Thursday, June 10, 2004

Cincinnati Galleries sets Rookwood record

By Justin Fenton
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati Art Galleries set a record for the sale of American Art pottery last weekend when a local private collector bid $305,000 for an antique Rookwood vase.

"We expected it might break the record but didn't expect it would go quite this high," said gallery director Riley Humler. "It's a superb piece, and it went through the roof."

The downtown gallery's previous high for a Rookwood piece was $198,000. While no formal records are kept for high auction prices, David Rago, a New Jersey Rookwood dealer, said it was the highest he had heard for a Rookwood item.

The 141/2-inch black iris glaze vase, crafted by Kataro Shirayamadani in 1900, features electroplated copper and silver overlay of lotus blossoms. Flying cranes move through black clouds on the surface of the vase, which was thought to have been exhibited in the Paris Exposition of 1900.

The buyer, who was not identified, will pay a 15 percent premium as well. The piece was estimated at $125,000 to $150,000 before auction, but two bidders pushed the price up.


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