SPARKS, MD. — Solid prices for a good assortment of redware and stoneware were posted at the most recent auction at Crocker Farm. Taking place on November 2, the sale featured items ranging from a rare multicolored glazed Moravian redware fish-form bottle to early Manhattan examples of stoneware. Included in the mix was a good selection of blue decorated crocks.
The auction got off to a strong start with the Moravian fish-shaped bottle with copper and manganese glaze, which was featured as the opening lot of the auction. Termed by the auction house as “one of the finest examples of this highly prized Southern form to surface in several years,” the bottle had been discovered recently by a New England couple. Attributed to Rudolph Crist, Salem, N.C., the bottle was in an unusual large size, measuring more than 9 inches. The multicolored glaze was also unusual, as many of the fish bottles are glazed in green. The lot was actively pursued by several in the gallery, with it selling above the $10/20,000 estimate at $23,150.
A rare handled ring flask marked with the Texas maker’s mark J.S. Nash was offered a couple of lots later; it brought $8,050. The flask is believed to have been made by Milligan Fraiser, an African American potter in Nash’s employ, who created distinctive effects by incorporating ground glass into his glazes.
A Lanier Meaders double face jug was another early highlight, going out at $4,312.
The selection of early New York City pottery always proves to be popular at the auction and this sale was no exception. Highlighting the offering was a 9-inch-tall jar marked Coerlears Hook on one side and N.York verso. Both sides of the vessel were incised with leafy floral sprigs and filled in a vibrant cobalt. Termed “one of the finest decorated and most attractively colored of surviving Coerlears Hook pieces,” the jar closely resembles one in the Remensnyder collection at the Smithsonian. Restoration to both of the vertical loop handles kept the price in check, although it still commanded an impressive $14,950.
Two rare and early pieces of stoneware by Greenwich, Conn., maker Abraham Meade, both descending in the Meade family, failed to meet reserves.
The top lot of the auction was a large flowerpot with a profusely decorated floral scene featuring a large bird in the center. The rare piece, measuring almost 13 inches tall and equally as wide at the rim, was marked SD Kellogg, Whately. The pot, which had descended in a family, had been illustrated on the cover of A Guide to Whately Pottery and the Potters, Whatley Massachusetts, 1778–1873. The book indicates that the pieces marked by Kellogg were not made by him, but by his wife. “The pottery has a woman’s touch in detail decoration and finish — we prefer to give her the credit” stated the catalog. Selling well above estimate, the flowerpot realized $24,150.
Other pieces with bold cobalt decoration included a Whites Utica crock with vibrantly decorated lion. Significant restoration was noted on the piece; despite that, it nearly doubled estimate, selling at $20,700. A 4-gallon handled crock marked C.W. Braun, Buffalo, N.Y., was decorated with a folky rooster. It sold at $18,400.
The most unusual crock of the auction was a Fulper Bros 2-gallon piece with a dinosaur decoration. Thought to commemorate a paleontological find, it went out at $17,250.
A large grouping of redware came from an old-time collection that was 80 years in the making. Several of the lots were purchased more than 50 years ago. Leading the group was a redware flask with floral and scalloped decoration in three different colors of slip. The auction house called it “one of the finest wheel-thrown flasks to come on the market in the past several years.” In outstanding condition, the flask was estimated at $3/5,000. A fierce bidding battled saw the lot hammer at $23,000.
Other items from the collection included a sgraffito plate with floral decoration that was decorated with pinwheel flowers with the yellow slip scraped away to reveal the clear glaze orange clay and highlighted with a top greenish glaze. The piece had last been on the market in the 1950s when the collector purchased it. In pristine condition, the rare plate sold above estimate at $13,800. A redware jar with twisted vertical loop handles was decorated with eagles on the front and back, one side in yellow slip, the other in manganese. Attributed to John Betts Gregory, Clinton, N.Y., it was thought to be the finest example of New York State redware and brought $9,200.
Another slip plate from the same collection with tulip decoration in green, yellow and orange glaze was attributed to Solomon Grimm, Berks County, Penn. A plate with similar decoration is displayed at the Metropolitan Museum. A mug with sgraffito decoration with a floral decoration had been purchased by the collector in 1948 for $12. A purchase price of $2,990 was paid this time around.
Prices include the buyer’s premium.
For additional information, www.crockerfarm.com or 410-472-2016.