Signed Alabama Stoneware, ca. 1880

Value (2011) | $2,500 Auction$3,500 Auction
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GUEST:
I got it at a local auction out of Wagner.

APPRAISER:
What did you pay for it?

GUEST:
I paid $50.

APPRAISER:
What attracted you to buy this thing?

GUEST:
Well, I was wanting to start doing my kitchen in primitives, and it looked like a good piece to sit in the corner, and when I took it home and cleaned it up, it looked a little more impressive.

APPRAISER:
And once you got it home and cleaned it up, what did you discover then?

GUEST:
That it had some writing on it and had been signed. It just really attracted me.

APPRAISER:
It says, "Made by J.B. Skinner, Sterrett, Alabama." Have you done any research at all about this particular potter?

GUEST:
I tried when I first got it, but couldn't find really anything about it at all.

APPRAISER:
Well, it is a great example of a piece of regional stoneware from, in this case, Alabama. Stoneware collectors are a really interesting bunch of people. This piece of stoneware to somebody from my state, from Ohio, wouldn't mean a thing. They wouldn't care what was written on here by and large because it's not a piece of Ohio stoneware. The Southern stoneware collectors are very rabid about their own stoneware. This is an example of a piece of stoneware that would get an Alabama collector really going pretty strong. Sterrett is a little town in what's the tail end of the Appalachian Mountains east of present day Birmingham, Alabama. And it was known for producing stoneware. There was no one that I can find yet by the name of J.B. Skinner. It's very unusual to see this incised decoration. This kind of decoration is called sgraffito incising in the trade.

GUEST:
How old do you think it is?

APPRAISER:
This particular shape is not a particularly early shape. It's probably from the third quarter to maybe last quarter of the 19th century. So, 1870, 1885, something like that would be my best guess. I would think that your $50 investment would pay off to you, in an auction, where there were other examples of Southern stoneware, I would think that this might bring at least $2,500 to $3,500.

GUEST:
Awesome.

APPRAISER:
Maybe more if two Sterrett stoneware collectors really tied up into it. It's a really great piece of stoneware because it's signed. If it wasn't signed, it would be worth a few hundred dollars.

GUEST:
Yeah. Okay, that's neat.

APPRAISER:
Yeah.

GUEST:
I'm real happy.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Cowan's Auctions, Inc.
Cincinnati, OH
Appraised value (2011)
$2,500 Auction$3,500 Auction
Event
Tulsa, OK (July 23, 2011)
Period
19th Century
Form
Jug
Material
Pottery, Stoneware

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