George Ohr Vessel, ca. 1900

Value (2003) | $1,200 Auction$1,700 Auction

APPRAISER:
You brought this really sweet piece of George Ohr pottery today. First of all, how old are you?

GUEST:
Twelve.

APPRAISER:
You're interested in potting yourself, and you've been doing this for a while.

GUEST:
Oh, yes. A couple years.

APPRAISER:
A couple years, and you're interested in George Ohr's work, who was potting a long time before you.

GUEST:
Yes. My grandmother saw that I took an interest in it, and she had this piece for, I don't know, a number of years, and she showed it to me and told me only a little about it. Told me that it was by George Ohr, and that he was the "Mad Potter of Mississippi." And that's about as far as I know.

APPRAISER:
You notice that this is thrown very thin, right? And you know how difficult that is, right?

GUEST:
Yeah. When I saw that I just didn't... I hadn't seen it before, and I tried it in my pottering classes and it just didn't seem possible to me.

APPRAISER:
And it's funny, because sometimes people look at George Ohr's work and they think that it looks like a mistake, like something that somebody would do in a potting class. And yet you say you tried this, and it's really difficult.

GUEST:
The first time I actually saw it, um, and he told me it was by a grown man, I was just, um... mind-boggled me because it just didn't look like something that you see every day.

APPRAISER:
Yeah. This is something that was picked up in a garage sale or a yard sale?

GUEST:
A yard sale. And she got it for 50 cents, actually.

APPRAISER:
That's really pretty amazing. And it's amazing, because George Ohr, when he had his pieces, he made this production of several thousand pieces. And he would go from fair to fair, show to show, and you couldn't really just buy one piece. He wanted to sell everything. So you'd say, "Well, can I have this one piece?" And he'd say, "No, you got to buy my whole collection." And who would want to do that? He wasn't that well known, right, while he was living. So he asked his sons to keep his entire work together for 50 years after he would die. And they did that. And in the 1970s-- early '70s-- this dealer from New Jersey went down to Biloxi, Mississippi, where this was made, and he bought the entire collection. So it's very strange that a stray piece would have kind of fallen through the cracks and been sold probably while he was living or right after, but didn't wait the 50 years. So this is very sweet. And you said it was 50 cents?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Do you have any idea what it's worth now?

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
Prices have gone up, and it's actually some of the most collectible art pottery in this country, and it's now worth about $1,200 to $1,700.

GUEST:
Wow. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Rago Arts & Auction Center
Lambertville, NJ
Appraised value (2003)
$1,200 Auction$1,700 Auction
Event
Chicago, IL (July 26, 2003)
Form
Vessel
Material
Pottery

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