Sunday, December 23, 2007
Daryle Lambert: Where Beauty Began - Marblehead Pottery
I have outlined several different pottery companies for you to watch for throughout these blogs. I hope that you are beginning to see what an advantage having knowledge of multiple companies in your head is, as you are looking around. You are becoming the expert, and these will be your secrets to success.
Today we're adding Marblehead Pottery to our ever-growing knowledge base. This very simple small studio was started in 1904 to help teach ceramics to sanitarium patients but it became something entirely different. Arthur Baggs, founder of Marblehead, was a master potter at that time, and Marblehead produced some of the best Arts and Crafts pottery of the period. The factory was closed in 1936.
The carved Marblehead pieces are the most valuable, and many have as many as six colors included in the design. If you run across one that is heavily carved with five to six colors, the value may be well in the five figure range or more. The favorite colors are dark green, blue, light green, pink, yellow, brown, gray and orange. The more common the piece the less desirable it is, but just having the Marblehead mark on it means that it will bring several hundred dollars.
The subject matter for most of these pieces included simple nautical designs on matte pebbled backgrounds. Also used were many geomectic designs, and these are much in demand today, bringing very high dollars. Marblehead also made tiles, so watch for those as well.
Damage on Marblehead pottery pieces will be a real problem for collectors and might reduce the price as much as fifty percent. This is because Marblehead pottery was hard and durable, so you will find less damage to these pieces than most of the other pottery pieces.
When I first became interested in Marblehead Pottery, I found a small vase that I didn't think looked like anything special, so I offered under $100 for it. When the seller accepted my offer, I began to wonder if I had paid too much for this 4" tall vase with a few small carved flowers with three colors.
I put the vase up on eBay, hoping to make a few dollar. Then, the questions started to roll in. "Is there any damage?" and "Are you sure it's got three colors?" From the responses, I knew that this piece must be something special, but what were they willing to pay? After seven days I had my answer. It sold for $3,500.00. Today it would probably be even more.
Marblehead's main mark is a circle with a ship between an M on one side and a P on the other.
Today's Photo: Marblehead vase sold through Craftsman Auctions for $33,600 in 2006
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