Treasure: Fall-themed vase easily identifiable

Khristi Zimmeth
Special to The Detroit News

Autumn’s bounty has long been a favorite theme of artists in all mediums. Bruni and Gorman Culver of Adrian recently brought in a piece of pottery that pays homage to the season, with trees of all colors and a meandering path into the distance. “My husband inherited it from his mother, who received it as a present from her mother-in-law,” she explained in her original appraisal request. “We think it was approximately 75 or 80 years ago. She passed away at 99 years old.”

The vase measures 12 inches tall, with a 6 1/4 width at the top and 5 1/4 at the base. A barely visible mark on the bottom looks to read “77” or “XL” but there are no visible manufacturer marks. Despite this, appraiser Jerry Anderson of DuMouchelles downtown had no trouble identifying the pattern or the manufacturer. “This is definitely a piece of Weller,” he told her unequivocally, adding that the pattern was called – not surprisingly – “Forest.”

According to the website, Forest is one of the company’s naturalist lines, “depicting scenes of forests and streams in relief, decorated in orange, blue and green and brown colors. Weller artist Rudolph Lorber designed Forest based on landscape observations he made from his window during a train ride.” Another handy site,, provided additional company history, including the fact that the brand was first made in 1872 in Fultonham, Ohio, before moving to Zanesville in 1882. It also reported that the company introduced their artistic line in 1893 and by 1915 Weller was the largest art pottery in the world. The company closed in 1948.

Anderson said that the art pottery line was popular and that the auction house sees it fairly often. “In fact, we sold one just like this a few years back in 2011.” He dated the vase to about 1910, and told the Culvers that the piece was an example of their raised pottery in a landscape motif. He said that there was no signature, but that the work is fairly easy to identify, and to sell, even with the small chip on the top. The Culvers said that they always thought that the vase dated to the 1920s, as it was a wedding gift to his parents, who were married in 1926.

Anderson said it’s a good example of the Ohio company’s art line, one collectors are enthusiastic about – any time of year.

“This is an older piece and Weller usually does well at auction,” he told them. “We sold the last one for $250, so I’d expect this to go somewhere in the same range.”

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 the item

Item : Weller “Forest” vase

Owner: Bruni and Gorman Culver, Adrian

Appraised by: Jerry Anderson, DuMouchelles

Item value: Approximately $250 at auction