Published: November 16, 2010
“This stoneware and redware auction is a very special one for us,” Tony Zipp said, “as we have been searching for a home for our auction business and we have found it in the wonderful, historic Gorsuch Barn, built in 1841.” And this first sale on Saturday, November 6, is a day that the Zipp family †Anthony, Barbara, Brandt, Luke and Mark †will long remember. More than 150 people filled the new gallery, bidders used the Internet, the phones were busy, and at the end of the day only one lot went unsold out of the 380 offered.
“We have three people trying to buy that lot as we speak,” Tony Zipp said three days later.
The barn, built in 1841 by John M. Gorsuch for the storage of corn and wheat harvested off his hundreds of acres in Baltimore County, has been called “the finest example in Maryland of brick louvers set in native stone.” Over the years the barn has seen many uses, including being converted into retail space in the 1950s.
“We have undone a major portion of that and restored it to its original state, but we still have more to do,” Tony said. At present, impressive original beams are visible in the gallery and another wall is still to come down. A second floor over the front entrance will be added gallery space, as well as outfitted with tables and chairs where bidders can sit and eat while raising their paddles.
All prices quoted include the 15 percent buyer’s premium, which applies when payment is made with check or cash. A 20 percent buyer’s premium is charged for credit card payments, and online purchases are subject to an additional buyer’s premium of three percent of the hammer price.
The sale kicked off at 10 am with a rare and important 6-gallon stoneware jar with freehand cobalt inscription, Alexander and William Boughner, Greensboro, Penn., 1863, cylindrical with heavily tooled midsection, semirounded rim and ribbed lug handles. The inscription reads “A. & W.B. / Greensboro, PA / Oct. 9th 1863.” It has only two chips to the end of one handle and a minor line at base, otherwise in excellent condition. It was found recently in an Ohio home and sold for $7,360 against a high estimate of $6,000.
A unique and important Anna Pottery stoneware shoe inkwell, Cornwall Kirkpatrick, Anna, Ill., elaborately decorated with crosshatched incising, impressed lace holes, applied heel patch and ink hole near the front, 6¾ inches long, sold for $4,025, just over the high estimate.
A stoneware figure of a dog on base with cobalt and Albany slip decoration, probably Midwestern origin, possibly Texarkana Pottery, circa 1880, molded figure of a dog with collar, upswept tail and lop ears, the base with scalloped edge, sold within estimate at $4,025. The piece measures 5¾ inches high, 4½ inches wide, and the dog is in as-made condition.
A very rare small-size stoneware presentation pitcher, incised “M.A. Byrnes,” Baltimore, circa 1860, measures 73/8 inches tall and sold over the high $1,800 estimate for $3,680. The ovoid body holds about one quart with tall collar and applied strap handle, the body decorated with a flowering vine design below the incised name. The catalog states that “Presentation stoneware from Baltimore is extremely rare and it is of desirable form and size.”
A large-sized redware flowerpot with ornamental handles, incised “Anthony W. Bacher 1877,” Winchester, Va., origin, with tooled shoulder and crimped rim, open handles curled against the sides, 10½ inches high, sold just over the high estimate at $3,450. The catalog states that it is “possibly the finest Bacher flowerpot of this form known.”
Lot 251, a rare stoneware pitcher with finely incised floral decoration, attributed to William Morgan of Morgan partnering with merchant Thomas Amos, Baltimore, circa 1820, ovoid with rounded foot, ribbed handle, thin rim molding and decorated along the collar and midsection with a delicately incised motif of daisy heads joined by leafy vines, sold within the $2/3,000 estimate at $2,587. This pitcher, measuring 8¾ inches high, was recently discovered in the Midwest.
Among the redware pieces sold was a glazed jar with bold copper slip brushwork, possibly Morgantown, W.Va., dating from the early Nineteenth Century. This cylindrical jar with rounded foot and tooled rim sold just about twice the high estimate at $2,300. Several lots later, another redware jar with lots of color, olive and orange-spotted ground, probably New England, Gothic, N.H., second quarter of the Nineteenth Century, 10¼ inches high, went well over the $700 high estimate, selling for $1,955.
One of the many stenciled pieces in the sale was a 2-gallon stoneware jar with cobalt foliate decoration and the maker’s name, “MAnUFACtUrED, BY / J.H. MILLER / BrAnDEnBUrG, KY,” circa 1860, measuring 11¼ inches high. Listed as “a good example from a rare Midwestern pottery,” it sold within estimate at $2,300.
This sale totaled just over $240,000 and drew people from many states, well outside Maryland, including Michigan, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware, Illinois, New York State and Pennsylvania. Phone bids came in from all over the country and one collector flew in from Florida.
“The high-end and low-end pieces did about what we expected, but we were pleased to see middle-range pieces do very well. There was great interest there, reflected in strong bids,” Tony Zipp said.
With opening night jitters now history, the Zipp family is planning its course for the future. “Often, in the past, we have been offered things other than stoneware and redware to sell, and have always refused them. But not any more. Now we are enlarging our field and plan to have, in addition to our schedule of pottery sales, three general antique merchandise auctions throughout the year,” Tony said, adding, “We already have over 100 lots of good things, and are looking at more.”
The first general merchandise sale will probably be toward the end of February to early March, followed by the first pottery auction of 2011.
For additional information, www.crockerfarm.com or 410-472-2016.
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