Grueby Pottery Ship Tile, ca.1910
Well, I got it from my best friend, who’s an antique dealer down in Florida. He knows I like pottery, and about six months ago, he showed up at my house with this, and I swapped him a clock for the tile.
APRAISER: And the clock was worth how much?
It was a mantel clock, a few hundred dollars.
A few hundred dollars. Okay, so let me tell you about this-- why I like it and what I think it is. Heck, what I'm sure it is. You suspected it might be by Grueby Pottery Company. It is Grueby, and I can tell you its Grueby for several reasons. The easiest is if we flip it on the back. Grueby tends to be signed on the back, an artist's initials, in a predominant color on the front. There are other elements like the way this is divided into four sections, the larger tiles usually are. But beyond that, the main thing is the way these glazes have gathered. That's like a signature for Grueby. This is a great tile. Most Grueby tiles are polychrome-- four, five, six colors. This has a dozen colors in it. The type of decoration is called Cuenca, which is like a burnt rope design, where this burnt black line delineates one color field from the next. But because it's a flowing matte glaze process, very often these colors will blur. This thing is tight. There's no color run anywhere. It's a very strong, powerful image with great color and great separation. At auction, this tile is worth somewhere between $4,000 and $5,000.
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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."
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