avsa.org/LocalClubs.asp.

It is of utmost importance that the full original name is kept with the violet. The full name is important because if your violet is named Optimara Little Ruby but you only wrote Ruby on the pot, that is confusing because Ruby is a different violet. There are literally thousands of African Violets. Contrary to what you may have recently heard, it is virtually impossible to identify a violet that has lost its name.

WHAT'S SO IMPORTANT ABOUT THE NAME? ~ The name of the violet preserves its identity. The name provides a way to reference the hybridizer and any other information, including a registration number and date. A vintage violet with this information might be very valuable. Without it, it is a "no-name" or NOID (no ID). Many "no-name" violets are lovingly grown by their owners. That is not to say they are any less beautiful without their names. Be sure to read Is it OK to ID my Violets?

WHO ARE FORREST & ALICE RICHTER? ~ The Richter's had a greenhouse in northwest Indiana (see an ad from 1972). I bought violets from them in the late 1970's or early 1980's.

Hybridizing violets was their life work. Their registered violets range in date from 1954 to 1980. The June 1954 issue of the AVSA magazine lists their first introductions: El Capitan, Calumet Queen, Curly Top, Tokay, Pink Lad, and Calumet Rose. At the time they were located at 607 Hoffman Street, Hammond.

I purchased Kaper and Topps from their greenhouse after they moved to Highland. They are named but not registered. Local African Violet enthusiasts believe the greenhouse was still in operation as late as 1983, which would be 10 years after the Richter's officially ended their mail order business. The Richter's announced the retirement of the mail-order business in July 1973, but kept the greenhouse open for local business until the greenhouse was damaged by a spring storm.

Thanks to a friend who took the time to go through her old AVSA magazines, I now have a list of Richter violets from 1953 to 1973! Take a look to see if any names sound familiar.

Also see the list of Richter's registered varieties

VINTAGE VIOLETS ~ RICHTER

Note ~ I am currently only growing my original two, Kaper and Topps, and my own hybrid. All the others have gone to loving homes.

Bambino (Richter) Light blue double. Dark plain shiny. AVML number 3* Semiminiature (User Database) *unregistered violets from 1966 to 1976.   Bambino
Bon-bon  Bon-bon (843) 12/17/1956 (F. Richter) Double pink. Girl foliage. Semi-miniature.
Kaper (F. Richter) Semidouble-double pink with ruffled white edge. Medium green, wavy. Small standard. (purchased from Richter's Greenhouse, late 1970's)   Kaper
Richter's Charm Song   Richter's Charm Song (1137) 08/19/1959 (A. Richter) Double light blue. Ovate. Standard

I was gifted starts of this plant that was purchased at the Indianapolis State Fair in 1970.
Richter's Green Dawn (1138) 08/23/1959 (A. Richter) Double pink/green edge. Ruffled. Standard    Richter's Green Dawn
Richter's Pearly Shells   Richter's Pearly Shells (1607) 03/30/1966 (F. Richter) Double medium pink. Ovate, quilted. Large
Sherbert (2534) 03/27/1974 (M. Steele/F. Richter) Double lavender two-tone/variable white. Light green, plain. Standard

Another gift from a violet collector.
  Sherbert
Softique   Softique (1957) 07/09/1969 (A. Richter) Double pale pink. Ovate, quilted, fluted. Standard
NOTE--It has been brought to my attention that Softique is supposed to have LIGHT green, slightly wavy leaves that tend to easily bleach, which means the source of my plant is mislabeled or has sported.
Tipt (F. Richter) Single large lavender/purple tips. Standard   Tipt
Topps   Topps (F. Richter) Single/semidouble medium-blue. Dark, quilted, red reverse. Standard. (purchased from Richter's Greenhouse, late 1970's)

OTHER VINTAGE

Amethyst (12) 11/26/1957 (Armacost & Royston) Single red-orchid. Heart-shaped, quilted, glossy. Standard

Note--I sent this plant to a new home this spring, I no longer grow it.
Happy Harold (2169) 02/01/1971 (Rienhardt) Single red-wine. Variegated, plain. Standard

This one was sent to a new home as well, to make room for other plants.
Neptune "Imposter". This plant is often sold or shared under the name Neptune.

Woodland Sprite (6206) 04/16/1986 (A. Jantzen/Unknown) Single light blue/darker center. Medium green, quilted, serrated. Large
Woodland Sprite
   
Neptune My new plant! The true Neptune

Neptune
(AVS48) (Armacost & Royston) Single medium blue-violet. Ovate, cupped, quilted. Large.

Note that Neptune has CUPPED leaves.
       

RECENTLY FOUND ~ VIOLET HYBRIDIZED BY ALICE RICHTER:

Renee (946) 11/16/1957 (A. Richter) Double medium blue. Plain girl foliage. Standard - Someone is growing this one. A baby plant was to be sent but it died before the person sent it.

Richter Violets - Registered Varieties List

My own African Violet

 

My own hybrid, a cross between Kaper and a no-name pink. 1980. The flowers are huge but the peduncles (flower stems) are way too long, so I have not registered it.

 
   
 

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