Ask a Worthologist: Salt-Glazed Crock

Janice H. picked up a stoneware crock with a cobalt-blue design at a country auction. It does have some small damage, and she’s hoping to resell it if she can make a good profit.

She used our Ask a Worthologist service to determine its value, and her request was forwarded on to me. Here is her question:

I purchased this crock at a farm auction for $24. It’s not in perfect shape; it has some chipping around the top and a hairline crack that does not go all the way through. It’s stamped “Edmands & Co.” with the number “2” and has a cobalt-blue bird design below it. I think I got a very good deal and would like to sell it if I can at least double my money. If it’s not worth that, I’ll keep it to hold newspapers and kindling by the fireplace.

Based on the images and the markings, your two-gallon crock is an example of mid-19th-century salt-glazed stoneware. Salt glazing is a process where pots are fired with sodium vapors and salt is inserted into the kiln at 2,000 degrees, ?releasing sodium, which acts as a flux on the silica in the pots. This action creates a hard, clear and waterproof glaze.

Crocks like these generally came with a lid, which is now seldom found with them on earlier examples. These were mainly used for making sauerkraut, a dietary staple of many European immigrants.

Values for them depend a great deal on the their maker, vintage, quality and quantity of decoration and current condition. Damaged examples with cracks do tend to sell for less than undamaged pieces.

In the case of this one, though, it’s a much different situation, as some crocks and jugs by Edmands & Co. with cobalt blue decoration are highly sought-after items. This pottery was located in Charlestown, Mass., and Edward and Thomas Edmands operated it from 1852 to 1868.

The more elaborately decorated examples by this company have sold for as much almost $8,700 in recent years, with more average examples like yours often selling in the $200 to $400 range.

Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.

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