Published: November 11, 2014
By: Andrea Valluzzo
SPARKS, MD. — The notation of an item as being “rare and important” stands out in an auction catalog, but Crocker Farm has the enviable problem that nearly every lot that performed well in its October 25 auction had the descriptor of “rare and important.” While one might be included to otherwise dismiss this as portentous, buyers here know that this means just what it says. So, for the sake of brevity, readers can just mentally add the words “rare and important” before each item discussed on this page.
Crocker Farm has been selling stoneware for more than 30 years and this auction was its third highest-grossing auction in its history, totaling $856,462, including the buyer’s premium. “It was humbling to break the records that we did. We have really made an effort to make people aware of stoneware’s importance as an American art form — to see it appreciated at the level it is now is very meaningful for us,” said Luke Zipp, who along with his whole family, led by patriarch Tony Zipp, runs Crocker Farm.
The auction was small, with just over 350 lots, but featured the crème de la crème of stoneware and redware. It also smashed four world auction records for Pennsylvania stoneware, Virginia stoneware, Anna Pottery and for New Jersey redware. Diversity seemed to be the central theme of the sale with top selling lots coming out of New Jersey, Vermont and New York potteries in addition to the fine Pennsylvania, Virginia and Shenandoah Valley examples routinely seen here.
“I would say that any given sale will typically have top lots that range from the Northeast to the South to the Midwest. This sale we were really privileged to be able to break significant records from all three of those areas in one auction. We had over 70 different consignors for this auction, with consignment groups ranging from many pieces to a single item. As is always the case, consignors participated from all over the country,” Zipp said.
After putting one auction to bed, the Zipp family immediately starts focusing on its next sale. “Honestly the vast majority of pieces we handle come to us out of the blue and we have been really blessed to develop a reputation that attracts consignors,” he said. “There really does always seem to be something new and exciting around the corner, no matter how many outstanding examples we have handled in the past.”
For additional information, www.crockerfarm.com or 410-472-2016.
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