Very Rare New Jersey Redware Inkwell, Inscribed "S. Halsey" and "Sparta 1824"

March 14, 2015 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 176

Price Realized: $2,300.00

($2,000 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 8 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.

March 14, 2015 Auction Catalog

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Very Rare Yellow-Glazed Redware Inkwell, Incised "S. Halsey" and "Sparta 1824", New Jersey origin, circa 1824, cylindrical inkwell with central spout and four smaller quill holes, the surface dipped in a bright yellow slip, and sgraffito-decorated with the inscriptions "S. Halsey" and "Sparta 1824". Incised on underside "B.T. Van? / Manufacturer / Sparta". Surface covered in a heavy lead glaze. In 1997, a day book that had been recently discovered in a basement was donated to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's George Smith Library in Newark. The day book was kept by Dr. Seymour Halsey, a young, twenty-two-year-old doctor who, in 1824, opened his practice in Sparta, New Jersey. Halsey was born in 1802 in Monroe, Morris County, NJ and studied as an apprentice to a doctor in Morristown. He opened his Sparta practice in 1824 and left five years later, graduating from the New York College of Medicine in 1830. Halsey returned to New Jersey to practice in Newark for a few years, and eventually settled in Vicksburg, Mississippi. When the Mexican-American war broke out in 1846, Halsey served as a surgeon in the regiment of later President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis; when Davis suffered a foot wound in that conflict, it was Halsey who treated it. Dr. Halsey died in 1852 in Vicksburg. The day book in the possession of the UMDNJ George Smith Library was kept by Halsey from 1824, when he opened his practice, until 1827. This inkwell was likely used to write it, and was apparently made for the young doctor as he was just opening his practice to serve the town of Sparta. Outstanding color and desirable form. New Jersey redware objects of this decorative quality and importance are rarely found. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, from an inkwell collection amassed over the last thirty years, consigned to this auction ; Crocker Farm, Inc. Auction, November 3, 2007, Lot #106. Some glaze wear to edge. One chip and some additional glaze wear to spout at center. H 2 3/4" ; Diameter 4 1/4".

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