Treasure: Pottery probably dates to early 20th century

Khristi Zimmeth
Special to The Detroit News

Sandy McCarroll of Grosse Pointe Park has a soft spot for pottery and other vintage treasures. A regular on the eastside estate and garage sale circuit, she often can be found on the hunt with her husband, Gerry. The pair has come across many finds in their years of hunting and gathering, she says, a fact that fuels their ongoing search.

Not long ago, she fell for some pottery in a western Michigan antique mall. She recently brought both pieces in for DuMouchelles’ appraiser Corinne Henzi-Schultz to take a closer look, hoping to find out that they were worth more than she paid for them. “I paid $20 for the yellow one and $13 for the other one,” she told the appraiser. “I liked the yellow one because of the unusual color, which you don’t see very often. I bought the other one just because I like it.”

Henzi-Schultz said both pieces probably date to the early 20th century. Sandy’s husband, Gerry, also brought in some pottery pieces to the appraisal, which turned out to be contemporary pieces, but the appraiser said Sandy’s are probably about a century old.

The yellow piece, she says, is “typical American pottery made at the time, from an era when there were dozens of potteries making similar works.” Many were based in Ohio, she says. She says that although the piece isn’t signed, there’s a good chance it’s the very popular McCoy brand, which was started about 1910 and went through a variety of name variations. The company has a long history and was a prolific maker of colorful pastel pottery and cookie jars, among other utilitarian items.

McCoy is among the best known names in American pottery, and one of the companies honored during Ohio’s Pottery Week, which is celebrated in Zanesville, “the Pottery Capital of the World,” every July. More information about McCoy can be found at the McCoy Pottery Collectors Society website (, which includes a handy guide to fakes and reproductions.

McCarroll’s second piece also is unmarked, which makes it hard to appraise, Henzi-Schultz said. She said it’s a good example of art pottery made in Belgium about 1910 and said that the drip glaze would make it popular with collectors. “Because we don’t have a name on the bottom we have limited resources in appraising or identifying this piece,” she told McCarroll. “There’s not a lot of go with, but it’s a pretty piece and would probably appeal to other pottery collectors.” With the rise in Belgian design and interiors, there has been renewed interest in Belgian potteries, she said.

She valued both at less than $50 each, still more than the amount McCarroll paid for them. While she hoped for higher values, McCarroll wasn’t particularly disappointed. “In the end, I bought them because I like them,” she told the appraiser.

Do you have an object you would like to know more about? Send a photo and description that includes how you acquired the object to: The Detroit News, Trash or Treasure?, 160 W. Fort St., Detroit, MI 48226. Include your name and daytime telephone number. You may also send your photo and description to If chosen you’ll need to bring the items to an appraisal session. Letters are edited for style and clarity. Photos cannot be returned.

About these items

Item : Pottery

Owner : Sandy McCarroll, Grosse Pointe Park

Appraised by : Corinne Henzi-Schultz, DuMouchelles

Estimated value: Approximately $50 each at auction