YORK, Pa. — Crocker Farm, Inc., will be holding an important, unreserved single-owner auction of antique American redware and stoneware on Jan. 30 at the York Expo Center’s Old Main Building in York, Pa. The 250+ lot sale of the collection of William Kelly Young of Fort Worth, Texas, will include many seldom-offered examples from Pennsylvania, Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, and the Southeastern U.S., as well as a good selection of blue-decorated stoneware and redware from across the country.
Mr. Young began collecting in the mid 1980s and amassed the majority of his collection during the early 1990s. A large number of Young’s items were acquired from many of the nation’s leading auction houses, antiques dealers, and collectors. Anthony Zipp, co-owner of Crocker Farm, Inc., notes, “This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in early American pottery. There are a lot of special items in this sale, most of which are fresh-to-the-market, purchased by Mr. Young 15 to 20 years ago.”
Young’s interests in ceramics were varied in style and origin. He grew to appreciate, for example, the bold simply-glazed stoneware forms of the South as well as the light-clayed, cobalt-decorated pieces of the Northeast. Most of all, however, Young had a special passion for figural redware. He came to own several very fine examples in this genre, which will be sold on Jan. 30, including a large-sized deer with black glaze (estimate $3,000-$5,000), previously sold by Sotheby’s in 1982 as part of the Pauline Heilman collection, and a rare redware squirrel (estimate $2,000-$4,000), also previously owned by Heilman and noted collector, Richard Flanders Smith. He also purchased several important figural redware banks, sold in the Seamen’s Bank Collection at Christie’s in 1991. Many of the banks to be sold are regarded as some of the rarest examples of figural redware to be offered at auction in years. All originate from Pennsylvania, are similar in style, and unusually large. These lots include a rhinoceros, girl seated in a chair, dog holding a stump, a covered wagon, and a chick pecking a worm.
Several important lots of Shenandoah Valley pottery will be sold. “We believe this sale will offer the finest grouping of Shenandoah pottery since the Deyerle sale back in 1995,” says Zipp. Headlining a strong selection of John Bell pottery from Waynesboro, Pa., will be a very important redware figure of a whippet, stamped twice “JOHN BELL,” and retaining an exceptional silver and green painted surface. Estimated at $8,000 to $10,000, the figure is the first example signed by the reknowned potter to sell at auction in over a decade.
A finely-glazed redware holy water font, or stoup, estimated at $5,000 to $7,000 and signed by Winchester, Va., potter, Anthony Bacher, will also be sold. Also estimated at $5,000 to $7,000, is an outstanding redware vase with applied floral decoration and white slip tulip design, attributed to J. Eberly & Co. of Strasburg, Va. It is believed to be the finest example of pottery by this firm to sell in several years.
A number of high quality examples of multi-glazed redware from Strasburg will also cross the block, including a finely-glazed wall pocket, a miniature creamer, a highly unusual molded pitcher, and a rare triple-spouted pitcher, which is illustrated in William E. Wiltshire, III’s book, Folk Pottery of the Shenandoah Valley. A highly-decorated stoneware pitcher, signed by Solomon Bell of Strasburg, Va., (estimate $2,500-$3,500), has strong cobalt brushwork and an unusually stylish form.
Several rare examples of stoneware from throughout the country will be offered, including a good selection of miniatures. Among them are a squat-formed Western Pennsylvania pitcher (estimate $1,500-$2,500), a Baltimore pitcher (estimate $1,000-$2,000), and a New York State floral-decorated jar (estimate $1,500-$2,500). The finest among this group is a miniature jar with incised bird and leaf motif (estimate $2,000-$3,000), attributed to Albany, N.Y., possibly from the factory of Paul Cushman.
Other outstanding stoneware smalls in the sale include several well-decorated flasks and a heavily-decorated gemel or double jug (estimate $2,500-$4,000), initialed J.B. and attributed to Philadelphia potter John Brelsford.
A number of important examples of Southern stoneware will cross the block. Perhaps the most visually-stunning lot in the entire sale is a painted stoneware temperance jug with applied figural decorations made by Kosse, Texas, potter, J.L. Stone. Stone previously worked with the famous Kirkpatrick brothers of Anna, Ill., and modeled this presentation jug after their work, applying slithering snakes, a lizard, a centipede, and a horrified man consumed by the dangers of alcohol, to its surface. Estimated at $8,000-$12,000, the jug bears the incised inscription “J.F. Johnson & J.W. Dillon / MANUFACTURERS/ OF / ALL KINDS OF / STONEWARE / Kosse Texas” on one side, and the words “MADE & PRESENTED TO THE Fire Brick & Tile Company By J.L. STONE” on the opposite side.
Two fine signed examples of alkaline-glaze stoneware by Vale, N.C., master potter Daniel Seagle will be sold: an eight-gallon jar (estimate $3,000-$5,000) and a six-gallon jug (estimate $2,500-$4,000). A Daniel Hartsoe three-gallon jug with glass drips, estimated at $2,000-$3,000, is considered a very fine example of the potter’s work.
Offerings from Edgefield, S.C., include a three-gallon kaolin-slip-decorated jar, stamped “CHANDLER” (estimate $2,000-$3,000), a two-gallon jar with iron slip “broken stem” floral motif (estimate $2,000-$3,000), and an alkaline-glazed “Lm” jar, attributed to Dave the Slave (estimate $2,500-$3,500).
Also of note are two Moravian redware bottles by Rudolph Christ of Salem, N.C., which were purchased by Mr. Young at Christie’s in 1993. The first, in the form of a feeding squirrel (estimate $4,000-$6,000), is decorated with a colorful “Whieldon” glaze molded after English pottery. The second, in the form of a bear with a slain farm animal underfoot (estimate $3,000-$5,000), is covered in a dark brown lead and manganese glaze.
A preview will take place on Jan. 29, at the York, Pa., Expo Center’s Old Main Building from 1-4 p.m., as well as from 8-10 a.m. Jan. 30, before the auction start. Live Internet bidding is available through Artfact.com. Absentee and phone bidding will also be available.
For more information, visit www.crockerfarm.com or call 410-337-5090.
Photos courtesy Crocker Farm, Inc.
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