Late 19th-Century San Ildefonso Pueblo Pot

Value (2009) | $25,000 Retail$50,000 Retail

HOST: This pot came from an estate of some very wealthy people back east. And it ended up with my mother, is how it happened. She was married to one of the heirs of the estate and then he inherited the pot and it just sat in her house.

APPRAISER:
Do you know about the potter Maria Martinez at San Ildefonso pueblo in New Mexico? The black pottery? She is the famous potter in the American Indian world. Maria Martinez started making pots around the turn of the century, 1900, 1910. And everybody thinks that all the pottery from San Ildefonso is black on black. This is a San Ildefonso pot from the 19th century. It kind of has a gray background, sort of a grayish color. And it has these incredible birds on it that go all the way around it, and these abstract designs. The color's real soft. The slip on it's a little bit weak almost. It's a very soft sort of look and color to it. Now, we turned it over, and in very weak letters here, it says San Ildefonso. And then there's a name underneath it, "Montoya." Maria learned to make pots from lots of people. This pot was made by Florentino Montoya, one of her teachers. Montoya's wife's name was Martina Vigil. And Vigil and Montoya started making pots at San Ildefonso probably about 1875. So this is probably, because of the gray slip on the background, one of the earlier San Ildefonso pots that anybody's seen that is identifiable. The fact that it's signed is remarkable. This is a pre-Maria pot that traces the whole tradition that went to her and the great art pots that she did in the 20th century. Now, you had an appraisal.

GUEST:
It was done in the '80s and it was like $1,250?

APPRAISER:
We've only seen one or two of these pots ever come up for sale. They're extremely rare. We've never seen a signed one come up for sale. On a bad day in a nice gallery, $25,000 for this pot.

GUEST:
Wow. Wow.

APPRAISER:
It could go double that. It could go $40,000 or $50,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my God.

APPRAISER:
It's a great thing. It is a very great piece of art.

GUEST:
Thank you.

APPRAISER:
Thank you for coming.

GUEST:
Thank you for telling me that. It's just great news. Gee.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
San Antonio, TX
Appraised value (2009)
$25,000 Retail$50,000 Retail
Event
Phoenix, AZ (August 01, 2009)
Period
19th Century
Form
Pot
Material
Clay

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