Margaret Tafoya Water Pot, ca. 1940

Value (2012) | $12,000$14,000

Someone was having a house sale, and I think we were the first people in the house and saw it and decided that was it, it was ours. And it was, and I've enjoyed it every, every day.

How much did you pay for it?

Five dollars.

Five dollars?

(laughing) Right. At a garage sale.

Well, let me tell you a little bit about the pot. It's an unusual pot. It is made by a lady named Margaret Tafoya.

Oh, yes.

And she is a Native American that lived in Santa Clara Pueblo, which is an Indian pueblo in New Mexico, and they were well known for making a style of pottery which is called blackware pottery. And this symbol, what you see here, is a bear claw, and that was her personal symbol which she used as a signature for her name, and it represents good luck. The reason why they chose the bear for good luck and for the water pot was because the bear could always find water. So this pot was used as a water storage jar. And she was known for making these large pots like this. And the large pots are hard to find, especially still intact. You can see this pot has a chip out of the top rim here, which isn't that uncommon, and luckily, that's all the damage that's been sustained to it over the years. They made this pot in a very unique way. They reduced the oxygen in the firing and it caused the clay to carbonize or turn black. Then they took pebbles and they polished the pot until it got this nice, glossy black sheen to it. And it's prized for this kind of glossy black finish. Margaret Tafoya's very well known as a Santa Clara potter. She's very famous in her work. And this pot today on the market would probably bring close to $6,000 to $8,000. So I think that your five-dollar investment at a garage sale paid off very handsomely.

Very well.

Appraisal Details

Update (2012)
Appraised value (1998)
Milwaukee, WI (June 20, 1998)

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