Auction news reports and saleroom gossip. Relevant Questions
and answers including Toby jugs to avoid when fake or restored.
Impressed Neale & Co. Toby jugs inscribed with a number.
Can anyone help with the request below.
Although most Neale Toby jugs of which I am aware bear no marks at all, there are of course some with the Neale & Co mark---and one, at least, that has an incised number accompanying the mark. The numbers clearly identify potters working in the Neale factory, and hence any additions to the list (which runs to 97 with certainty, but with a considerable number of gaps) would be of interest. The same would be true of any Tobys even if they bear an incised number already on record, as they might add to the range of products attributable to individual potters. I would be grateful for any information on the subject that you are able to provide.
R&D. We have had several impressed enamel Neale & Co Toby jugs with inscribed numbers, even a
running glaze one. Unfortunatly we didn't record any of these markings when sold. The only one I have in stock
with an inscribed mark has the number 16.
What I can do is post a message on the site for further information.
It's very interesting that several numbered Tobys have passed through your hands,
Raymond, and I'm not at all surprised that you didn't record the numbers. With the notable exception of Diana
Edwards, neither authors nor auction-house staff have taken note of the numbers in the past, because their
significance wasn't apparent. Your number 16 Toby is the second with that potter's identification, and my records
include only one other piece by the person, so the addition of a second Toby is certainly of interest. I would
be very interested to see the result of a message on your site, and I wouldn't need anything complicated in the
way of information, nothing more than the number itself.
Ralph Wood Style Toby Jugs
Receive Mixed Results at
Ralph Wood Style Toby Jugs
including two Carruthers gould ww1 jugs.
You begin to see how the different colour combinations alter their characters when placed together, always look for the more unusual colours.
Mac Ralph Wood 51 Toby has little interest and was sold on the reserve at a total of £1125.
You can never predict prices at auction but I did think this Ralph Wood Toby jug (left)
would have made a little bit more given recent results for Mackintosh jugs, although this one is not listed
in the 1967 catalogue. Could the price represent a correction to normality? In my mind it is the correct
price for a rather plain dull coloured jug with hat damage. Only a few weeks earlier a R. Wood 51 example with
similar reported damage but much better colour realized £2600 (£3200 total) in the Colin Russell sale, its
big attraction being an impressed 51. It just goes to show that not even a famous provenance will inspire the
few collectors to continue to pay premium prices.
Our mail bag reported how uninspiring this jug was so I am not surprised that it only made a £950 bid. If you recall the last Bonhams sale, apart from one Step toby, most of the other jugs sold cheaply near the reserve and were assumed to have been bought by one dealer, so it will be interesting to see if this one has gone to the same home. Let us all hope that the lone crusader attends the Woolley and Wallis sale 25.11.14.
Believe it or not?
Did any of you catch the article of a collector insisting that paint striper be used
on a ceramic piece to check for restoration before purchase. Extreme to say the leased. If only it would
work on photographs!!!!
This does show how worryingly restoration bothers some collectors, and rightly so. If you are having difficulty spotting restoration try viewing it in different lights, auctions aside, if you do see any that is not declared walk away.
Catherine Southon Auction. Lot 92. Three Staffordshire Toby jugs lot 92. Estimate: £100-200
It must have been the Collier in lot 92, a group of three jugs that were bid to £650, it did however have substantial damage. Some of you that always risk bidding without viewing might consider themselves to have had a lucky escape when......... Three Staffordshire Toby Jugs
The lot of Carruthers Gould allied WW1 leaders (left) are being sold with two interesting leaflets. The individual leaflet issued with each jug describes the numbers that were produced and a description of its character. Botha which is considered rare can be quoted as being produced in a quantity of 150, I have no idea where this figure came from but the leaflet along with the original posters clearly state a quantity of 250. Be realistic when considering this jug (Botha) individually to avoid an over valuation.
Intresting Toby jugs.
It's not until you view that you can be sure of anything. I once owned a similar Russian Martha Gunn type toby jug (left) that I sold many years ago into the Chicago Toby Jug Museum. They were made in St Petersburg by the Kornilov Brothers and are marked on the base. The seated figure is eating cabbage soup with a spoon, she has early gilding and is porcelain based of traditional size. The Fieldings toby jug (right) that I thought could be Russian looked similar in decorative style in the photograph but when viewed was completely different than I imagined. It had cold painted gilding and was the size and weight of a garden gnome, the potter of this jug still remains a mystery so don't hesitate to write if you know the potter.
The review of the Colin Russell sale of antique toby jugs part 2 is now available on our news report. 1.10.14. Woolley and Wallis. Staffordshire Toby Jugs. 9.9.14
Simple two piece mould Farmer Toby jug aspires to become the next Botha.
An exciting sale of general household contents was held today at Cheffins auctions Cambridge. Offered in this sale was a single lot of four Toby jugs as shown in the picture. They were, a late Davenport with its hat bubbled, a contemporary Yorkshire type with all his hat restored and a very white looking heavy set under-glaze Toby with a blue coat that also had a large front section of the hat restored and part of small jug. The fourth jug was a Farmer type Toby that I thought everyone would be attracted to but was surprised to find little interest, the condition was good having minor enamel flaking and a small crack in its side. The estimate was £50-80 for the lot so I expected no phone bids as it was below the £200 needed to obtain one but there was internet bidding available. Having seen a previous superior Farmer sell for £3400 we were not expecting to be successful today, our bid being well short for a c1810?/35 Toby jug falling outside of our preferred choice of Mackintosh stable jugs. The lot was offered and we were taken aback to hear the auctioneer ask one of the assistants if they were ready with a telephone bid. He opened the bidding and had no time to get interest from the room or internet before the phone jumped in and shouted an opening bid of £1600. The room fell silent for what seemed a long time, the auctioneer having nothing on the book and the internet showing no signs of life. We will never know what the room would have bid to before stopping but just before the hammer was about to go down a brave sole put his hand up and up and up making the £50 estimate look rather low. We left contemplating what might have been. Phew! Imagine if we had just bid the £3600 that the jug had just realized. That's approximately £4500 when commission is taken into account.
Web traffic increases as we type.
As you probably have noticed the site is having a makeover,
the less than organised filing system being left over from our first
attempts of building a website from the late 1990's. We much prefer
a personal site rather than a professional repetitive one which
also leaves excess funds available for more Toby Jugs. What I have
noticed recently when trying to update my coding skills is the way
professional web design is influencing item description which can
be very misleading. Some sites appear to be catering for SEO (search
engine optimisation) above quality descriptive text. A confusing
description I have read being the identification of variations of
an ordinary Toby jug. The ordinary Toby jug isn't identified for
comparisons but is nicely passed over with the premise that we are
all familiar with them, see if you agree with the identifications.
A Roman Nose, Sharp Face, Long Face, Step, Askew, Yorkshire, Collier
are variations of the ordinary model. None ordinary models are,
Hearty Goodfellow, Coachman, Drunken Parson, Sinner, Rodney's Sailor,
Lord Howe, Squire, Thin Man, Martha Gunn, Drunken Sal, Welshman.
Not mentioned were the Tipsy Man, Tithe, King Hal, Bacchus, Dollars,
Shield, Hooked Nose or Raised Cup. Could these attributions be what
recent collectors really believe? or is this just plain SEO inspired
and what is that "Ordinary" Toby jug that we are all familiar with.
Write and tell us your thoughts.
My thoughts are that Yorkshire is a county where Betty's sells cream teas and the Toby jug list is SEO inspired because it can be interpreted in numerous ways. This has to be very confusing to collectors of English antique British Staffordshire pottery ceramic Toby jugs, Pratt-ware, Ralph Wood, creamware, pearlware or saltglaze from Staffordshire and beyond.
Vic Schuler first started describing Toby jugs as ordinary in the eighties which caught on and it seems to have stuck. Ordinary now being loosely used to try and describe a Toby jug that was always termed as "Traditional".
Whichever way the list is organized you will no doubt be able to find comparisons, but a lack of understanding of what is a Traditional model can lead to most Toby jugs being classed ordinary, rarities will be passed by and contemporary will be accepted as the norm.
A very rare marked Ralph Wood dog on a plinth base is coming to auction, this can be seen on our new Staffordshire Antique Pottery page. A collector wrote and suggested our Whieldon type Squire Toby jug could have been made by Ralph Wood. If you compare the Squire jug with the dog he does have a point but for now we are sticking with our attribution as Whieldon school. See More.. Ralph Wood dog on plinth base.
Have you noticed how collectors are paying huge sums for late 1820's Toby jugs, some of them being brown which is as unpopular as white. Mackintosh would have never considered such late jugs. This week a basic reasonable quality Hearty Goodfellow of the same date didn't sell at a mere £80.
The recent run of bad results for restored Toby jugs continued with the sale of two Prattware Toby jugs at Clevedon Salerooms. Both Toby jugs were restored or had condition issues and carried an estimates of £3-500 each but only one manage to sell which was at the low estimate of £280. Clevedon auctions is one of the better rooms with a good international following so the Toby jugs would have had the best possible exposure.
Peter Francis Auction.
The ten Carruthers WW1 Toby jugs were sold at Peter Francis for £6500, a fair price for what is considered fairly common models, this makes Botha look ridiculously out of touch when offered for sale at £6000 alone.
It's seems to be getting harder than ever to find quality untouched pieces. That's five sales in a row without being able to buy a single Toby jug. Reading an article last week on a good informative Staffordshire site specializing in bocage figures highlighted the recent low values for relatively rare items. The pair of Walton "Old Age" (illustrated front page) are not rare but are lovely, they also struggled and sold on the reserve (Bellmans) for a mere £90.
It is always down to the buyer to satisfy themselves as to the condition when buying at auction. In our buyers guide we recommended a commission be paid to an experienced dealer if you are unable to attend a sale where they would view on your behalf. This recommendation has now been withdrawn from our buyers guide. It was misleading when not considering personal opinions as to condition and quality that can vary tremendously.
F.Carruthers Gould WW1 Toby jugs.
I hope you have checked the auction preview and noted the Carruthers Gould Toby jugs being sold at Peter Francis. The group of ten offered is minus Kitchener, he was the first in the series to be potted and originally offered in the same quantity as Botha. I find this ironic that this jug appears to be the collector's stumbling block and is in line with the news report. Ref..D2. It's important to avoid restoration on these 20th century Toby jugs, if there is a little then make sure it's on the examples that can be easily replaced. "When waiting for a bus three come along together". If 250 Botha's were to come together at six thousand pounds each, the price currently quoted, it would equate to £1,500,000, now there's a thought when you next swipe your Toby oyster card!
Damaged Whieldon Staffordshire Toby Jug.
This interesting Whieldon type Toby jug was sold last week at Stride and Son auctioneers. It would have been a nice Toby jug to own should it not have been damaged and poorly made. The multi lot which includes a damaged group of the Vicar and Moses made a bid of £620. The handle had completely gone and it had suffered a huge unsightly firing fault across a large portion of the hat and face. There was also another smaller firing fault across his leg. The quality of the glaze finish was excellent when compared to the questionable crazed similar jug recently sold in Canada. News Ref.H1.2013.
See More... Whieldon Staffordshire Toby Jug
Restoration. The Marmite of the antiques world. Love it or hate it,
it will not go away.
Reputation is everything.
One of the best compliments you can receive is when you assemble your sale purchases is to hear someone say. "They buy all the good Toby jugs". It's all about having an eye for quality. Buying flaked or broken Toby jugs and hearing comments like, "That lot will take some sticking back together" would make me cringe. But now it seems restoration of smashed items has become fashionable, push it to the forefront and be proud of it, show pictures of before and after, if you recommend restoration long enough it might eventually be accepted by all! This cavalier approach seems boastful and is totally opposite to our view and that of other serious collectors. We seem to be constantly reading praises for smashed items in contrast to the experts warnings from programs such as the Antiques Roadshow. Another point that no one has even considered is the importance of the global internet which should in the future give better cross referencing for most toby jugs prior to purchase, this would kill the need for a condition report stone dead. Any synthetic material used for repair will in time fade unlike reputation once acquired never changes. See More
Hartleys 26.3.14. Now if there is one sale I needed to view for reference it had to be Hartleys 26.3.14, but 250 miles away to view a possible contemporary Toby jug, the car said "No". I have only ever once bought a similar model to this sailor which was the flat hat type and grew to disliked it. There were only two Toby jugs in the sale, one was a standard Leeds traditional Toby jug, it looked very clean with good mould definition and realised a respectable £550. The other was a blue and white sailor that had damage and was the one that really concerned me. Were others also having the same doubts because £840 is a shallow price difference that bears no relation for their considered rarity status. The auction house catalogued it c1900, so the valuer must have thought it to be late given its clinical white look, although it must be said that the traditional Leeds Toby Jug circa 1785 was also offered dated as c1900. The hat (sailor) was broken off and stuck back on, all to often we see major damage on these jugs. It had one asset going for it, there was a detatchable hat/measure, unfortunately enquiring for more detail found this to be glued in position so only the top shape is visible for inspection. These Toby jugs can be seen offered for sale with a date of 1790 which is the time when the Woods were potting, this Ralph Wood model is clearly not made by them, the measure alone being very reminiscent of our friend the light bulb, the original one being much squarer. That's all I can say about a missed opportunity to an ongoing reference project that would have shed more light on these blue and white Toby Jugs.There will never be a substitute for handling. Well done Hartleys for erring on the side of caution. See More. Antique Sailor Toby Jug?
Offered for sale at Bonhams was a collection of early Staffordshire jugs and mugs, eight of the lots being Toby jugs. These had been shipped in from abroad and carried an extra penalty of 5% on top of the 25% commission plus vat already payable on the first £10000.
Its at this point I usually describe the ensuing excitement when the first Toby jugs are offered, surely collectors have saved their money for this sale considering the poor results from the Woolley and Wallis auction? ......No.
Well how many collectors were in the room?..... None.
What about bids left on the book.? ....................None
But there is always interest from the phones.....interest on only one lot from one phone.
The internet then? ......one bidder for one lot..... one bidder for three lots.
Overall the Toby jugs were all badly damaged and received little interest, the reserves were set ambitiously high ultimately resulting in artificial respectable prices for the ones that did sell.
Controversial Long Face Staffordshire Toby Jug.
It has been two years since we first wrote the article Contemporary Toby jugs part one. We haven't seen any of these controversial Toby jugs sold in that time until this week and it was interesting to see how collectors viewed them. The two long faces were offered at separate auctions and were important for different reasons. The white example can be compared to both the enamel and the Pratt-ware one discussed in our article, they share more features of both which leaves little doubt that they are potted by the same pottery. The article will be updated in due course. The other one (left) had all the usual characteristics and colours we come to expect on the common model. Catalogued with a date of 1800 with an estimate of £500-600 it failed to receive a bid and will no doubt be offered again at a later date.
See More... Ralph Wood type Staffordshire Toby jug.
Woolley Wallis auctions. sale 25.2.14
Last week saw the sale of a private collection of Staffordshire toby jugs at Woolley & Wallis, Salisbury Salerooms, I was unable to attend the auction but was aware of the collection having viewed it earlier. It was always going to be unpredictable having had Fieldings successful auction of the Mackintosh toby jugs within two weeks. The results appear to be disappointing although there were a couple of surprises and these were picked up by collectors through our post. One thought he had missed something special in the two Leeds type jugs lots 446 and 452 which did rather well regarding price. I suggested that they reacquaint themselves with our article. "The Humble Leeds", I like to think or hope that collectors find our articles useful in the pursuit of good toby jugs. The collection offered were an eclectic mix from contemporary to early running glaze and all in differing states of quality. There was one special traditional toby, that has to be revered by its new owner, as rare as a Standing Postillion masquerading as a Hearty Goodfellow, this toby would take pride of place in any collection and would always be a talking point, it is of course Ricky Gervais, (lot 449 bid £420), the beard making him a sure give-away. The few serious highlights were, a Ralph Wood type with unusual coloured blue coat and restored hat (Lot 480 £1100), the price well in line with others recently sold of this popular model. A full multicoloured Leeds toby made £900 (shown left) and a traditional Leeds at £420. A Prattware Long-Face £800 and a very heavily restored pale discoloured Step Whieldon £800. The prices overall seemed depressed to previous sales which could be seen all to clearly in all ordinary examples. Lot 441, a common later copy Yorkshire type so often sold as c1800 for £400 only realised £190, a considerable drop in any standard. This theme continued with a Walton Hearty Goodfellow at £300 and a Traditional Walton at £250, commission on all lots was 22% plus VAT. The full auction catalogue can be viewed with all illustrations at Woolley and Wallis Saleroom, Salisbury. Pottery Porcelain & Glass sale.25th February 2014.
There were two Rodney's Sailor toby jugs offered that were not the best examples. They were previously sold at auction in the last ten years giving us the opportunity to compare prices. The early running glaze Sailor lot 447 was first sold at Skinner's, USA sale in 2006 for £1651.35 + shipping and import charges. ($3055/ Dollar Rate 1.85=£1/ Lot 271. Coil Collection 15th -July-2006). The hat was broken in several pieces and repainted, there were numerous other cracks to the jug, this realised £1200 plus commission. The enamel Sailor lot 451 was sold at Halls, Shrewsbury in 2008 for £1900 total. It started out with a deep blue coat which has now changed to turquoise, the hat was completely replaced (poorly) and numerous other damage, it realised £700. Acquiring the two toby jugs from dealers and assuming a 25% profit margin with a 10% vendors fee, a fair modest calculation of the two jugs show a total loss of approximately 65%. Condition seems to have taken its toll when compared to the buoyant prices of the Mackintosh jugs. Although not a better investment than money in the bank at this time, a good collection is achievable at a reasonable cost when sort direct from auction, especially at these prices. The other advantage of buying at auction is that clean items can still be acquired untouched by an unskilled restorers hand.
This sale had excellent detailed condition reports provided by Clare Durham, as did Fieldings provided by Nicholas Davies & Will Farmer. How refreshing to have accurate condition reports, the few auctions that merely state, "well it looks all right to me" have to change.
Article with full illustrations. See More... Antique Toby Jugs
Fieldings Auctioneers, Sale date 8.2.14.
Mackintosh provenance toby jugs: Staffordshire antique pottery at its best.
It's always nice to meet up with collectors/dealers when viewing a sale that once was our local several years ago. We received some nice comments from collectors that our site is helping them in the pursuit of good quality jugs at auction, this is encouraging. Like the Grantham sale, fresh to the market items always create interest, in this case four desirable Mackintosh toby jugs which must have been bought directly by the vendor from the 1967 ceramic sale. The first of the Staffordshire toby jugs and subsequent models that were ordinary had a lukewarm reception. This soon changed to intensity with the offering of the first Mackintosh toby jug lot 204 (left). I can't recall having seen this form of toby jug from this potter in forty years of dealing, wonderful. A low reserve meant there were no telephones bids but that didn't deter it making a bid of £2300. The second Mackintosh toby jug lot 205 was a Ralph Wood hooked nose toby, rich in colour and in mint condition it was contested by six telephones and numerous bids from the floor and book, a bid of £2300 achieved. Lot 207 was a Mackintosh Ralph Wood 51 impressed raised cup, wonderful aubergine coat but a little over burning to the base. With just age related wear and pleasing face it was bid again to £2300, quite expensive when compared to a similar better example sold in South Ken. (sale news/ref.A9.2013). The last of the Mac jugs was lot 213, a traditional Staffordshire model toby with raised cup face. This had a pleasing colour combination and good mould although there was a little age related wear around the base. It received a bid of £2100, a little expensive for an ordinary model that is common. Remember, any attempt to restore some of the age related wear will DEVALUE your toby jug. Please don't do it.
The in-between toby jug lots I felt were dragged upwards from the fallout of the Mackintosh name. A poor quality traditional running glaze toby jug with measure, lot 208 was over-burnt all over, it was bid to £1050. Lot 213, a Ralph Wood impressed 51 raised cup had its skewift tri-corn hat replaced, possibly from another damaged toby, it realised a bid of £1200. There was an unusual toby jug (lot 210), that from the internet illustration looked to be Russian in origin, it wasn't. It was huge in size and had late gold highlights suggesting a date of 1880 onwards, unusual. Please write if you know the potter.
The desirable sleeper at the sale should it have been in good un-restored condition was lot 206, a Prattware Postillion toby which is illustrated on the auction preview. The whole hat had been restored (wrong shape) and the cup and right hand were replaced. It made £1400 bid. This far exceeds the price achieved by an enamel small Postillion that was recently sold in a multiple lot of five for a mere £188 inclusive at Bonhams in Oct 2012. Small enamel Postillion condition (Bonhams): Considerable damage/restoration to the hat, face, handle and the base.
See More... Mackintosh provenance Toby jugs
Provenance and the Old Toby Jug.
Half the fun of collecting Toby jugs is having the opportunity to be able to research a little of their history. Today this is often lost unless recorded in a saleroom catalogue on dispersal of the collection. In the past things were very different, Granny's sale would be local gossip, especially if some of her contents made prices that stood out from every day living costs. That antique Toby jug along with a little history of the owner would be reported in the local weekly columns. Sadly those days have gone, but Granny's treasured heirlooms still come on to the market with yellowing newspaper cuttings that can still be found screwed up and forgotten inside the Toby jug. These can make interesting reading and could turn up some fascinating facts about previous owners. Provenance can increase the value of your Toby jug and the temptation to delve into the past can be inspiring resulting in some great conversational stories which are a real bonus. A recent viewing of two special Toby jugs complete with news cuttings turned out to be very interesting. They were Tobys that should be on everyone's wish list, rare and sharing several unusual features, these two fresh to the market Toby jugs had to be originally purchased before collecting became fashionable. The cuttings were from the Daily Telegraph & Morning Post. Saturday Nov. 24, 1951 and read..."The late W. H. Berry, the comedian, formed a small collection of Staffordshire Toby jugs which fetched £531.00. two realising £66.00 each. Another Toby jug by Ralph Wood from an unnamed owner was sold for £190". The two Berry collection Toby jugs both had stickers to their bases reporting to be potted by Ralph Wood but were in fact Prattware. William Henry Berry (23 March 1870-2 May 1951). Billed as W. H. Berry an English comic actor. Born in London at the age of fourteen was apprenticed to a theatre booking agency, through which he acquired free seats for West End plays and musicals. Trained in concert entertainment and pierrot he appeared in musical comedy and comical character roles. One of his finest was as "Mr. Meebles", an unfortunate magistrate in the musical production of "The Boy" in 1917. He was heard on radio within the first few months of launching the BBC, and was still broadcasting well into the late 1930's. As his skills of performing developed he was invited into productions including: The Merry Widow.1907, Havana.1908, A Waltz Dream.1908 and The Dollar Princess.1908. His stage and radio work saw several return castings with Mr. Micawber being broadcast in 1938. He died in Herne Bay at the age of 81 with The Times obituary published 4th May 1951 page 8. Like other collectors from the entertainment world his interest might have been fuelled by having spare time between performances. Museums, galleries and auctions are numerous especially in London.
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