Very Unusual Stoneware Cake Crock Inscribed "George Smith's Leather Pot"

November 2, 2013 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 402

Price Realized: $1,955.00

($1,700 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 11 years old, and the American ceramics market frequently changes. Additionally, small nuances of color, condition, shape, etc. can mean huge differences in price. If you're interested in having us sell a similar item for you, please contact us here.

November 2, 2013 Auction Catalog

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Extremely Rare Three-Gallon Stoneware Tanning Crock with Cobalt Decoration, Inscribed "George Smith's Leather Pot," attributed to W.H. Thomas, Huntingdon County, PA origin, circa 1880, cylindrical crock with semi-rounded rim and applied lug handles, featuring the brushed cobalt inscription "George Smith's Leather Pot," embellished with freehand brushwork surrounding the inscription and around the capacity mark. Reverse decorated with a large brushed flower blossom flanked by stems with buds, a distinctive decoration, brought to Huntingdon County by members of the Thomas family, who where previously employed in Harrisburg. This highly unusual crock was used in the production of leather at a tannery operated by George Smith's father, Philip. The 1880 United States Federal Census of Mount Union, Huntingdon County, PA, lists Philip Smith, aged 54, as a "roller of leather". His son, George, the owner of this crock, is listed as a "beamerman," aged 19 years old. A beamerman worked in a tannery on wet hides that were draped over a wooden stand or bench, to remove any remaining flesh from the skin. This crock presumably held tannen, an acidic solution made from oak or fir trees, which was used to soften hide into leather. An outstanding example with strong decoration, rare inscription, and excellent history related to its use. Heavy chipping to the edges of the handles and some surface wear to top of rim. Otherwise excellent condition.

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