Sunday, November 25, 2007

Daryle Lambert - The Best of Chicago Pottery - Teco

Many years ago I was at a neighborhood yard sale when I spotted a large green vase. I took a close look at it and seriously wondered why anyone would want to have it in their house. It was inexpensive, so I bought it anyway. I think I paid somewhere around $50 for it.

When I got home, I did some research and discovered that it was Teco Pottery, which, at the time, I had never heard of. When I found out that the vase I was holding could bring up to $2,500 I almost fell off my chair. I decided to immediately sell it, and it brought me $2,250. You can bet I will never look at that plain green color the same again.

Teco --The Terra-Cotta Tile and Ceramic Company was formed in 1887 by Williams D. Gates. This immediately became associated with the Prairie School movement and was included in most homes of the time that featured the Arts and Crafts Style. At the time, Prairie School and Arts and Crafts were new terms for this Southern boy. I was use to terms like Primitives and Folk Art, and these were the things we searched for in the South.

Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect, was one of the most notable members of this movement. I found his designs often imitated the great American Prairies that surrounded Chicago. This seemed to play in to his love of the Western movement that was happening in this country.

Some of the purists wanted to discount the value of Teco pieces, because there were very few pieces hand thrown, and most were massed produced. They had some of the largest factories producing pottery at the time and so their production was extremely large. In fact, Teco had over 10,000 different shapes in its catalogues. This pottery was primarily a commercial venture, and I am still rather surprised that it commands the prices that it does.

When others were making high glazed and very decorative pottery, Teco produced great designs and the highest quality pottery on the market. Most of their pieces are matt green with very little secondary glazing, however they sometimes do have a charcoal effect on them.

The variety that William Gates created with his pottery does amaze me, but even till this day, it looks common to me.

Damage to a piece of Teco will devalue it more than most other pottery, and as a general rule, it should be avoided. This is because it was mass produced, and true collectors will wait for a prefect example before they buy.

The larger the pieces in Teco seems to be where the value is. While many of the Teco shapes come in brown, maroon, blue, yellow, and pink, it is the Teco Green that is most valued by today's collectors and will bring in the highest price. Some pieces will bring tens of thousands of dollars at the better auction houses such as Treadway and Toomey Auction Gallery and Rago’s.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Teco mark I've shown in today's picture. Pieces of Teco will often have this mark stamped several times on their bottom and often the mark will be almost invisible.

So, be on the lookout for Teco, because it just might make your day. A good reference book on Teco Art Pottery is American Art Pottery by David Rago. Why not order either a used or new copy through our Amazon Link to help support the 31 Club Wealth Building?

Be sure to visit our web site for more information about how you can join the 31 Club Wealth Building and start your own race to your millions! Read more about it here!"The Guy in the Red Tie" --- Daryle Lambert

If you haven't yet had a chance to see what we've got listed in the 31 Gallery & Marketplace, click on over and take a look. You might even find a real bargain. We've got many high quality items priced reasonably. If you have a high quality piece you'd like us to find a buyer for, why not consign your piece to us. No high fees when you sell with us. Just contact us here.

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  1. Hi Daryle,

    Good information about Teco pottery.

    One other thing that will generally increase the value of any Teco piece is the number of handles. The more handles the better in most cases.

  2. Hi Gary

    You are so right in fact most collecibles with handles command premium prices because the handles are so easily damaged. Thanks for sharing.