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Lion-Decorated Pitcher from Manhattan Sells for $115,000

Karl H. Pass | March 1st, 2014

This early Manhattan, New York, ovoid stoneware pitcher with an incised standing lion sold for $115,000 (est. $20,000/30,000). This fresh-to-the-market discovery was a highlight of the large sale.

The watch spring decoration seen here on this one-gallon jug is often associated with Cheesequake, New Jersey, stoneware manufacturer Captain James Morgan, based on early excavations. Much later 20th-century excavations in lower Manhattan reveal that this design was prominently used in 18th-century Manhattan pottery. Design motifs migrated and cannot be solidly attributed to one operation. This crazed jug with some minor base chips was recently discovered in Texas and sold for $1265 (est. $400/600).

This stoneware carriage foot warmer in cylindrical form sold for $805 (est. $300/500).

Crocker Farm, Sparks, Maryland

Photos courtesy Crocker Farm

The first sale of 2014 started strong for the ceramics specialty firm Crocker Farm, Inc., which sold, as the first lot, a fresh-to-the-market early Manhattan, New York, stoneware pitcher decorated with an incised standing lion for $115,000 (includes buyer’s premium). The March 1 sale consisted of 465 lots and grossed $555,651.

The two-gallon ovoid pitcher is unique because of the fact that incised pitchers from Manhattan are unique, especially with a figure other than a bird. The pitcher descended in a Brooklyn, New York, family, and the buyer was New York state collector Adam Weitsman, who, on occasion, makes select additions to his collection at the New York State Museum in Albany.

There were 450 registered bidders, which included 240 through LiveAuctioneers and 60 phone bidders, 78 absentee, and 72 in house.

This was the first sale at which the auctioneering duties were done solely by the Zipps. Father and son Anthony and Luke conducted the entire sale. “It worked well. Luke did very well. I think he is a natural,” stated Tony Zipp. “We always intended to do everything in house. We don’t like banter, and I think the sale moved along,” continued Zipp.  

Some excellent early New York City material was sold, including an ovoid jug with incised fish decoration, attributed to the Crolius family, for $5750, and a wheel-thrown ring-shaped flask, also possibly made by a member of the Crolius family of potters, circa 1800, for $4600.

Some good examples by Albany potter Paul Cushman sold. A Cushman two-gallon stoneware jar with lug handles and coggled signature sold for $718.75, and a two-gallon Cushman jug sold for $690.

A strong selection of regional stoneware from western Pennsylvania was put together for this sale, as was a selection of southern redware and stoneware. Two very good Anna Pottery pig flasks sold. One was covered in Albany slip glaze with an incised political cartoon of 1872 presidential candidate Horace Greeley among other things, including various midwestern cities and landmarks. It sold for $11,500. The other was a salt-glazed pig flask, dated “1889,” with extensive incised railroad map decorations and landmarks, which sold for $10,350. There are fewer salt-glazed Anna pig bottles or flasks in existence than there are Albany slip-glazed examples.

The company’s next ceramics sale will be held on Saturday, July 19.  It will be a commemorative event, celebrating the company’s tenth anniversary. “We will be doing something special, such as hosting a lecture, but am not sure just what yet,” stated Zipp. “We are already getting material consigned for the sale.”

For more information, call Crocker Farm, Inc. at (410) 472-2016; Web site (

This salt-glazed Anna Pottery pig flask with extensive incised railroad map decorations and landmarks sold for $10,350 (est. $5000/7000). There are fewer salt-glazed Anna pig bottles or flasks in existence than there are Albany slip-glazed examples. It was dated “1889” and 7" long.

A nice example of a southern redware jar was this green copper glazed ovoid piece, attributed to either eastern Tennessee or southwestern Virginia. It sold for $4025 (est. $1000/2000). A group of similar jars are in the collection of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) and are attributed to southwestern Virginia, possibly Wythe County.

This rare one-gallon stoneware alkaline-glazed jar, stamped “J.S. NASH,” in excellent condition and fresh to the market, sold for $3910 (est. $1500/2500). Nash worked in Marion County, Texas, during the third quarter of the 19th century.

This circa 1950 stoneware face jug attributed to Guy Daugherty of Bethune, South Carolina, sold for $2530 (est. $800/1200).

This rare salt-glazed bulbous stoneware temperance jug, with Civil War, slavery, and other motifs and inscribed underneath “From/ Kirkpatrick/Anna Pottery/Anna/ Union Co./ Ills.,” sold for $69,000 (est. $60,000/80,000) to collector Adam Weitsman. The snake-handled jug shows temperance themes similar to other Anna examples, yet other elements are believed to be in reference to the Civil War. The piece is also thought to an early example of Anna snake-decorated jug vessels. The consignor is from central Pennsylvania and bought the jug about 20 years ago in Adamstown, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, home of the still running Sunday markets Renninger’s, Black Angus, and the seasonal Shupp’s Grove, and many co-ops and shops.

Originally published in the June 2014 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2014 Maine Antique Digest

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