Art Pottery Out-Duels Furniture At Last Week’s Auctions

Years ago when most collectors felt they needed to bid in person at auction, the idea of having two major Arts and Crafts auctions on the same day would have seemed self-destructive. But now that cell phones and internet bidding have nearly replaced bidding paddles and auction galleries, having both the David Rago Early Twentieth Century Design auction and the Don Treadway-John Toomey 20th Century Art and Design auction on June 8th did not seem to pose any problems.

The duel of the day, as it turned out, seemed between art pottery and Arts and Crafts furniture.

Rago’s sale was loaded with great examples of Grueby, Ohr, and Newcomb College pottery, none of which disappointed anyone, except perhaps the unsuccessful underbidders. The opening piece of Grueby ran to $21,250, then was surpassed a few lots later by the classic Grueby vase designed by George Kendricks that sold for $31,250.

Rago’s first selection of George Ohr pottery in the sale knocked down final bids of $47,500, $25,000, and $26,250. A little later another grouping netted several pieces selling above $10,000. Two small bowls, however, by less recognizable names, may have caught a few people off-guard. A small 3″x3″ Redlands bowl decorated with frogs soared to $16,250, followed by a Frederick Rhead 7.75″x2″ bowl that brought an amazing $55,000.

The Treadway-Toomey sale featured more Arts and Crafts furniture than did the Rago sale, but in both sales the majority of the furniture met with only a lukewarm reception. One of the exceptions at the Toomey-Treadway auction was a 95″ long Gustav Stickley directors table #631 that was expected to sell in the $14,000-$19,000 range, but found a new home at $28,000.

A 16″ Newcomb College vase at the Toomey-Treadway sale, one decorated by Anna Francis Simpson with tall, slender cypress trees, sold for $27,000.

For a complete listing of the items and their selling prices, please go to and

Top: This Teco lamp from the Stephen Gray collection sold for $11,000 at the Toomey-Treadway sale June 8th.

Bottom: Even with a refinished top, this massive 8′ long Gustav Stickley director’s table brought $28,000 at the Toomey-Treadway sale.