Rare and Important Thomas Commeraw Stoneware Oyster Jar for DANIEL JOHNSON AND CO. / NEW YORK

Spring 2021 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 82

Price Realized: $5,100.00

($4,250 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 2 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.

Auction Highlight:  Spring 2021 Auction | New York City Stoneware | African-American Pottery

Spring 2021 Auction Catalog

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Rare and Important Salt-Glazed Stoneware Oyster Jar, Stamped "DANIEL / JOHNSON. AND. Co No 24 / LUMBER STREET / NEW. YORK.," Thomas Commeraw, Manhattan, NY, circa 1799-1807, small-sized, cylindrical jar with narrow, recessed mouth, impressed in large letters across the front with advertising for local African-American oysterman, Daniel Johnson. Commeraw's oyster jars are believed to be the earliest examples of American advertising stoneware, a genre that would proliferate throughout the United States over the course of the 19th century. These jars additionally represent the only known examples of stoneware made at an African-American-owned pottery for African-American business owners. Daniel Johnson ran his Manhattan-based oystering business for roughly fifteen years, beginning about 1794. For many years he traded out of two separate locations, signifying his success as one of the more prominent members of his trade, a forerunner, for instance, of other long-time local African-American oystermen like Thomas Downing. He appears in the local city directories at 24 Lumber Street (correctly spelled "Lombard" but often spelled this way) from 1800 to 1807, but an ambiguous address in the 1799 directories could place these a year earlier. This is a particularly-fine Johnson jar, featuring the much rarer "NEW YORK" stamp instead of the more commonly-seen "N. YORK." (As opposed to very many Commeraw vessels of all kinds featuring an "N. YORK" stamp, we have seen only four or five stamped "NEW YORK.") Provenance: Small traces of barnacles, easily removed if so desired, indicate this jar was one of a number of oyster jars recovered in Guyana associated with a Dutch fort. Excellent condition with minor base chips and small remnants of barnacles. H 5 3/8".

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