Cochiti Pueblo Pot, ca. 1900

Value (2011) | $8,500 Retail
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GUEST:
It's a Cochiti pot. I got it at a garage sale in northern Texas.

APPRAISER:
Did you have to pay a great deal for it?

GUEST:
No, I didn't. Fifteen dollars.

APPRAISER:
You paid $15?

GUEST:
I did.

APPRAISER:
Do you have a sense of what this might be worth now?

GUEST:
Not totally. I was offered $1,000, sight unseen.

APPRAISER:
Okay, well, it's a very large object.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
It's pottery, it's from Cochiti Pueblo, as you said, in New Mexico, along the Rio Grande, south of Santa Fe. Pots like this are really desirable because they're so large and so decorative. And they also are fairly rare. They break, they're more difficult to make. Pottery of this type is made from the coil method. It's sort of like taking dough, rolling it around, building up the sides, and then softening it with a rag or a stone, and then, of course, painting. The painted designs on this pot are ancient designs. The top of this pot has these little dashes, those are rain indications.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
A pot like this could hold water, foodstuffs, the top could be sealed off to prevent evaporation.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
One of the things I particularly love about this pot... The big ancient designs-- bird feather designs, cloud motifs, these are traditional. One of the wonderful aspects, I think, on this pot, is a rather whimsical design on the two sides. This design, and it's an absolute Cochiti creation, is a sunflower, and on one of the leaves of the sunflower, there's a cloud motif.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
So all of these designs have to do with agriculture, propitiation of the vegetal spirits, if you will. The condition on this pot I consider to be exceptional. There is one chip on the rim.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
This is an older pot, though, and I would call that a no-harm nick. Your $15 acquisition price was just fabulous, and the $1,000 offer was probably good, but perhaps if the folks had seen it in person, they would have been more impressed. This is a large pot. I think on a retail basis, this pot today would bring in the neighborhood of $8,500.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
You made a remarkable acquisition.

GUEST:
I did.

APPRAISER:
How long have you had it?

GUEST:
I've had it 39 years.

APPRAISER:
Well, you've taken good care of it.

GUEST:
Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Trotta-Bono, Ltd.
Shrub Oak, New York
Appraised value (2011)
$8,500 Retail
Event
El Paso, TX (June 18, 2011)
Form
Pot
Material
Pottery

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