Ceramics Produced Fireworks during Garth’s March Americana Auction During Garth’s March 11-12, 2011 Americana auction, the ceramics provided continual fireworks as bidders took home a variety of vessels at very strong prices.
The firing of objects made from earthenware, porcelain, and stoneware comprise the larger category known as ceramics and during Garth’s March 11-12, 2011 Americana auction, the ceramics definitely provided continual fireworks as bidders, both in-house and in absentia, took home a variety of vessels, some typical and some more unusual, at very strong prices. With over 800 lots offered in two sessions, the top lot of the sale was a monumental Cochiti effigy figure dating to the late 19th – early 20th century, which sold for $17,625 against an estimate of $4/8,000. With outstretched arms and polychromed surface, the figure practically beseeched the audience to embrace the chance to be the new owner. Of the approximately twenty-five lots of effigy figures and vessels from the collection of Charles Shanafelt (b. 1855), most were collected around 1900 and 1915 as figurative pottery from New Mexico pueblos basically did not exist before the tourist market developed. Placed in the "relic room" of an Ohio county courthouse, the collection remained there until later in the 20th century when transferred to a local Ohio historical institution which eventually deaccessioned it to sell with the proceeds utilized to further its mission.
The other lots of effigy pottery from the Shanafelt Collection did not disappoint. Garth’s Vice President Andrew Richmond gladly reported that “On the whole, the Cochiti collection did very well for the Ohio institution surpassing the top estimates, which will allow them to remain open and continue to preserve their area’s history.” A smaller 10 ¼” high figure of a man more than tripled it high estimate realizing a final price of $6,756. An owl-form Cochiti jar with molded eyes and beak fell within estimate at $1,145, as did a large figure of a deer with handle and painted designs at $3,760. Many other pieces sold in and around estimate in the 3 and 4 figure ranges including a pitcher in the form of a large prairie dog or toad with a lizard on its back. The boldly painted design garnered a sale price of $2,468.
Garth’s president and auctioneer Amelia Jeffers commented that bidders were overall “a happy, buying audience. You can feel the optimism and life coming back to the salerooms...very different buying dynamic than a couple of years ago. It is refreshing and encouraging.” Jeffers also noted that Garth’s is experiencing a steady 6-10% increase in new bidders from sale to sale.
A variety of individual ceramic items representing many styles also drew fire power from bidders. A banded mocha pitcher with rows of cat's-eyes above and below a central band with tulips was estimated at $1,500-3,000), but skyrocketed to a price of $7,344. An English creamware cauliflower form teapot and caddy with green glazed leaves cultivated a value of $1,293. Of the thirty lots of spatter sold, pieces in red, blue, green, yellow, purple and rainbow combinations were offered. Three schoolhouse pattern plates performed particularly well with a red and yellow schoolhouse within a blue border selling