Frederick H. Rhead Avon Vase, ca. 1902

Value (2010) | $2,000 Auction$3,000 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
I bought it at a flea market in Gloucester, Virginia. I had seen it maybe a week prior to when I had bought it. I went home and I thought about it and I came back the following week and the lady still had it. And I told her I was going to the Antiques Roadshow, so... I said I needed something to take. I said, "That looks like the ticket right there." The lady, she was hesitant, but she sold it to me.

APPRAISER:
And you paid how much for it?

GUEST:
I paid $70.

APPRAISER:
Well, those are, I guess, penguins walking around the side of it.

GUEST:
The lady who sold it to me told me that a professor had told her that they're rockhopper penguins from Antarctica.

APPRAISER:
Well, what I don't know about penguins is a lot, but I think I know a few things about this piece. This is a piece of Avon pottery from Wheeling, West Virginia, dating to about 1902 or 1903. There's no artist signature on it, there's no mark on the bottom of the piece, and often Avon is not marked. But there are several things that denote this as an Avon piece. Number one, the shape is an Avon shape. They did not make that much art pottery, and they had relatively few shapes in production for the two years they were making art pottery at this level. They did a number of different types of designs at Avon, mostly floral designs, but when I saw the penguins, I knew it was the work of Frederick Rhead. He was a young man who was hired away from the Wardle Company in England, where he was the art director at 19 years of age. His friend William P. Jervis was working at Avon and hired Rhead to come to the United States, where Rhead stayed for the rest of his career. And Rhead went on from Avon to Roseville to Weller to his own pottery in Santa Barbara to Homer Laughlin, where he designed Fiesta ware. So Rhead was a pretty famous guy. But early on, Rhead was doing his own stuff, and this is a piece that Rhead decorated with squeeze-bag technique. There's slip-trail outlines to the decoration. There's also what we call sgraffito technique, where he actually incises lines and then works within those lines, almost like a cloisonnè technique. So this has all the earmarks of Frederick Rhead's decorative techniques and decorative style. But one of those elements is the weirdness of it, it's a kind of quirky, English-American Arts and Crafts style. This one is crude in a very sophisticated way. You can see the way the glaze is uneven on the piece. The birds are not all consistent because they're hand done. Some are pudgier than others. A very unusual, peculiar and, I find, oddly appealing piece of Rhead's work at Avon Pottery. The fact that it's not marked or not signed really doesn't matter much, because people who know Rhead's work know what this is, and his signature is in the work. At auction, I would estimate this for between $2,000 and $3,000 and probably more like $2,500 to $3,500. But to be a little conservative, I think $2,000 to $3,000 at auction is what this piece would be worth.

GUEST:
Well, I did good.

APPRAISER:
You did really well.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Rago Arts & Auction Center
Lambertville, NJ
Appraised value (2010)
$2,000 Auction$3,000 Auction
Event
Washington, DC (August 21, 2010)
Period
20th Century
Form
Animal, Vase
Material
Pottery

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.