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Antiques Considered - February 16, 2011

A gentleman from Alabama, who now lives in the Northern Neck, bought this small pottery vase at an antique shop in Guntersville, Alabama for $3.00 nearly forty years ago.  The flowers are hand-painted with no stenciling, but the vase bears no maker’s mark.  It has no cracks or crazing, and the owner says he bought it because he liked its bright yellow color.  The flower painting on the front side is more extensive than on the rear.  The bases of the four feet are unglazed.
 From the description a couple of conclusions are readily apparent. 

First, the vase is American made, as evidenced by the absence of a mark stating the county of origin, which also means that it was intended for the American market.  If it had been in line for export, it would have borne a U.S.A. stamp on the bottom.
 Second, not having a maker’s trademark, indicates it was mass-produced in a factory not concerned with patents or production protection.  The painting is quite good, and the ovoid shape is appealing.  I suspect that the vase came from a factory in the Midwest or Mid-Atlantic, but without a trademark, certitude in ascribing it is impossible.  As to a date of manufacture, I would say the 1920s or 1930s.
The $3.00 investment was a good one, for the vase today is easily worth $35.00.  It has excellent proportions, and shows a good level of sophistication on the part of the artist who did the flowers.  
Guntersville is one of the principal tourist centers of Northern Alabama, and has numerous antique shops, all the result of the Tennessee Valley Authority having built dams there to harness the Tennessee River for the generation of hydroelectric power.  The town’s main focus is on fishing and boating, but as the purchase of this vase indicates, the city offers something for antiques enthusiasts as well.
Happy Antiquing!
Lisa and Henry Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont Hwy., 22570 (P. O. Box 35). Wicomico Church, Va 22570. Write to them or e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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