American Stoneware Folk Art (Western PA Baseball Player Crock)

WORLD AUCTION RECORD, WESTERN PA STONEWARE

July 19, 2008 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 1

Price Realized: $65,550.00
($57,000 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium).

July 19, 2008 Auction Catalog

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Exceedingly Rare and Important Western PA Stoneware Wax Sealer with Cobalt Decoration of a Baseball Player, Greensboro or New Geneva, PA origin, circa 1875, cylindrical jar with flared base and semi-rounded rim designed to hold a metal canning lid. The front decorated with the detailed, brushed cobalt design of a man's face with baseball cap. Man's face features a curled mustache, prominent chin and jaw, eye with eyelashes, and hair with short sideburn. Baseball cap is depicted in the typical 19th century and early 20th century style with button top, triangular sections separated by stripes or stitching, and a short bill, filled completely with cobalt. Western Pennsylvania stripe decoration frames the man's face above and below. This important work of ceramic folk art is the only example of American stoneware we are aware of depicting a baseball player. It was made approximately fifteen years after baseball became a semi-professional sport in America, during a period when it was being hailed in newspapers as "America's pastime," a slogan that has remained until the present day. The jar may have been made as a response to the rise of the first professional baseball team in nearby Pittsburgh in 1876. Provenance: Recently discovered, having been purchased by an antiques collector approximately forty years ago. Near mint condition with only minor nicks on interior of rim. H 8 1/4".