Sample Antique Appraisal: Van Briggle Pottery

In addition to providing antique appraisals for insurance, tax and legal purposes, Grant Miller Antique Appraisals also provides fair market value reports for a small flat fee. These reports provide clients with piece of mind when looking to sell antiques or can simply satisfy a curiosity about a particular collectible.

While many antique dealers provide a similar service, they are notorious for undervaluing collectibles. An appraisal from an antique dealer might say your collectibles are worth only $100 when in reality they’re worth $700. Many antique dealers use their appraisals to lowball clients into selling pieces well below their actual value. Others may charge a percentage of the final appraised value which leads to inflated and inaccurate values.

A USPAP-certified appraiser, like Grant Miller, has no personal or financial interest in your antiques or reaching a preconceived value to inflate his fees. Grant Miller Antique Appraisals sells one thing – an honest, accurate and knowledgeable opinion from a lifetime in the antiques industry.

A fair market value antique appraisal involves research and an unbiased evaluation of its condition, age and provenance. It also requires an antique appraiser to judge market trends and study comparable sales for similar items. Fair market value antique appraisals come with a summary report and are USPAP-certified so you can be certain I have no personal or financial interest in the antique or in providing an inflated value.  Most are completed within five business days and are held to rigorous ethical and industry standards you won’t find elsewhere.

The following is an antique appraisal I conducted in February 2011 for a client interested in selling a piece of pottery. It is presented here as a sample of my work with client’s full authorization.

Property Description

One signed Van Briggle mullberry-shade bud vase made of clay and displaying the company’s distinctive matte glaze.


The vase is marked on the bottom “Van Briggle” and displays the company’s “Double A” logo. There are no other marks or dates visible.


The vase measures 7 inches high, 2.5 inches wide on the bottom and a 1 inch opening.


The vase is in excellent condition with only a minor dust issue due to years of storage. There are no visible spider bites, cracks, chips, crazing or repairs. The bottom has a distinctive “dirty clay” appearance which assists in dating the piece.


The client purchased the piece at a Brandon, Florida, estate sale in 2003 for $10. An antique store quoted her a value of $30 for the vase in 2004. The vase’s signature, logo and “dirty clay” bottom indicates it was manufactured between 1917 to 1920.

Conclusions and Valuation

Van Briggle pottery is widely sold on the secondary market but is by no means ordinary. It is highly valued as an outstanding example of Art Nouveau pottery. This item’s considerable age and unique signature and logo make it especially desirable. It is my opinion this example could sell for between $200 to $250 today.

Historical Analysis

Artus and Anne Van Briggle established Van Briggle Art Pottery in 1901 and it’s believed to be the oldest continuously operating of its kind in the United States. Before establishing the company in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Artus Van Briggle worked for the noted Rookwood Pottery of Ohio.

The Van Briggle’s influenced generations of artists with their Art Nouveau designs that continue to be made and imitated by potters today. Their cornerstone matte glaze is instantly recognizable to collectors worldwide.

Many of the best potters and sculptors in the world got their start with the Van Briggle Company. Nellie Walker, Clem Hull and Nelson Curtis are just a few of the artists who have worked there over the years.

Van Briggle Pottery continues to operate today but the company’s earliest works have always been the most coveted – particularly those produced by Artus, who died in 1904, or Anne, who retired from potting in 1910.”