Walter Anderson Pottery Cat, ca. 1945

Value (2012) | $12,500 Auction$17,500 Auction
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GUEST:
My husband's great-aunt gave it to me, because I like blue. Blue is my favorite color.

APPRAISER:
And you've had it for how long?

GUEST:
I would say around 20 years.

APPRAISER:
Well, this is a different kind of appraisal for me, because I'm not exactly sure what you've got here.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And this is going to entail a little bit of additional research. You saw me looking this over for a mark. There isn't a mark on this. I've been all over this thing, and there's no mark that I could find, which would have made life a lot easier for all of us.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
But what I saw initially, stylization. Not only the colors that were used, but the way the colors are applied to this piece. Let's show it in the round. The design is very unusual, and to my eye peculiar to Shearwater Pottery from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, which started in 1928, and which was destroyed when Katrina went through there a few years back. They're rebuilding it, but it's a very famous pottery, primarily run by Walter and Mac Anderson, who did most of the decorating through the '30s and '40s and '50s. Walter is recognized as an artistic genius. Couldn't really socialize. He was left to himself to decorate and design. But this is what he did. The colors, the patterns. What also I notice, where the clay shows through, and then the clay color inside, looks to me like Shearwater pottery. So I'm pretty sure that's what it is. And it's what we have to do when we don't have a mark. I did research. There's not an exact picture of this in any of the books that I found. And so we have to make certain educated guesses. So I'm guessing you've got a piece of Shearwater pottery, Shearwater cat. In terms of the decorative style, it's faience technique, background color laid down, and then decorative elements and darker colors starkly painted against it. If this is not Shearwater, it's a nice ceramic cat, probably from the '40s or '50s, worth $300, $400, $500 at auction.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
If it's a Shearwater cat, at auction, I think it's worth between $6,000 and $9,000.

GUEST:
Whoa.

APPRAISER:
It's a big difference, and it's a really good piece. If this is by Walter Anderson and somebody paid between $10,000 and $20,000 for it, I wouldn't be surprised.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Rago Arts & Auction Center
Lambertville, NJ
Value Update (2012)
$12,500 Auction$17,500 Auction
Appraised value (2009)
$6,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
Event
Phoenix, AZ (August 01, 2009)
Period
20th Century
Material
Ceramic, Pottery
November 12, 2012: We contacted appraiser David Rago for an updated appraisal in today's market.

Current Appraised Value: $12,500 - $17,500

Rago adds: "Shearwater pottery has only gained in value since Hurricane Katrina not only leveled the studio in Gulf Port, but destroyed much of their surviving work as well. This cat is an exceptional piece and, even though it is slip-cast, the coloring elevates it beyond most of the few remaining examples. I narrowed my price range from my original estimate [$10,000 - $20,000] once I was able to establish that it was indeed Shearwater, and I was able to raise the lower end of my valuation as well. It also could well do in excess of this number in a competitive environment."

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