1839 James Bustle Celebration Jug
Appraised Value: $40,000 - $70,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:25)
Senior Vice President and Head of the American Decorative Arts Department
GUEST: It belonged to my great-grandfather, who lived in northern Washington County, Georgia, and my mother came by this piece because she admired it. And she had quite an extensive collection till her death in 2000.
APPRAISER: This piece has been featured in John Burrison's book on the outstanding pottery in our state.
APPRAISER: Well, I think what's so interesting is that you're from Washington County, Georgia, and it's so nice to come to a region and see an indigenous piece. I was startled to see the size and the condition of this amazing vessel. Eight gallons is incredibly rare, and it's also marked and it states the name of the potter, James Bustle. On the jug it's listed as "Butle," but he's listed in Washington County as "James Bustle," the date it was made, 1839. The figures jumping over the broom are an African-American tradition, and it's usually done at celebrations such as weddings. And that is a clue as to what the size of this jug is for, and that it probably held spirits for some large, grand celebration. Usually alkaline pottery from this region is unmarked. We usually know very little about the potter and very little about what its capacity is other than we know from its size. This tradition of alkaline-glaze pottery in this area was done by African-American slaves, and there's a good indication that given the inscription, it's possible that James Bustle was an African-American. If this were a small jug, I would say, well, the damage-- that it's lacking a handle-- really affects its value. Also you can see there are some old cracks around the spout, and I would say that these would be problematic if it were a smaller piece. I think that if it were to come to auction, I would estimate its value to be $40,000 to $60,000, and I think if you are going to insure it, you should insure it for about $70,000.
GUEST: Thank you.
APPRAISER: This is incredibly rare and grand in scale and it has so much information.
GUEST: It's brought us a lot of joy. Thank you so much.
APPRAISER: Thank you for bringing it, it's been a pleasure.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2014 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.