California Faience Vase, ca. 1925
My mom acquired it about 50 years ago at an estate sale at our small town in Nebraska. It was the estate sale of the law partner of my grandfather, who had done a lot of traveling, and we picked up a couple things, and I was about five years old.
Do you know what she paid for it?
I have no idea. She was young and married and had three little kids, so it couldn't have been much.
What you have is a piece of California Faience pottery. It's a very nice example of California pottery, or California Arts and Crafts. Now, the Arts and Crafts movement came to this country from several sources, but a lot of it being from England, and it moved from east to west, gathering different trends as it was moving from New York to the West Coast. By the time it got to California, in the teens and then going through the '20s and early '30s, it had become this interesting mix of the Arts and Crafts movement, Spanish Mission, and Art Deco. And you have a little bit of some of that in here-- Arts and Crafts movement being very organic, natural, Spanish Mission, the bright colors, and Art Deco, when it starts being a little bit more Machine Age. The people who were in charge of this company, Chauncey Thomas and William Bragdon, were friends for a long time and built this little company together, and it became California Faience in about 1922, and that was in northern California, in Berkeley. It was always small; I think they had maybe four people working with them. They made tiles and they made pottery. They're a little better known for their tiles. So when they're doing their pottery, the pottery here I believe is molded-- I don't think this is hand thrown-- but the quality of the pottery is just as good as the tiles. This, as you see, is a very nice vegetal shape, a big gourd with this lovely pod in the front.
Yeah, I always liked the shape and the color.
We have the nice mark on the bottom, "California Faience." Now, sometimes you see pottery from California Faience that is actually marked "California Porcelain," same script, and they did that for one year only. The rest is California Faience. This was probably done in the '20s or '30s. In a fine shop that sells American art pottery and specializes in California pottery, this might bring from $1,000 to $1,500.
That's great, that's great. My mom will be thrilled.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
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."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.