Boch Frères Vase, ca. 1925
Appraised Value: $3,000 - $4,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:02)
Pottery & Porcelain
Rago Arts & Auction Center
GUEST: I was at a flea market shortly after we moved to New Hampshire almost 20 years ago. I had about $25 in my pocket at the time. I went over to the table where it was sitting on a little card table and looked at it, picked it up and thought: it's a gorgeous piece of ceramics. Put it back down, walked over to the next table, it had a ginger jar on it. Talked to him-- the ginger jar was $25. Walked back to the table where this gentleman was, and said, you know, "That ginger jar is for $25, which is about all I've got on me at the moment. But this is much more gorgeous. If you'd let it go for $25, I'd be happy to buy it." He said sure. So I was fortunate enough to bring it home.
APPRAISER: And you've done a little research on the piece. What do you know about it?
GUEST: After I bought it, I picked up a few books. I did a little ceramics myself, so I appreciated the form and the coloration. It was nicely executed. The books that I had indicated that it was made by Catteau, a designer from France that had moved, I believe, to Hungary for Boch Keramis Company, and he was their primary designer for the ceramics line for a while. And that's about all I know.
APPRAISER: When I first got in the business 100 years ago, I had a couple of pieces that were done by Catteau that was not for this company. This is a piece that, you see Charles Catteau's signature, but the company mark is right there, that's Boch Freres, and Boch Freres is a Belgian company that started in business in 1914. They're still making ceramics. I've seen some of their more recent work. But they were known for making mostly earthenware, very enameled, very brightly colored in the style of Longwy, a nearby French company. It's very bright, very colorful and, in my opinion, usually not terribly interesting. For a brief period of time, from about 1922 to about 1930, Boch Freres was making a high-fired stoneware. As you might imagine, something made at that time would be Art Deco in style. And Catteau was brought on as a hired gun because he was so talented and so well versed in Art Deco design that he became one of their chief designers in Art Deco ware. So this piece, unlike most of the Boch Freres that we see out there, and there are thousands of pieces, is made from a specific period of time. It's stoneware, not earthenware, it's specifically designed by Catteau, and it has this very cool decoration of stylized flamingos in tones of brown on a mottled brown background. It's in excellent condition and one of the main reasons for that is because this high-fired stoneware is so strong that it's really hard to damage. You have to drop this piece. Either it's going to have no damage or it's going to be shattered. It's a beautiful piece of pottery. Right now this stuff is red-hot. This probably, about three or four years ago, might have been a $1,000 to $1,500 piece. Right now, in today's market, at auction, about $3,000 to $4,000 pot.
GUEST: Great. Great.
APPRAISER: So, really, a nice $25 find and you held on to it for so long, waiting for the market to ripen.
APPRAISER: The right time and place, if this is a particularly rare design, it could certainly bring more than that.
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