Rare Pair of 1928 Election Jugs for "Hoover" and "Al Smith," Jonah Owen, Moore County, NC

Fall 2021 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 20

Estimate: $600-$800.  A Note About Estimates

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Fall 2021 Auction Catalog

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Sold!  $1,300. 


Rare Pair of Miniature Earthenware Election of 1928 Whiskey Jugs, Inscribed "Hoover" and "Al Smith," attributed to Jonah Owen, Moore County, NC, 1928, both of ovoid form with tapered spout moldings, the surfaces clear-glazed with mottled green and orange coloration. Made for the Presidential Election of 1928, one jug is incised "Hoover" for the Republican candidate and future thirty-first President of the United States, Herbert Hoover, and the other incised "Al Smith" for the Democratic candidate and Governor of New York of the same name. Rare political subject matter with appealing size and color. The creation of the jugs as a pair representing the two candidates is most unusual. According to the consignor, in 1928 you could buy a vote with a little corn whiskey in North Carolina. The consignor also states the following about the two jugs: On a visit with [the son of J.H. Owen] Melvin Owen (1917-2003), some time in the early 1980s, I asked Melvin Owen "did he know who made the 'Al Smith and Hoover' miniature whiskey jugs?" He replied, "I sure do, my older brother Jonie [Jonah Owen] (1885-1966) turned them at dad's old shop, . . . and I was paid a penny a jug to put the handle on them. I got the clay for the handles right out of that ditch in front of the house." Melvin Owen would have been eleven or twelve years old in 1928. Hoover jug in excellent condition with minor spout wear. Al Smith jug in excellent condition with a minor base chip and a sliver-shaped kiln scar along bottom edge. H (of taller) 3 3/4".



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