Teco Pottery Buttressed Vase, ca. 1905

Value (2012) | $3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction

It was my mother's, and my mother gave it to me. But my mother inherited it from a friend, actually. It was a gift. And her friend had it in her home in Palo Alto, California, and she collected this pottery.

It's got some unusual coloring added to it, this dark charcoaling. Would you tell us about that?

You're certainly right about that. In 2003, I had a fire in Cupertino, California, and 95% of my articles-- clothing and everything-- were destroyed. And I got off with my life and a few pieces, and this is one of them.

So that is smoke from the fire. This speaks about the durability of the ceramic arts.

It certainly does.

A lot of folks are familiar with the term the Arts and Crafts movement. And the Arts and Crafts movement means many things in many places. It started in Europe after the Industrial Revolution, mid-19th century. And it gradually moved westward to Boston, and this became the home of the American Arts and Crafts movement. And the Arts and Crafts movement changed once it got to America. The Europeans were very proper about how it should manifest itself-- only hand workmanship, no use of the machinery. They were rigorous about what was the Arts and Crafts movement. Americans changed that. But what's curious is as the movement moved farther west, even in America it changed. And when it got to where this piece was made, which was in a suburb of Chicago probably around 1905-1910, it became even more mechanized, if you will. So, for example, instead of hand-throwing a piece of pottery, which probably would have happened had the piece been made in Boston, the piece was molded, but with some handwork. This was almost a futuristic, almost a rocket ship-like form with buttresses at the bottom, buttress handles at the top. This is by the Teco pottery, just outside of Chicago. I do want to show the mark. It's a little hard to see sometimes on Teco. It's "T" with E-C-O.

Oh, yes.

Filled in with glaze. It's actually marked twice. Most of their pottery is marked, but this matte green glaze and this kind of yellow-y, orange-y clay color, as good as a fingerprint on a piece of Teco pottery. I call it "Teck-o" because it's short for terracotta. That should be "Teck-o." They called it "Tee-ko." And you could always tell if a pottery dealer is somebody who was selling pots in the '70s because they call it "Teck-o." The people who were selling this from the '80s on, they'd know to call it "Tee-ko." So you can call it what you wish. They stopped making pottery around 1920 to 1923, but their heyday was before World War I, as is true with most American art pottery. This matte green glaze is another hybridization. People liked to use matte green glazes on Arts and Crafts material because there was an organic quality to them. This isn't really an organic green glaze. It's a very modern green glaze. It is matte, but if you looked at it under a loupe, you'd see it's a very porous finish. It's one of the reasons why the smoke from your fire stayed. It's anchored to the surface of this pot. Once it's clean, this should look pretty good. This is a fairly good example of Teco. They made, I've heard, anywhere from 500 to 1,300 different forms. Most of them are fairly boring. This is a good, futuristic Arts and Crafts piece. I would estimate this one somewhere between $3,000 and $5,000 at auction. And it would probably bring somewhere between $4,000 and $6,000. It's a really handsome pot, and I appreciate your bringing it in.

Oh, thank you very much. Thank you. I'll clean it up, too.

Appraisal Details

Rago Arts & Auction Center
Lambertville, NJ
Appraised value (2012)
$3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Boston, MA (June 09, 2012)

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