Treasures: Jardiniere, pedestal make a handsome set


Dear Helaine and Joe:

Any chance of giving me a rough idea of the value of this jardiniere and pedestal?

Thank you,

B. T.

Dear B. T.:

The monetary value of this piece of American pottery really lies in its historical associations and not so much with the identity of its maker.

It is marked “Anchor Pottery” with the initials “J. E. N.” arranged around a double circle with the image of an anchor inside. The insignia tells us this piece was made by the Anchor Pottery Company of Trenton, New Jersey, which was founded in 1894 by James E. Norris.

Anchor was in business until 1926, when they were acquired by Trenton’s Stangl Company (Fulper Pottery). Previously they were primarily in the business of making dinnerware and toilet wares, along with premiums for the Grand Union Tea Company. That company was founded by Cyrus, Frank and Charles Jones in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1872 as the Jones Brothers Tea Company.

The Jones Brothers Tea Company was a late 19th/early 20th century retail powerhouse with sales focusing on coffee, tea, spices and flavored extracts. They were pioneers in the supermarket concept and at one time had more than 200 stores and 5,000 door-to-door salesmen.

Like some other companies of the day, Grand Union used premiums as sales boosters. And it is possible that the Anchor Pottery jardiniere and pedestal in today’s question was once one of these premiums.

From its modest beginnings in Scranton, Jones Brothers Tea Company quickly expanded in eastern Pennsylvania and into New York and Michigan. Around 1916 they established their headquarters in Brooklyn, New York and adopted the name “Grand Union Tea Company.”

Other than its brick-and-mortar stores, Grand Union utilized fleets of wagons for door-to-door sales and home deliveries. This Anchor Pottery jardiniere and pedestal may have arrived in someone’s home in one of these horse-dawn wagons. The rose decorations on the piece are transfer-printed and the pottery body appears to be some type of white semiporcelain.

We believe this piece was made circa 1920, and the value would depend very much on its current condition. It is extremely nice to find this two-piece set together after all these years, but utilitarian objects such as this one were generally subject to hard use, and many a jardiniere has fallen off its pedestal as a result of a household accident.

As a general rule, white, semiporcelain, transfer-printed jardiniere and pedestal sets are not as desirable to collectors as the more colorful American art pottery examples made by such companies as Roseville, Weller, Owens and others. Still, this is a handsome set, and if it has no chips or cracks, its monetary value is probably currently in the $250 to $350 range.

Even small flaws, however, will bring this price down dramatically because many buyers in the current marketplace would consider this set to be too “grandmotherly,” which can be a significant detriment to monetary value.

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