Signed Alabama Stoneware, ca. 1880

Value (2011) | $2,500 Auction$3,500 Auction

I got it at a local auction out of Wagner.

What did you pay for it?

I paid $50.

What attracted you to buy this thing?

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

How old do you think it is?

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.


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.

Yeah. Okay, that's neat.


I'm real happy.

Appraisal Details

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

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