Monday, March 30, 2015

Cross Artifacts, Jeffersonville, Ohio

Saturday we drove out to Jeffersonville, Ohio, to an auction held by Cross Artifacts. It was just a little outside of the town, at a large metal building surrounded by farms. It was very easy to find, and there was plenty of parking for the crowd that arrived. The spacious interior had lots of seating, and it was fairly easy to get through the tables to inspect the goods. There was a second ring for coins and furniture, but they were able to control the speaker systems to make it easy for everyone. We were surprised to find that the crowd of around 70 people were happy to pay retail prices for many of the items for sale, but of course as resellers we were looking for the undervalued items. We came away with a few nice Cowan pieces, a little McCoy and Van Briggle, and even a Moorcroft piece. There were several dozen pieces of vintage Weller pottery, but for a variety of reasons we did not end up with any of it. 

Weller stork umbrella stand at Cross Auctions

One neat piece of Weller pottery was a large umbrella stand with a stork on each side. Most of the professionals were in agreement that it had been extensively restored, but it still went for around $300. A very interesting piece with great eye appeal.

Various Weller pieces at Cross Auctions

The Eocean piece was unrestored with a minuscule fleabite to the lip, and the glaze had over a dozen distracting pops all of the way around it. Nonetheless, it still commanded nearly $200 which seemed a bit excessive for the condition. The Hudson piece with daffodils was well-signed and in nice shape, but the bidding got moving pretty quickly. We missed a bid on it and it went for $275 which left our competition with a bit of a bargain.  The silvertone wall pocket came in at $150, and by then most of the really nice stuff was gone.

We did not come away with a large amount of stuff, and missed a few deals, but we still feel we did well and that it was well worth the trip.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Wickliff Auctions, Carmel, Indiana

On the last day of February, 2015, Wickliff Auctions produced a good sized estate auction in Carmel, Indiana. The auction was primarily jewelry and wall art, but there was a smattering of early American art pottery from several major manufacturers. The facilities were excellent as always, the staff was very professional and friendly, and the participants were of the highest caliber. Refreshments were provided throughout the auction, and a security officer was ever-present to ensure the safety of all involved. Catalogs were provided to all participants, with excellent descriptions and each lot sequentially numbered. Two large monitors provided images of the items as the came up for bid so that everyone could clearly see the items.

Sadly, there was only a single Weller Pottery lot, consisting of two vases.

We would normally have been pleased to take these Weller vases home, but the larger vase had a an almost 2 inch by 1 inch chunk of glaze missing on the other side. The blue piece was dirty but in decent shape, so we figured to take them if the bidding remained low. Alas, it was not to be, because although the description included "some imperfections", the internet bidders could not know the extent of the damage. This lot sold to an internet bidder for $250, and with 15% buyers premium and a 7% sales tax, they ended up paying $305  for the pair, not including shipping. This should be an object lesson for anyone who thinks internet bidding is a good substitute for actually being there when purchasing pottery. We stopped bidding at $30.00, and do have great sympathy for the winner.

We did pick up some great deals on Lalique and Steuben Glass, so the day ended well for us. Overall a nice way to spend an afternoon.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

How Not to Have an Auction

Today we headed out to Lancaster Ohio to an auction hosted by John B Auctions. It was a three hour drive, but from the pictures and description it appeared it would be worth it. A large collection of Roseville, Weller, McCoy, and Van Briggle among the usual other antiquities.

The first sign of trouble came when we entered Lancaster and realized that the only address given in the ad was E. Fair Ave. Certainly the auction could not be at an entire street. Searching through the ad we found that it was actually being held at the fairgrounds. Okay, not a major problem. But upon arriving at the fairgrounds, we learned there was also a gun show. A few small dirt roads twisted around several buildings, and every parking spot within sight was filled with pickup trucks. We drove around in circles for a few minutes looking for either a parking space or a sign to indicate which building was for the auction, but neither presented themselves. So we parked far out in the distance and checked each building until we found the one with an auction. The frustration was only beginning.

The pottery and glass was presented together on one side of the room across a multitude of tables. Interspersed between them were a few rows of steel folding chairs, perhaps 25 or so. Looking around the room, it appeared that there were well over 100 people milling about and looking at things, and at least 25 people in line to register. My wife went off to wait in line to register and I tried to get close enough to the tables to inspect the pottery. Indeed, there were a good 20 pieces of vintage Weller pottery, but it was mostly common pieces easily found at any large antique mall. Many were cracked and chipped, but a few cheaper pieces appeared in nice enough shape to possibly drop a bid on. The Roseville for the most part was either chipped, cracked, restored, or simply undesirable. The Van Briggle was decent enough, a good selection and that would make it worth sticking around.

Unfortunately, my wife returned with some disturbing news. John B Auctions has a policy of accepting only cash or in-state check. Being from out-of-state, our business checks have been universally accepted by every other auction house, but here they refused to even consider it. Setting a policy such as this may be one of the stupidest things any auctioneer anywhere has ever done. It appears that John B Auctions feels that out-of-state buyers should go to the bank on Friday and withdraw thousands and thousands of dollars in twenty dollar bills and then wander around in a room completely packed with strangers and no security guards within sight. And we were perfectly prepared to spend thousands, just as we often do. But we are not idiots and we refuse to expose ourselves to that sort of risk.

It appears that John B Auctions simply does not want our business, and we will not be returning to any auction he hosts in the future. His client lost money because we packed up our stuff and left before the auction even began.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Belhorn Auctions, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Last week there was really not much going on as far as Weller pottery was concerned.  A piece here, a few there, but nothing really attention-getting. Things are looking up this week. The Belhorn Auction in Ann Arbor, Michigan will be drawing collectors and dealers from all over. They have listed a few pieces of vintage Weller already, and it appears there may be more by the time the auctions starts on Feb 07, 2015 at 12:00 noon. Here is a little taste of what they have in store:

Nice Weller Marvo Jardiniere

There are enough American art pottery pieces there to bring any serious dealer, including some interesting Rookwood and Roseville. The Kings Fortune is considering making the trip to check it out!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sheridan & Associates, Xenia Ohio

So yesterday, we headed out to Xenia, Ohio for an auction run by Sheridan & Associates. We had been there before, at the fairgrounds. The food was pretty good, especially the homemade chicken soup. You won't go hungry in Xenia!

Anyway, the focus of the auction was actually primitives and pocket knives, but they did have a few dozen pieces of early American art pottery, including 5 pieces of Weller art pottery. The common pieces went pretty much as expected, in the $35-$45 range, and was nothing of note really. However, a nice piece of Dickensware showed up on one of the tables, and the bidding got busy.

I had inspected it closely prior to the action and felt confident that it was original with no restoration. The winning bid came in at $200, and I think whomever grabbed it got a pretty good deal.

I checked the auctions this coming week to see what vintage Weller pottery deals might be hiding out there but found very little. See you next time!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Superior Auction Group, Lancaster, Ohio

This Saturday ( Jan 24, 2015) The Superior Auction Group will have an auction in Lancaster , Ohio starting at 10:00 am. As usual, they appear to have a wide selection of vintage Ohio art pottery, with many nice examples of Weller Pottery. In my experience the prices can be very unpredictable here, with standard Louwelsa often going for below market but blue Louwelsa going into the stratosphere.

Here is a good looking Blue Louwelsa piece that is sure to garner plenty of bids:

Don't forget to check out our selection of Weller art pottery at The Kings Fortune!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

S.E. Auction, Zanesville Ohio

Today we went to an auction in Zanesville, Ohio, hosted by S.E. Auctions. We always love these, at the Knights of Columbus just of I-70. There were well over 200 pieces of good art pottery for bid, with a large selection of Wisecarver, good representation by Rookwood, Roseville, lots of others, but especially some choice pieces of Weller Pottery. We always find this auction well run, and today was no exception, with the majority well cataloged and described.

Here are two standouts from the auction.

Blue Louwselsa is as rare as hens teeth, and this beautiful example was pristine. We had hoped this gem would be overlooked, and that we could pick it up on the cheap. It was not to be, with the bids quickly being jumped, and the final hammer price hitting a whopping $650 plus 10%  buyers premium. With prices moving higher each auction when these things pop up, in a few years $650 might appear to be a bargain.

This huge Kingfisher did not appear to have any damage or repairs, and garnered lots of interest prior to the bidding. We have seen comparable examples in the past surpass $800, but today the buyers shrugged and this one walked out the door for $400 plus 10% buyers premium. Someone got a great deal as these are always in great demand.

We did pick up a few standard Louwelsa pieces, as well as a big Dickensware Jard with a few flea bites on the cheap, but only spent big on three pieces: A Brush jewel vase that was not in the catalog, a 13" #25 Peters and Reed Landsun landscape vase, and a wonderful Rookwood daffodil vase executed by A.R.V. In all it was a great auction, with something for everyone. Look for our bounty to be available on The Kings Fortune within the week.