Opening the sale was this very early ovoid two-gallon stoneware jar with vertical open handles and cobalt pomegranate decoration in remarkable condition. Attributed to the Kemple Pottery of Ringoes, New Jersey, circa 1750, the jar is one of the earliest examples of Colonial American stoneware known. It was recently discovered in the Midwest and survived with only a few minor base chips and nicks to each handle. The 11 1/8" high jar sold to a collector of early New Jersey pottery for $10,350 (est. $4000/6000). Five phone lines were active.
The lidded redware jar with manganese slash decoration, with a few base chips, and measuring 10" in height with the lid, was attributed to the Cain Pottery in Sullivan County, Tennessee. A private collector in Tennessee paid $23,000 (est. $7000/10,000) for the jar in its vivid mottled pumpkin orange with clear lead glaze.
Selling for $632.50 (est. $300/500) was this unusual ornamental redware jug stamped “Speese & Son/Gettysburg, Pa.” The 9" high jug with rotund body and tall cylindrical neck was in excellent condition.
Slip-trail decorated, with inscription “Evan G. Ricketts/ July 4th 1833,” this one-gallon stoneware pitcher is an important discovery in southern pottery. According to the Zipps, Evan Griffith Ricketts (1785-1874) was born in Cecil County, Maryland, and married Hannah Travers in 1812. They soon moved west to Maysville, Kentucky. He is listed as a potter in the 1850 census, which was the first to start listing occupations. It is safely stated this is the earliest dated example of blue-decorated Kentucky pottery known. Isaac Thomas was a well-known potter in Maysville, but this pitcher predates his work. The pitcher came from a consignor in Minnesota. It had a large, sealed U-shaped crack and sold for $19,550 (est. $2000/3000) to a collector in Kentucky, bidding via the Internet.
A footed redware bowl, likely made in Pennsylvania, with rim molding and vivid cream- and green-colored spot decoration flanked by cream-colored wavy-line slip decoration, with a small hole in the underside, sold for $3450 (est. $600/800).
Crocker Farm, Sparks, Maryland
by Karl H. Pass
Photos courtesy Crocker Farm
The Zipps of Crocker Farm, Sparks, Maryland, capped off an impressive 2012 with their 488-lot sale, including addenda, held on November 3, 2012. The gross (including buyers’ premiums) was $370,501. They had exactly 300 total registered bidders, 122 of whom were Internet bidders. Three lots were bought in, failing to sell.
Including buyers’ premiums, the company sold $1,232,892 of material in three specialized pottery sales in 2012. With the aid of their Web site, Crocker Farm has become the established leading American stoneware and redware auction company. Although they do not serve any one regional market, the Zipps have done well with their “Maryland Sale,” which includes items specific to the state such as decoys, various advertising, and textiles. Their stoneware and redware auctions, which average three a year, offer a diverse range of pottery not specific to any one pottery center or region of the country.
This particular auction had an expansive appeal with several important items from the South. The market for pottery of the South has seen an expanding collecting audience. A fresh-to-the-market Great Road redware lidded ovoid jar, attributed to the Cain Pottery of Sullivan County, Tennessee, with wavy line-
incised decoration along the shoulder and bold manganese slashes brushed over a pumpkin orange ground, was highly sought after. It sold for over double its high estimate for $23,000 to a collector of Great Road pottery in Tennessee. “It recently came out of a house near where it was made,” stated Tony Zipp.
An Independence Day pitcher, inscribed “Evan G. Ricketts/ July 4th 1833,” is thought to be the earliest dated example of blue-decorated pottery known from Kentucky and was made in Maysville. Born in Cecil County, Maryland, in 1785, Ricketts moved west to Maysville, Kentucky, in 1812 or possibly 1813. The pitcher came to Crocker Farm from a consignor in Minnesota and sold well above estimate for $19,550 (est. $2000/3000) to a collector in Kentucky.
An unusual stoneware head bust or death mask of Abraham Lincoln, signed “Anna Pottery/ 1877,” sold for $4600. Brothers Wallace and Cornwall Kirkpatrick of Anna Pottery in Anna, Illinois, made fantastical, yet usually functional, stoneware forms during the latter half of the 19th century. Several death masks of Lincoln were made at the pottery. It would stand to reason they were modeled after the famous plaster face casts made of Lincoln at his autopsy. The bust was recently found in California among items that descended in a midwestern family.
Two unique items of Midwest origin, both likely from Anna Pottery, were among the highest-selling lots of the day. A very rare and large aquarium castle, which descended in the Kirkpatrick family and previously had been owned in turn by noted collectors Barry Cohen and Edwa Wise, sold for $12,650 to a Pennsylvania dealer. The other piece was a temperance jug with several applied snakes and frogs along with small incised map of south central U.S. towns and landmarks on one flattened side. The provenance also included Barry Cohen, and the jug sold for $17,250 to a midwestern collector of Anna Pottery.
A frog inkwell signed “Anna Pottery/ 1881” in the form of a molded frog atop a molded clamshell with an inkwell opening in the center sold for $5750, and a memorial urn by the Kirkpatricks, inscribed “Allen Hucklebery/ Died May 30 1886/ Age 26 years 7 months 2 days,” sold for $2070.
A historically interesting New York state two-gallon stoneware crock, stamped “WM. A. MacQuoid & CO / NEW-YORK / LITTLE WST 12th ST” with a cobalt-brushed spread-wing eagle holding a banner reading “Gold $1.44.1/2,” sold for $3737.50. The inscription likely refers to the 1869 Black Friday scandal in which businessmen James Fiske and Jay Gould attempted to corner the gold market by convincing President Grant to withdraw the U.S. government from that market. Between September 2 and 24 of that year, the price of gold spiked from $34 per ounce to $144 per ounce.
The Zipps have long been scholars in the field of ceramics, and it shows in their extensive cataloging, as well as their published work. Their scholarship, along with the work of others, concerning early South Amboy (New Jersey) and Manhattan (New York) stoneware was evident in this sale.
The first lot of the auction was a recently discovered two-gallon stoneware jar with cobalt pomegranate decoration that sold for $10,350. The Zipps attributed the early Colonial American rotund jar with open applied handles to the Kemple Pottery of Ringoes, New Jersey. An open-handled jar with watchspring design sold for $460, in part because of damage. Stoneware pieces with brushed cobalt watchsprings have long been attributed solely to Captain James Morgan of Cheesequake, New Jersey. Recent archaeological studies have shown similar pieces can also be attributed to the Crolius and Remmey families of Manhattan. A stamped small-size Clarkson Crolius stoneware rundlet sold for $2645, and a one-gallon Crolius pitcher, covered in Albany slip, sold for $690.
A rare one-gallon stoneware jar with unusual decoration, stamped “J. SWANN/ALEXA,” sold for $6325, setting an auction record for the Alexandria, Virginia, maker. It had come from a consignor in the South.
A large fresh-to-the-market grouping of slip-decorated redware plates and chargers, among other forms, consigned from Missouri and bought during the 1950’s and 60’s, did well considering current market conditions. Much of the material originated in Pennsylvania, and some was from Long Island, New York. According to Tony Zipp, a woman who was in the process of moving her mother into a nursing home in Missouri did an Internet search for redware and contacted the Zipps. They then drove to Missouri to get the material. The woman consigned roughly 75 lots of redware among other things for their general antiques sales.
“We really had a lot of support for this redware collection,” noted Zipp. It was fresh-to-the-market, had good decoration, and was in great condition as a whole. A large Pennsylvania loaf dish with extensive slip decoration sold for $3565. A charger with a star-shaped slip-decorated pinwheel design, from Huntington, Long Island, New York, sold for $4140. A Berks County, Pennsylvania, Willoughby Smith stamped plate with crisscrossed yellow slip decoration sold for $1725, and a drape-molded octagonal dish with slip decoration, probably Philadelphia in origin, sold for $2185.
The Zipps’ next pottery sale will be held March 2. You can contact the Zipps of Crocker Farm, Inc. at (410) 472-2016; Web site (www.crockerfarm.com).
This unique stoneware temperance jug, with applied snakes and frogs and an incised map on one flattened side, was made in either the Texarkana or Anna potteries. The material produced at these operations was made in the latter half of the 19th century, and much of it incorporated advanced potting techniques. This particular piece employed not just wheel-throwing but also hand-modeling, brush-decorating, and sgraffito work.
These forms are referred to as “temperance” jugs because the elaborately coiled snakes that make up the handle are thought to be a reference to the evils of drunkenness and debauchery. The contents of the well-known pig flasks made at Wallace and Cornwall Kirkpatrick’s Anna Pottery had to be consumed by way of the pig’s rear end, another play on this social reform movement of the time period. Today, the political and social reformist views of businessmen such as the Kirkpatricks are debated. Scholars question which side of the temperance movement was embraced by these men. While the pottery often displayed anti-drinking sentiments, it is known that tavern owners and distillers were clientele.
This particular jug with applied frogs had undergone major restoration to its snake handle and second wrapping snake coiled around the handle. It was also once owned by well-known folk pottery collector Barry Cohen. The jug sold to a midwestern collector of Anna pottery for $17,250 (est. $15,000/20,000).
An 8" diameter redware plate with two-color green and brown slip with tulip decoration, attributed to Berks County, Pennsylvania, and likely Dryville, sold for $4887.50 (est. $2000/3000). It had a small rim chip and several small glaze flakes to its interior.
This slip-decorated Pennsylvania redware plate with wheel design was in excellent condition and sold for $3105 (est. $800/1200).
A rare stoneware aquarium castle, attributed to Wallace and Cornwall Kirkpatrick of Anna, Illinois, circa 1875, was a highlight of the eclectic sale. Standing 10½" high and 11¾" long, the hand-modeled sculpture with wheel-thrown base has applied cylinders as towers and carved archways with a large central opening. It could have been used at a fair or exhibition. Some of the raised elements of the castle had been restored. As stated in the catalog, this unique piece was purchased from a Kirkpatrick family descendant in Illinois sometime in the 1970’s. It was later owned by Barry Cohen, a well-known collector among ceramic and folk art circles. Another Pennsylvania collector, Edwa Wise, also once owned the castle. It sold for $12,650 (est. $7000/10,000) to Pennsylvania dealer Greg Kramer.
This spongeware molded spaniel doorstop, probably Ohio origin, with deep cobalt sponging over a whitish ground, sold for $1955 (est. $600/800).
Originally published in the February 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest