Roseville Sunflower Vase, ca. 1925
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.
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