William J. Walley Pottery Bowl, ca. 1910
I bought it maybe 30 years ago, and I had no idea what it was. I just thought it was interesting and unusual, and he became my friend.
Okay, so did you do some research and figure out what it was?
I discovered it was Wally from Sterling, Mass.
First of all, it's this wonderful mottled green and yellow glaze with a figural lizard of some sort. On the bottom of it is a mark which does stand for William J. Wally, and you're right, he was located in Sterling, Massachusetts. And about 1910 would have been when this piece was made.
He was kind of a great eccentric. Every piece of pottery was unique. He made every piece. He threw it, he glazed it, he molded it, it was a one-of-a-kind piece, whereas a lot of American art pottery was made somewhat on a production line. What's so unique about this is the figural lizard on the side. And we showed this to several people, and none of us have ever seen anything like that before. And because his pottery is rare and esoteric, it doesn't come up very often, and with this decoration, we believe that at auction, this would bring between $4,000 and $6,000.
Amazing. (laughing) That is just amazing.
So may I ask how much you paid for it?
Around 30 years ago, I think I paid two dollars for it.
Two dollars. Well, I'm going to come shopping with you.
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