Monday, March 24, 2003
Thoughts about the new Cincinnati Art Museum Cincinnati Wing (which will exhibit many never before seen examples of Cincinnati Faience and Rookwood) along with an article in this week’s Antique Week compel a discussion of what could soon prove to be an escalation of Art Pottery prices similar to that which occurred after the auction of The Glover Collection in 1980.
The pottery exhibits in the new Cincinnati Wing along with increased historical scholarship should provide greater public awareness of, and collector interest in, the importance of the early Cincinnati potteries to American art history.
The Antique Week story details another contributing factor to an eventual increase of Art Pottery prices. The demise of the local auction though the potential global audience of the internet.
The article details the envelope-pushing sales efforts of Indianapolis auctioneer Dan Ripley. Mr. Ripley, on March 1, sold an 11” Rookwood Vellum 1908 (pictured on the left) vase of swimming fish by Kataro Shirayamadani for a more than respectable $3,000 to “an active floor bidder”. That bidder, thanks to Ripley’s marketing efforts were not only competing with others on the auction floor but with phone bidders and Ebayers via Ebay Live Auctions.
As a comparison (and take all comparisons with a grain of salt as each piece of artist created Rookwood is unique) a similar 8 5/8”Vellum 1911 by E. T. Hurley (pictured on the right) sold, at the June 2, 2002 Cincinnati Art Gallery spring auction, for $200 under its presale estimate of $1,500.
The successful floor bidder at the Ripley auction paid a 5% buyers premium (phone and internet bidders pay 15%) while the CAG bidder paid and additional 15%.
There might still be a deal or two lurking somewhere out in the hinterlands but I doubt it for “the time’s they are a changing.”