Maria Martinez Pot, ca. 1925
Appraised Value: $3,000 (1997)
$3,600 - $4,000 (2011)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:12)
Arms & Militaria, Tribal Arts
GUEST: When my son was five, which is longer ago than I want to admit, but about 25 years ago, I sent it to school with him for show-and-tell for kindergarten along with another basket that I have. I was a little careless with it and it wasn't until a few years later that I learned it had some value.
APPRAISER: How did you acquire the pot?
GUEST: My grandfather moved to Colorado in the late '30s and he acquired it out there. I don't think anyone in the family knew anything about it except that we thought it was a pretty pot and perhaps looked nice with plants in it at one time.
APPRAISER: Well, luckily you didn't put plants in it. One of the important features on a pot like this is the fact that it is what we call "black-on-black pottery." The very shiny gun-metal design, or gun-metal finish, is characteristic of a type of pottery that was produced in San Ildefonso-- still being produced today. If you'd have put water in the pot or had plants in it, eventually it would cause the finish to start to flake and peel off, and it would have really hurt the value of the pot. This particular pot has a signature on it, and the signature on this pot is what makes all the difference. The signature is "Marie," and she also spelled her name "Maria," but in this particular case "Marie" is the way she signed it-- generally in earlier periods than when she signed it as "Maria" later. And this was Maria Martinez. She was probably the most famous potter of the San Ildefonso pueblo. Her pottery is very highly sought after today and very collectible, and luckily your piece is in pretty good condition considering your kindergartner took it to kindergarten. Do you have any idea what the piece is worth?
GUEST: I have guessed maybe $1,000, but I have no idea, really.
APPRAISER: Well, this size pot, by perhaps a lesser-known artist, would be in that range. However, with Maria's work, you could expect to probably triple that. This pot should be worth about $3,000 today on the market.
GUEST: That's nice.
APPRAISER: Good, glad you brought it in.
GUEST: I'll continue to enjoy it.
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