Dave the Slave, Thomas Chandler, Gordy pieces to be sold May 28 in Georgia Dozens of examples of highly collectible Southern pottery by such renowned artisans as Dave the Slave, Thomas Chandler, W.T.B. Gordy and others will be sold May 28 by Cagle Auction in Jefferson, Ga.
News-Antique.com - Apr 19,2012 - (JEFFERSON, Ga.) – Dozens of examples of highly collectible Southern pottery by such renowned artisans as Dave the Slave, Thomas Chandler, W.T.B. Gordy and others will be sold on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28, by Cagle Auction Company, at the Jefferson Civic Center, located at 65 Kissam Street in Jefferson, a town north and east of Atlanta, just off Interstate 85.
Between 300 and 400 quality lots will cross the block in a range of categories, to include country store and advertising items, petroliana (gas station memorabilia), and rare and unusual collectibles. But the Southern pottery – always in high demand by the many discerning collectors who desire it – will no doubt command center stage. The auction will start right at 1 p.m. (EST).
Dave the Slave was the name most commonly used for the enslaved African-American potter who was born around 1801 and died in the mid-1870s. He lived in Edgefield, S.C., and produced stunning examples of alkaline-glazed stoneware pottery that are in very high demand today. One of his pieces sold at an auction held by modern potter Billy Ray Hussey for $197,000.
Cagle Auction’s Memorial Day sale will feature three works attributed to Dave the Slave. One is a two-gallon jug signed “L.M.” (for Lewis Miles, the man who owned the pottery workshop where Dave worked and in fact owned Dave for a time) and authenticated by Steve Ferrell, a revered authority on Southern pottery pieces. The jug should sell for $8,000-$12,000.
“This jug is rare and unusual because Dave the Slave didn’t make many jugs and was much more known for his large, lug-handled jars, most of them five-to-seven gallons,” said Nathan Cagle of Cagle Auction Company. “To see a two-gallon, single-handled jug is highly unusual and something you rarely see come up for bid.” Cagle dated the jug to around 1850.
The second Dave piece is, in fact, a two-gallon jar, much more customary for the artisan. It is unsigned, but has all the hallmarks – lug handles, characteristic glaze and form – that would suggest it's a Dave the Slave. The jug has a pre-sale estimate of $4,000-$6,000. “Dave carried a crude form throughout his work and it’s relatively easy to spot a true example,” Mr. Cagle said.
The third piece, however, is a bit of a mystery. It is a red jar that some experts say is by Dave the Slave (an impressed, or scratched, horseshoe mark at the top, and a collared mouth all suggest Dave the Slave). But other experts claim it is an English jar made around 1630. English characteristics include an extruded handle and iron body. It is estimated to bring $2,000-$5,000.
But who is correct? “It almost doesn’t matter,” Mr. Cagle remarked. “If it’s English, then it’s a survivor that made the trip over on a ship in the 1630s and was then copied by the earliest Edgefield potters. That makes it extremely historically significant. If it’s by Dave the Slave – well, that makes it automatically