While attending a recent pottery auction I was struck by the decline in popularity of many pieces that, only a few years ago, had garnered top prices.
1930’s roseville vases, beautiful jardinieres from the Weller factories, and Hull matte finish ewers, held little interest for the 150 or so bidders present. But the energy in the room elevated and the bidder cards were flying when the auctioneer announced “up for bid we are offering a collection of pieces from the American Arts and Craft Movement of the early 1900s.”
Elegant and simplistic in its design, this classic pottery finds its origin in Britain in the mid-1870s. By 1910 it made its way to America where it would hold strong through the late 1920s. Whether it be the organic matte green of the Van Briggle, Teco and Grueby Pottery companies, the hand thrown and decorated efforts from the women of Newcomb College, or the innovative experimentation from the “Mad Potter of Biloxi”, George Orr, Arts and Craft Pottery is finding a new and enthusiastic audience.
In recent years the “new antique lovers,” (those in the 25 to 39 age range), have been gravitating towards the the straight, no-frills style of the Arts and Crafts period, stimulating the sale of Craftsman/Mission Style furniture and Arts and Crafts art, lighting and accessories.
Those “in the know” are coming to appreciate not only the aesthetic appeal of these pieces, but are also aware that the quality craftsmanship from the Arts and Crafts Movement is a wise investment. This is, however, a know before you go collectible, so here are a few tips to get you started.
The Haeger Pottery Company began reproduction of both Teco and Grueby in the late 1990’s. Some of their pieces will only mimic the general style of the authentic counterparts, while other examples are direct copies. Examine the seams closely.The original pieces will be hand finished with no obvious seam mark, while the slip cast molding on the fakes will have an obvious seam.