Roseville Sunflower Vase, ca. 1925

Value (2013) | $1,000 Auction$1,500 Auction

It's not often that an author's book has a lot of impact on the market for American ceramics. But when Peter Mayle's book A Year in Provence came out a few years back, it sparked a lot of interest in sunflowers. And your Roseville vase is a sunflower pattern, and the market for Roseville sunflower tripled in the span of one publication of that book. And so you've had this for a while. You said this was in a guest cabin?

Yes, it's in a cottage that we have at the lake. I saw a picture of it in a book, and I said to my husband, "Don't we have a vase like that?" And he brought it home.

You had a question about some of the markings on the bottom.

Yes, it has a paper label, and I didn't know what the "492" meant.

Well, the paper label is a typical Roseville mark from the '20s. This piece dates to about 1925, 1930, maybe. They often didn't mark the pots proper, and these labels did wash off. Maybe half of the pieces of sunflower you see have no markings whatsoever. The red crayon mark is typical on Roseville pieces. I'm not sure exactly what it means. It's some kind of production number. It's really kind of irrelevant. What is important is that the piece that you have has a very strong mold. Sometimes these get really washed out, because you are dealing with a molded pot that an artist then just puts some color on, and then they fire. It's not like the piece is hand sculpted and hand decorated like a lot of the other Rookwood and hand-decorated Roseville that we see. But again, what's so important about your piece is that it's an example of their sunflower line, and it happens to be one of the best examples of sunflower they made. There are some one-of-a-kind trial pieces that will come up that are better than yours, but as far as run of the mill sunflower is concerned, this is really pretty exceptional, and a piece like this, a valuation somewhere between $2,000, $2,500 on a pot like this.

Appraisal Details

Rago Arts & Auction Center
Lambertville, NJ
Update (2013)
$1,000 Auction$1,500 Auction
Appraised value (1998)
$2,000 Auction$2,500 Auction
Rochester, NY (August 08, 1998)
1920s, 1930s

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.