1903 Van Briggle Vase with Flowers
Appraised Value: $2,500 - $4,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:57)
Pottery & Porcelain
Rago Arts & Auction Center
APPRAISER: You said you got this from your mom?
GUEST: I did. My mother attended a night class from the Des Moines public schools in the '70s on collecting and learned about Van Briggle and some of the other art potteries and was interested in them. And she went to a church rummage sale and picked this up. It had a little piece of that very stick old white fabric medical tape for the longest time. I just took it off a few years ago and it had "five cents" written on it with a pencil.
APPRAISER: It's a sweet piece of Van Briggle. We've done Van Briggle on the show before, and I think a lot of our viewers will remember the story about how he had tuberculosis and had to leave Ohio to go to Colorado Springs because its salubrious climate. The high altitude was the best they could offer at that time for someone suffering from TB. And he worked there from around 1900 until his death in 1904. Then his wife Anna continued until around 1912 or 1913, when she sold the company to some investors and it's still in business today. But each phase of Van Briggle's work has a different price structure attached to it, not the least of which is the earliest work while he and his wife were working together, deeply in love. Before he died of TB, they were making his most creative and beautiful pots. And this is a piece-- and we'll show the date on this one here. There, of course, the double A mark for "Artus" and "Anne" and the date, "1903," under the Van Briggle mark. About as clear a way of dating a pot as you're going to get. They were very thorough about dating their pieces. This is a squat, bulbous tapering vessel with four enclosed handles at the rim.
APPRAISER: The earlier pieces-- different sizes, different shapes, different designs-- but the better of them have embossed floral or animal or figural work on them. And this is a piece totally decorated in the round with embossed floral designs. But I think more important, he actually painted these in matte glazes. And most of them are painted in one color of matte. This one is not only just blue, but it's also with a white background, which sets the flowers off, and a third color is added to the stems. Out of all the Van Briggle you find, maybe one in a thousand is dated during his lifetime.
GUEST: Oh, wow.
APPRAISER: And of that one in a thousand, maybe on in a hundred of those is three colors. So this is a really rare example.
GUEST: Wow. Oh, great.
APPRAISER: It's not a large piece, but it's a sweet example and in beautiful condition. In terms of value, at auction today, conservatively, I would estimate it for between $2,500 and $3,500.
APPRAISER: And probably more like $3,000 to $4,000.
GUEST: Awesome, that's wonderful. My mom would be thrilled. So you think he actually touched this? What are the odds?
APPRAISER: Let's take another look at the bottom again. You see the way the two "g"s are a little squiggly and identical to each other? That's his handwriting. He probably designed it and finished it himself because he was operating the studio where it was Anne, himself, one helper and a dog.
GUEST: Wow. Awesome.
APPRAISER: They think that only 500 pieces were made while he was alive.
GUEST: Oh, wow.
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