Martin Brothers Pottery Bird Jar Soars at March 2014 Auction

By Tim Luke

The March 1 & 2 auction of 20th Century Decorative Arts and Design at Rago Arts and Auction Center in Lambertville, NJ yields $5.63 million.  The strong auction prices of items offered indicate the market for rare, desirable and modern pieces continue to deliver outstanding results.  

Since two pieces sold for outstanding prices in the auction, three bird tobacco jar for $111,750 and a frog tobacco jar for $87,500, I thought a bit of background on the company, its founders and what markings to look for would be helpful. 

Martin Brothers Pottery or Martinware, was founded by four brothers; Wallace, Walter, Edwin and Charles.  As pioneers in the production of studio pottery, it was their distinctive designs of figural jars, vases and tiles coupled with the stoneware and salt glaze, producing a strong nonporous pottery with a distinctive orange peel texture and design.  For a time, Walter & Edwin worked at Doulton's Pottery but in 1877 the brothers banned together to create art pottery and based their operations in Southall, London.  The company continued for 38 years until it closed in 1915.

The photo above provides a clear illustration of the Martin Brothers markings on their pottery.  Keep an eye out at the estate sales, auctions and client visits for the distinctive look of Martin Brothers Pottery.

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Tim Luke, CAI, BAS, MPPA: FL Auction License #AU 2418

TQAG: FL Business Auction License #AB 1839