Collectors, dealers, and pottery enthusiasts alike, gathered at the York, Pennsylvania Expo Center's Old Main Building on January 30 to "talk pots" and vie for a piece of the William Kelly Young collection. Young, a native Texan, was a well-known figure at an-tiques shows and auctions up and down the east coast throughout the 1980's and 90's, amassing a large collection of American redware and stoneware during that time. Well-liked by a number of the auction attendees, Young was described as a gregarious and generous man, as well as a strong competitor at auctions. The sale, consisting of 246 lots of pottery and twenty-five lots of books, grossed $376,258 (including a 15% buyer's premium).
William Kelly Young Collection Sold By Crocker Farm
Young's collection was eclectic, ranging from redware plates from Pennsylvania to miniature cobalt-decorated stoneware from the Northeast to large-sized, simply-glazed vessels from the South. Some pieces were utilitarian, others were highly decorative.
The majority of the sale was comprised of Pennsylvania redware, in all its various forms. Most attractive to bidders from this re-gion and medium were a number of redware animal figures. Most brought strong prices. An extremely rare Somerset County, Penn-sylvania, redware inkstand with applied dog, signed "Henry Grady / 1843," was received with fierce bidding between the floor and a phone bidder, with it finally selling to the floor over its $4/6,000 estimate at $9,200. A large-sized figure of a deer, previously from the Pauline Heilman collection, sold over its $3/5,000 estimate for $6,325. A figure of a bear holding a drum (est. $2/4,000) brought $2,875 and a second bear holding a stump (est. $2/3,000) sold over the phone for $4,255, despite restoration to one arm. A figure of a squirrel holding a nut, also ex-Heilman collection, sold above its $2/4,000 estimate to a phone bidder for $4,830. A pair of molded and slip-decorated spaniels (est. $2/4,000) brought $4,600. A large-sized figure of a dog guarding a child sold above its $3/5,000 estimate at $5,980. Floor and phone bidders battled over a lead and manganese glazed figure of a goose. Seated atop an octagonal base and embellished with incised feathers and impressed circles, the bird was eventually sold to a determined phone bidder for $4,485, over twice its $1,200/1,800 estimate.
Nine large-sized redware banks, previously from the Seamen's Bank for Savings collection, were offered. All had previously been sold by Christie's in 1991. A slip-decorated parrot bank (est. $2/4,000) sold well over estimate at $6,325. A bank in the form of a chick with worm (est. $2/4000) brought $2,070, and an example in the form of an Indian with stump (est. $2/4,000) sold for $4,715. An owl bank estimated at $1,500/3,000 was hammered down at $1,725. Leading the group was a Conestoga wagon bank, which carried an estimate of $1,500/2,500 and sold for $7,590, despite condition issues. Anthony Zipp, co-owner of Crocker Farm, Inc., commented, "Very few banks of this style ever come up for sale, which made it difficult for us to estimate what they would bring. We were overall satisfied with the results from this group."
Young had strong interest in Shenandoah Valley pottery and acquired a number of rare examples over the years, which generally sold well. A redware holy water font signed by Anthony Bacher, brought over twice its high estimate, selling to the phone for $14,950. A redware figure of a whippet, stamped John Bell and carrying an estimate of $8/10,000, also brought $14,950. A John Bell redware cake crock with lid (est. $1,200/1800) sold for $3,450. A signed Solomon Bell redware urn with lion's head handles sold above its $2/3,000 estimate for $4,255, and a stoneware pitcher, also by Bell, sold between estimates at $1,955. Several pieces of multi-glazed redware from Strasburg, VA crossed the block. Among them were a wall pocket with applied bird (est. $2/4,000) which sold for $5,175, a signed S. BELL & SON creamer (est. $1/1,800) which sold for $2,530, and miniature pitcher (est. $2/3,000) which was hammered down at $4,600.
Approximately ninety lots of stoneware were offered, including a number of miniatures and flasks. The top miniature lot was a Baltimore, Maryland, pitcher with cobalt clover decoration which carried an estimate of $1/2,000 and brought $4,255. A miniature Western PA pitcher (est. $1,500/2,500) sold for $2,530, a miniature NY State floral-decorated jar (est. $1,500/2,500) brought $1,725, and a miniature jar attributed to J. Swank & Co. of Johnstown, PA (est. $1/1,800) was hammered down at $1,265. Among the flasks offered, an example from Baltimore also led the group. Decorated with an elaborate clover design and described in the catalog as "possibly the finest Baltimore stoneware flask known," the rare vessel brought $5,750, nearly twice high estimate. A Philadelphia ge-mel by John Brelsford (est. $2,500/4,000) sold for $4,600, and an extremely rare flask with clock face decoration (est. $2/4,000) crossed the block at $3,450.
Southern pottery sold extremely well. The top lot of the sale was an extremely rare stoneware temperance jug, decorated with snakes, a lizard, a centipede, and a horrified man, all produced from applied clay. Signed by Limestone County, TX potter, J.L. Stone, who likely worked with the famous Kirkpatricks of Anna, IL., the jug sold for $17,250, well above it $8/12,000 estimate. Two Moravian redware animal bottles from Salem, NC brought strong prices, despite some restoration. A Rudolph Christ squirrel bottle (est. $4/6,000) sold for over twice high estimate to a floor bidder for $15,525, and a Christ bear bottle, estimated at $3/5,000, brought $9,775. North and South Carolina stoneware was also very popular. A signed Daniel Seagle six-gallon jug from Vale, North Carolina (est. $2,500/4,000) sold to the floor for $10,005. A signed Daniel Hartsoe three-gallon jug from Lincoln Co., NC (est. $2/3,000) sold to the phone for $7,705, and a signed Hartsoe one-gallon jug (est. $800/1,200) brought $2,990. An Edgfield, SC jar with kaolin slip decoration, stamped "CHANDLER" for potter Thomas Chandler, sold for $6,612. Several phone bidders battled over a rare double-handled jug signed by Marion County, Texas, potter, J.S. Nash. The jug had previously been owned by noted collector and author Georgeanna Greer, and was pictured in Cinda K. Baldwin's book "Great and Noble Jar." Carrying an estimate of $2/3,000, the jug eventually sold for $10,925.
Crocker Farm's next multi-consignor auction will take place on Saturday, April 10, at the York, PA Expo Center Old Main Build-ing, beginning at 10 am. A preview will be held on Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. and 8 to 10 a.m. on Saturday. For more information, con-tact Crocker Farm, Inc., by phone at (410) 337-5090, by e-mail at email@example.com, or visit the company's Web site at www.crockerfarm.com.