Ask a Worthologist: Edmands & Co. Crock

Dendra Y. bought this crock at auction for $22. She made a good buy, as these Edmands & Co. cobalt-blue pieces usually sell for $200 to $300.

Dendra Y. picked up a crock at a local auction. Only later did she look at the name stamped on it and became curious. She contacted our Ask a Worthologist service and asked for more information. Her request was forwarded on to me. Here’s her question.

“I bought this crock at an auction about six weeks ago. I don’t know to whom it previously belonged—the auction house said it was just part of three estates being sold that day. I picked it up for what I feel was pretty cheap because I really liked the blue decoration on it, which is obviously hand-painted. There are about three hairline cracks in it and some chips, but for $22, I didn’t think I could go wrong. Looking it over later, I saw the name “Edmands & Co.” above the blue design and a number 4. I’d like to know what you could tell me about this piece and its value.”

Based on the images and the markings, Dendra’s four-gallon crock is a mid-19th-century example. Crocks like these were mainly used for fermenting cabbage to make sauerkraut, a dietary staple of many European immigrants.

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

In the case of this one, though, it’s a much different situation, as crocks, jugs and other stoneware by Edmands & Co. with cobalt-blue decoration are highly sought-after items.

The Edmand’s pottery was located in Charlestown, Mass., and was operated by Edward and Thomas Edmands from 1852 to 1868. The more highly decorated and rarer examples by Edmands have sold for as much as $8,700 within the last few years, but more average examples like yours with some damage often sell in the $200 to $300 range.

So, you did make a very good buy on this piece for $22—less than a tenth of its value.

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

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