Fulper "Cattail" Vase, ca. 1910

Value (2013) | $5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction

I got it from my dad, more or less. We used to go to the auction every Saturday morning, get away from home, and my mother liked really, really modern things, but my dad and I liked to buy the boxes of surprises, and he would go through and get the books, and I would get all the treasures, and I hauled the treasures off to my room. Auction started about 1948, so I was nine or ten. And I filled my room with all the treasures. My mother thought we had junk and I thought we had treasures.

So you've had this since about 1948?


And you said you got it in a box lot?

Yeah, we'd buy a box, and it'd be 25 cents or 50 cents for a box, take it home, pull the treasures out, seal up, throw more stuff in the box, take it back, sell it, bring a couple more boxes home.

You've taken good care of it for a long time.

Yes, I have. This is a little close to my heart because it was made in Flemington, New Jersey, which is about four miles from where I live, by the Fulper Pottery Company. Fulper had a bunch of different marks, but this is their earliest one, this rectangular ink stamp mark.

That's the earliest Fulper mark, and that dates this piece to about 1909, 1910. Fulper was one of those companies, like many art pottery companies in America, that before making art pottery was making utilitarian ware. Some companies like Roseville were making sewer tile and crockery. Fulper was making salt-glazed stoneware from the beginning of the 19th century. They were around for a long time. They decided to cash in on the art pottery craze that was through America, and they shifted from making utilitarian salt-glazed stoneware to making art pottery, mostly led by a German designer, John Martin Stangl, which later became Stangl Pottery about 20 years down the road.


They straddle a line between art pottery and commercial ware. Real art pottery is something that someone sits down and makes from scratch, like a really good apple pie. They throw the clay on the wheel, they make the pottery vase by hand, they decorate it by hand. Fulper starts, by and large, with really good quality molded pieces, especially early on. This piece is part of their Vasekraft with a "K" line. So it is a molded piece, but it's really intricately designed. The production was extremely limited back then, so we don't see many of these. They're called cattail vases for obvious reasons. So while it is a production piece, it's one of limited production with a really good quality glazing. I have seen some better examples than the glaze on this, but this one really holds up quite well. I've been looking at it for a while now. These typically came with green glazes because it goes well with the idea of there being cat tails and the sylvan quality of the piece itself. The Fulper market has tanked. Most of the Fulper pieces I sell are worth a half or a third of what I was getting five or six years ago. Today at auction, if I was to sell this piece, I would estimate it for between $5,000 and $7,000.

I used to get $10,000 for these.

It's possible this could still do that, they're that rare, but being a little conservative, at auction, again, between $5,000 and $7,000. Condition's great. It could use a good cleaning.

Wonderful! I had no idea it was worth that much. That's terrific. You want to buy it? (laughing)

Appraisal Details

Rago Arts & Auction Center
Lambertville, NJ
Appraised value (2013)
$5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction
Boise, ID (June 29, 2013)

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