Appraisal Video: (3:07)
Pottery & Porcelain
Rago Arts & Auction Center
GUEST: I fell in love with the vases the first time I saw them, and so I just bought them.
APPRAISER: How much did you pay for these?
GUEST: I bought this one first and I gave $140 for it. And then a month later, um, I saw this vase and I thought it'd make a nice companion piece, and I gave $160 for that, which I thought was a little high, but... oh, well.
APPRAISER: Okay, they're certainly worth at least that much. They're not old, and that's one of the reasons I wanted to talk about them. I kind of have a funny story because I bought one of the same sort, made by the same firm, whoever it might be, about three years ago, and I paid over $3,000 for it. It looked like a piece of Grueby pottery, which is one of the major American art potteries, and it was an iconic piece with handles and leaves. And I didn't think it was Grueby so much, but I thought it might have been a European pot from the turn of the century, because it looked old and these do, too, and I'll show you why in a second. So I bought this pot and I showed it to a friend of mine and she said, "You know, those are on sale at Bloomingdale's in New York City. They're $325 apiece." Which is about twice what you paid for yours. And it turned out I bought this at a major arts-and-crafts show. I'm supposed to be an expert and I bought a brand-new pot. But there's a reason why it was so convincing, and these have the same reasons within them. This is a copy of a piece of Teco pottery made in Chicago around the turn of the century, and it's a major piece of Teco pottery. Whoever's making these-- and I suspect they're Asian-- is picking the best pieces to imitate. The one closest to you is a replica of a piece
of Tiffany pottery. If this was a piece of Tiffany pottery, it would be a $50,000 pot, okay. If you look at the bottom of it, the bottom is made to look old, even though it's a brand-new piece. It's what fooled me about the one that I bought. The bottom of the Teco is the same way. There's a... there's staining around the foot ring. The glaze covers the bottom, so it's suggested if there were marks, they're covered by glaze. I believe these were made to fool-- to look older than they really are. I've seen, now, eight of these and all of them have the same glazing on them, which is not a new glaze. It looks like there's dirt in the glaze, like they've been around for a long time. Two of these, by the same firm, appeared in a major New York City auction in the last year in the front of a major 20th-century catalog, and they were brand-new pots. They had to be pulled from the sale. So we were all getting fooled by them. That said, based on what they were selling for at Bloomingdale's in New York-- and they were selling out, from what I understand-- they're worth about $325 apiece, and so together, they're worth about $650.
GUEST: That's really good.
APPRAISER: And just one word of caution: what happens at estate sales is they are often seeded with things that are new that look old, and because they're under the umbrella of an estate sale, we kind of automatically think that they're the real deal, and it's just a word of caution with that.
GUEST: Well, I kind of suspected that they were contemporary pieces when they could give me no information and no background. But I bought them because I like them.
APPRAISER: They're absolutely beautiful, no question. You have a fine eye.