Summer Auctions Continue with Humler & Nolan’s Rookwood XXIX

by Kate Nixon



For those collectors who love Rookwood pottery, hold your plans this weekend – Rookwood XXIX is almost here.


An impressive collection of Art Glass and Rookwood pottery will be auctioned off during Humler & Nolan’s 29th Rookwood XXIX this weekend. On June 1st, Humler & Nolan Auctions will present their Keramics auction from 10:00am – 2:00pm and an Art Glass auction from 3:00om – 5:00pm. On June 2nd, the Rookwood auction will be held from 10:00am – 4:00pm. Rookwood XXIX will feature more than 500 lots of pieces by artists Sara Sax, Anna and Albert Valentien, Kataro Shirayamadani, Arthur Conant, Grace Young and more during the auction on Sunday. Interested collectors out of state can register and bid live online at or can download the Absentee bid form on their website – see the links at the end of the article for more information.


The Cincinatti, Ohio auctionhouse holds auctions twice a year in June and November, specializing in art glass, keramics, and Rookwood pottery. According to Auction Director and Art Pottery Expert Riley Humler, it’s Rookwood’s attention to quality control of their pieces that keeps collectors coming back. “Rookwood was always very concerned about quality control – a lot of the pieces they made that were marked as factory seconds they did sell but you knew rather quickly if they considered a piece less than perfect, so the things that they took the most pride in – the quality is certainly there,” Humler notes. “The artistic ability is there and as they continued through their years, changing their style to meet the taste of the current generation, their quality continued to improve and I think some of the best Rookwood made would be found in the 1920’s where technical issues were almost eliminated and the artistic ability was still there.” One such piece, featured on the cover of the Rookwood XXIX catalog, is a Rookwood Pottery French Red vase with stylized cherry blossoms, a favorite of Humler’s. Painted by Rookwood artist Sara Sax in 1922, the large vase is valued in the range of $8,000 to $10,000.00.


The Humler & Nolan staff (L-R): Mark Mussio, Karen Singleton, Jeff Engel & Riley Humler

Humler is also quick to note that for up-and-coming young collectors, the affordability factor has greatly improved in comparison with the previous generation of collectors. “I think if you look at what is available today, I think it’s a very affordable comparison to what we were selling 15 years ago and if you have any desire to collect at all, there are some good buys available, not just with us but with auctions throughout the United States.”


In 1991, Cincinnati Art Galleries purchased the Glover Collection, a nearly 2,000 piece collection of quality Rookwood. Randy and Michele Sandler, owners of the enterprise, decided to hold an auction to disperse the collection — and during the three-day auction, the record for the sale price of American art pottery at auction was set twice. Auction Director Riley Humley, Art Glass Manager Karen Singleton, Art Pottery Manager Jeff Engel and Photography, Design and Marketing Director Mark Mussio continue to this day to put together an impressive array of high-quality consignments.


Below, we’ve listed a few highlighted lots that we’ll be keeping our eyes on.



Lot no. 1347

Artist: Sara Sax

Description: Large and impressive Rookwood French Red vase with stylized cherry blossoms incised and painted by Sara Sax in 1922. Marks include the Rookwood logo, the date, shape number 2301 B and Miss Sara’s impressed monogram.

Height: 13 1/8 inches. The vase is uncrazed.

Estimate: $8,000.00 – $10,000.00




Lot No. 1032

Manufacturer: Rookwood

Artist: Anna Valentien

Description: Rare Rookwood mat glaze Art Nouveau lamp carved by Anna Valentien in 1904. There are three Easter Lilies in full bloom, their long stems descending into a gracefully swirling base. Height is 18 inches. Each flower is fixed with the original candelabra light sockets. Marked with the company logo, the date, shape number 729 Z and the incised initials of Mrs. Valentien.

Estimate: $2,000.00 – $2,500.00




Lot No. 1042

Manufacturer: Rookwood

Description: Rookwood Architectural Faience 21 tile tableau featuring 10 white geese in a restful outdoor setting done, circa 1915 and never installed. The scene is complete with original tile border. Impressed marks on most of the pieces include the Rookwood Architectural logo and the numbers G 315 E, 3304 Y, 5, 417 and G 2. Size is 20 3/4 by 47 5/8 inches. In remarkable condition, with a few very minor glaze nicks, mostly to the border. Tiles and border have been mounted on a 3/4 inch sheet of plywood with a reversible bonding agent and a solid mounting devise and bracket make it (relatively) easy to attach the tiles to a wall. Weight is approximately 70 pounds.

Estimate: $5,000.00 – $7,000.00


Lot No. 1081

Manufacturer: Rookwood

Artist: Maria Longworth Nichols

Description: Limoges style basket decorated with with bats and spiders, having four lions head feet and lots of fired on gold highlights, the work of Rookwood’s founder Maria Longworth Nichols in 1882. Impressed on the base ROOKWOOD, 1882 and having MLN on the inside of the basket in black slip. There is a tight 2 1/2 inch line descending from the rim, one end of the basket that has been repaired with glue and a staple and one of the handles was broken into multiple pieces and glued back together. Size is 8 1/2 inches high by 20 1/4 inches long.

Estimate: $3,000.00 – $4,000.00



Lot No. 1260

Manufacturer: Rookwood

Artist: Albert Valentien

Description: Monumental Rookwood Standard glaze umbrella stand with five rather ominous snapping turtles gliding through leafy kelp, all the work of Albert Valentien in 1894. The vase shades from a mellow amber at the top to a rich blue green near the base. A heavier layer of Standard glaze is applied to the top half giving more of a feeling of depth and viscosity to the murky waters. The turtles and kelp are very nicely detailed. Marks include the Rookwood logo, which indicates the date, shape 609, W for White clay and Mr. Valentien’s incised initials low on the side of the vase. There is faint overall crazing and some very minor glaze scratches. Height is 24 3/4 inches.

Estimate: $4,000.00 – $6,000.00



Rookwood XXIX

June 1st – 2nd

Humler & Nolan
225 E. Sixth Street, 4th Floor
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Online/absentee bidding also available


To register online and bid online, please click the following link to view the web page:

To download the absentee form, click the following link to access the form on Humler & Nolan’s website:

To connect with Humler & Nolan on Facebook and to see highlights of all three events, click on this link to go to their Facebook page:


Item descriptions and pictures courtesy of Humler & Nolan