Heirloom pitcher; dreams of ‘Old Oaken Bucket'
Published: Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.
Q: Can you help me identify this pitcher? There are no identification markings. It is 23 inches in diameter around the middle and 8 inches high. It's been in our family for at least 50 years; before then it was my grandmother's.
D. DiM., Summerfield
A: You have an attractive pitcher. I think it was made in the United States, circa 1920s. The type of glass is blue opalescent. When held up to the light, an opal-like color can be seen. The pattern is hobnail. Potential dollar value is $50 to $100.
Q: You mentioned in the answer to my question about my Thomas Jefferson documents to let you know what I found out about them. I contacted Swann Galleries, as you suggested. I was told the value is between $3,500 and $5,000, depending upon their inspection. Their auction rate is 35 percent and could take them six months to sell. I then contacted The Raab Collection, and they offered me $3,000 after seeing the pictures I sent. I spent $235 shipping to Raab, and then got an email the document was not in the condition they thought, so they adjusted their offer to $2,100. They had me over a barrel. I accepted the offer and received the check. I would not recommend Raab, as I feel they knew exactly what they were doing.
A: Well, who knows, the Swann estimate may have been accurate, or it might have sold for more than the estimate or below. Swann's may have found the same condition problems that Raab found, and lowered their opinion of the pre-sale estimates. You may be a little harsh on Raab. I do not think they had you over a barrel, as you could have said "no." The cost of shipping could have been avoided.
Q: I spent many hours when I was a child staring at the "Old Oaken Bucket," a lithograph produced and engraved by J.C. Buttre in 1872, wondering who the boy was in the engraving.
Years later, I often thought about the boy and the "Old Oaken Bucket" and what happened to, among other things, the etching that I used to dream on.
A short time ago I was shocked to find "The Old Oaken Bucket" online. It was presented by Conestoga Auction Company. I called the listed phone number and was disappointed to learn the auction had already taken place and my chances of bidding were past. I have looked for other places where I might find the "Bucket" and thought of your column. So here I am, 70 years later and still dreaming.
A: Currier & Ives likely produced the biggest volume of the print "Old Oaken Bucket." It depicts a country house in a landscape setting with a young lad at a well drinking from a wood bucket. There are several variations; one includes two dogs beside the boy. The picture is taken from, I suspect, the poem by Samuel Woodworth titled, "Old Oaken Bucket House." I certainly suggest reading the poem aloud. The house was built in the 1600s in Massachusetts, and is on the Massachusetts National Register of Historic Places. This might be one resource to find the print. Another suggestion would be to contact print dealers that handle Currier & Ives prints. The Philadelphia Print Shop might be a good resource as well. Good luck in your search.
John Sikorski is an Ocala antiques dealer. He hosts a call-in radio show, "Sikorski's Attic,'' on WUFT-FM (89.1 FM). It can be heard each Saturday from noon to 1 p.m. Send your questions to Sikorski's Attic, c/o The Gainesville Sun, 2700 SW 13th St., Gainesville, FL 32608-2015; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.