CINCINNATI – June 7 and 8, 2008, at Treadway Galleries meant two important things to the art pottery market: First, that sales, despite high gas prices and a struggling national economy, are strong and steady for quality material, and second, that Don Treadway’s move across the river to the Northern Kentucky Convention Center – a mere minute or two over the bridge from Cincinnati – was indeed a good one.
While in a separate state altogether, the Kentucky location is actually closer to Treadway’s near downtown Cincinnati location. It also proved easier to access for buyers, and made the logistics of the auction’s operation much smoother than previous sales.
“Overall, I was extremely happy with the turnout and the results,” said Treadway. “We had nice things in really good condition with very few reserves. That’s a good combination.”
Rookwood and Roseville dominated the 750-lot sale, with Rookwood doing a good amount of the shining. There were significant examples of pottery from Roseville, Weller and Buffalo in the sale, as well as a healthy selection of etchings and artwork from one of Rookwood’s most famous artists, E.T. Hurley.
The truism in the antiques business that quality will always sell proved accurate, as the sale produced good numbers across the board, without yielding any world record prices. That, however, matters little to Treadway, who said he would take solid prices top to bottom over one or two spectacular lots and the rest at mediocre levels anytime.
“The market is good for good items,” Treadway said, “but it’s weak for run of the mill stuff. Certain aspects of art pottery are hit and miss. The prices on Roseville were extremely strong. I took that merchandise, made sure it was in good condition, all selling without reserves. The consignor was very pleased with the results”
In fact, less than 12% of the sale went on the block with a reserve, another risky move that paid off for the gallery.
“Anything in standard glaze rather with an Indian or silver overlay struggled,” Treadway said. “Pastel pieces were hot, plaques did well and matt glazed florals sold well.”
The top lots of the sale were as diverse as the form of art pottery itself. The best examples of Rookwood brought good prices, with a Rookwood plaque with a Green Vellum glaze and sailboats by Sallie Coyne sold for $9,000, an A.R. Valentien Rookwood plaque with a Sea Green glaze brought $10,000, and a Rookwood plaque with Vellum glaze and a Venetian scene by Carl Schmidt brought $12,000.
Further Rookwood pieces that shone in the sale with good prices included a vellum glazed vase with a landscape by Sara Sax that gaveled at $4,250; a vellum glaze vase by Kataro Shirayamadani brought $4,000; a Hurley vellum glaze vase brought $9,000; a sea green vase by Matt Daly saw a final price of $6,500, and a Fred Rothenbusch vellum glazed plaque finished at $9,000. Hurley showed more strong prices with an Iris glaze vase topping out at $14,000. Sara Sax also showed her popularity as a Rookwood designer with a vellum glaze landscape that finished at $10,000.
Carl Schmidt was well represented with two oil on board paintings, both of “Venetian Sailboats,” that brought $3,750 and $3,250 respectively.
Fraunfelter/Royal Rochester also showed strong sales, especially the Modernistic patterns, topping estimates and bringing strong prices for a waffle service ($1,300), a tea service ($1,750), and two coffee services ($1,850 and $1,750, respectively).
Some of the most surprising Roseville sales came not from the best pieces, but rather from pieces that brought as much as double and triple their pre-sale estimates. A Wincraft dealer sign went for $2,100 and a large double-handled Futura vase brought $3,600.
Buffalo Pottery also showed strength with several surprise lots, including Emerald Deldare Ware pieces, a chamber stick and a vase that brought $3,000 and $3,200 respectively.
Prices presented here do not include the 15% buyer’s premium.
Treadway Gallery’s next sale will be its Sept. 14 sale of 20th Century Art and Design.
For more information, call 708-383-5234, or go online to www.treadwaygallery.com.