Since paintings are the highest priced items that you will find in the marketplace, it is only reasonable that the artist that painted them has a huge bearing on their value. A painting by an unknown artist may be worth less than the frame that houses it, however, the right signature can mean the painting is worth millions. Yes, the name can mean everything but as I write this I have to laugh because I wonder what my name is worth. But now, back to the subject.
It is a very well known fact that a signature means money on a painting but what about pottery? Yes the same is true of pottery but to a lesser extent. A piece of Newcomb signed by Sadie Irvine, Henrietta Bailey or Anna Frances Simpson can bring huge prices while simpler pieces might just bring a few hundred dollars. Rookwood pottery is another example where the signature means everything. If you are looking at a large piece of Rookwood signed by the likes of Matthew Daly, Carl Schmidt, Sara Sax or Kataro Shirayamadani and you wish to purchase it, your wallet had better be fat.
Now we are getting down to items that most people can't evaluate even if they are signed like books, letters, photos, and glass. (Yes, an artist's signature on a glass piece can add substantially to its value.) In these cases where an expert's opinion is needed, never hesitate to look one up and ask. Guessing is for fools and we know that there are no fools in the Daryle Lambert Antique and Collectible Club, right?
But this brings me to a story that just came my way. I was asked about this wonderful Pickard 14" vase that was decorated with a wonderful bird of paradise. The person asking me the question about value was surprised when I said the value would depend on who decorated the vase. You see there are artists that worked for Pickard that command much higher values for their works than the average artist that worked for the company. I personally have collectors that will buy almost anything I find decorated by Edward Challinor, Louis Falatek, Paul Gasper, Carl Koenig, Fredrick Lindner, Curtis Marker or Frank Yeschek. Often I find a family member who wishes to purchase the pieces of Pickard that were produced by their relative, so if you find any let me know. There is a great book on Pickard by Alan Reed, whom I knew but now I believe has passed on to a better life. It is called Collector's Encyclopedia of Pickard China. This would be a great book to add to your library and you might find it on Amazon or Abe books.
Signatures on items can make a difference but be sure that you study any great piece for several minutes before you decide it isn't signed because often the signatures can be missed if they aren't on the bottom of the item.