Grueby Tile Cuenca Seagull, ca. 1915

Value (2009) | $700 Auction$1,000 Auction

GUEST:
I got it at a house sale in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. It seems like it's Arts & Crafts, but I don't know from what side of the ocean, so... I know nothing about it.

APPRAISER:
This tile was made by the Grueby Pottery from Boston, Massachusetts.

GUEST:
Well, I've seen their vases.

APPRAISER:
They were well known for their vases early on, and then they started making tiles.

GUEST:
Well, why is it so thick?

APPRAISER:
Because this doesn't look like it was meant to be in a wall, and the sides are finished. It is thick. A lot of Arts & Crafts tiles were thick.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
This is pressed from wet clay, and so they were done particularly thick. This is probably just about half an inch to three-quarters of an inch thick. The reason it is glazed all around is because it was probably used as a trivet. Originally, it was probably sold with some kind of green felt on the bottom, and then you could set it down like this and use it as a trivet. Looking at the surface of this tile, it doesn't look like it would have been used like that much at all, because it's in beautiful condition.

GUEST:
That is considered beautiful condition?

APPRAISER:
Yes, ma'am. It's a little dirty, but there's no wear, really, to the top. This particular tile is one of a series of at least four.

GUEST:
Oh...

APPRAISER:
It probably dates to about 1915 to 1920. The marking on the back, those are the initials of the artist that would have colored in the tile.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And it is a cuenca tile, that is your technique. That's what keeps your beautiful flat colors separated. As I said, it's a little dirty.

GUEST:
What is that?

APPRAISER:
Schmutz.

GUEST:
(laughing) I have more of that at home.

APPRAISER:
Yeah, we all do. This will come off easily. It does have at the top here a little bit of wear, a little hairline, and that is not good. You bought this at a house sale?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
You paid...

GUEST:
One dollar.

APPRAISER:
At auction, I would put this tile at $700 to $1,000.

GUEST:
Is that right?

APPRAISER:
Yeah.

GUEST:
Oh, my gosh! So, this is very bad, because I'm trying not to do house sales anymore. I've been trying to get my addiction under control. No, that was great. That's absolutely wonderful.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Rago Arts & Auction Center
Lambertville, NJ
Appraised value (2009)
$700 Auction$1,000 Auction
Event
Atlantic City, NJ (June 06, 2009)
Form
Tile
Material
Clay

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