Simple, antique utilitarian stoneware like jugs, crocks, churns, bowls, and pitchers are valued now due to how they were uniquely manufactured. Potters used a salt-glazing process to create a glass-like finish on the crocks when they were fired. Prior to firing, the artisans would decorate the vessel with blue, painted designs.
Unique characteristics of this antique stoneware included:
- A shiny, glass-like surface with occasional bumps (salt particles)
- Simple hand-painted decorations (usually cobalt blue ink)
- Decorations were handcrafted beneath the surface of the glaze
- Hand-drawn or stenciled numbers and letters
An antique's value varies based on the piece's age, design elements, size, and maker. Take a look at this list of comparables, which can give you a ballpark idea on antique stoneware pricing.
Stoneware Handled Jug With Bird Decor
This 2-gallon jug is stamped "Roberts Binghamton NY." Handcrafted antiques that have an artist's signature or manufacturer's mark often bring in more value than unmarked items. This jug features blue, painted bird decor and is 14 inches tall. This piece has a quarter-sized chip and a few spider cracks. It sold for $360 at Morphy Auctions in 2012.
This is the mark of William Roberts, son-in-law of Noah White of Whites Utica Pottery. He founded a branch of the family business in Binghamton, New York, in 1848 and ran it until 1888.
In 2019, William Roberts-stamped jugs, crocks, jars, and vases continue to sell in the $250 to $500 range depending on the rarity of the item and the quality of its condition.
Large Stoneware Crock With Freehand Decor
Popular from the 1700s through the 1900s, crocks were useful kitchen staples throughout the United States.
This large stoneware crock with two handles and blue freehand design is 16 1/2 inches tall and has two 10-inch cracks and a few rim chips. Despite its flaws, this piece sold through Morphy Auctions for $240 in 2012. In 2019, similar antique crocks can be found priced for $200 to $350 on eBay.
Stoneware Crock With Blue Chicken Decor
A 5-gallon stoneware crock with blue chicken decor, this piece was in excellent condition at the time it sold in 2012 for $780. It had no cracks, repairs, or chips. At 13 1/2 inches tall, its two handles added to its value.
In 2019, 5-gallon, salt-glazed, hand-painted crocks with handles were selling from $200 to $1250. This vast range in price depends greatly on its condition and if it had its original manufacturer's marks.
Bird on Stump Stoneware Crock
A 4-gallon stoneware crock, this piece is from Pittston, Pennsylvania, and marked with the name Evan Jones. The artwork depicts a bird on a stump in blue. There was a crack on one of the sides near the handle that runs from top to bottom. However, it was still structurally sound. It also had several small chips on the inside of the rim. The 11 1/4-inch tall crock sold in 2011 for $720 through Morphy Auctions.
The Jones Pottery of Pittston, Pennsylvania, operated in the 19th century by Evan R. Jones and Evan B. Jones. It is unclear if this was a father and son duo or brothers. The approximate date of most of this pottery is 1880. The two most common marks on Jones's stoneware are "Evan R. Jones/Pittson PA. and Evan B. Jones/Pittson/PENNA."
In 2019, a similar 4-gallon Jones Pottery crock was for sale on eBay for $215 with a couple of chips, hairline cracks, and lime deposits.
Stoneware Kodak 5-Gallon Jug
This rare Kodak find appeals to photography aficionados as well as stoneware collectors. This 5-gallon stoneware jug once held photographic chemicals. It is marked "Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, N.Y." This 18 1/2-inch jug was in excellent condition when it sold for $180 through Morphy Auctions in 2011.
In 2019, a similar Kodak jug of the same dimensions had cracks that were professionally repaired. Its selling price was set for $100 on eBay.
Large Stoneware Jug With Spigot
A 20-gallon jug with two handles and a spigot at the bottom, this piece is 25 inches tall. It is decorated with a raised emblem of Santa Claus, which may be an unidentified maker's mark. It was in excellent condition in 2009 when it sold for $936 through Morphy Auctions. An item of this size is very rare. In 2019, there were no items like it for sale on eBay.
West Troy Pottery Stoneware Jug
A West Troy Pottery piece of stoneware, this two-gallon jug has a single handle and blue floral decoration. There was a chip on the mouth but no cracks or repairs. It was considered to be in very good condition and sold for $292 in 2009 through Morphy Auctions. In 2019, a similar West Troy 2-gallon jug with a few chips on the mouth sold for $189 through eBay.
The West Troy Pottery was located in the Hudson River Valley region of New York and famed for its blue paint-decorated jugs and crocks. It was easily shipped to all points west and north via the Erie and Champlain canals.
West Troy Pottery Stoneware Jug
This 18-inch, 4-gallon West Troy jug with a handle features a whimsical hand-painted blue design. It had no chips, cracks, or repairs and was in excellent condition. It sold for $293 in 2009. In 2018, a similar 4-gallon jug with a blue cobalt bird design in excellent condition sold for $400 on eBay.
Three Stoneware Crocks With Blue Decor
This set of three crocks with handles and blue decor was in excellent condition with no cracks, chips, or repairs. The largest piece was 11 inches tall. Morphy Auctions sold this set in 2009 for $263. It is rare to find matching or similar crocks in a set, which may net you a higher price than selling each piece separately.
Stoneware Spatterware Pitchers
Spatterware is a decorating technique that appears as if the paint was spattered or sponged onto the surface. It was sometimes used to decorate antique stoneware pieces. This particular lot included two pitchers, the largest of which was 11 1/2 inches tall. The pair sold together for $59 through Morphy Auctions in 2009. The blue pitcher had large chips on the top rim, and the brown and green pitcher had one small inner rim chip. In 2019, a single spatterware pitcher can go from $30 to $120, depending on its condition.
Port Edward New York Stoneware Jug
A classic piece, this two-gallon jug with a handle and blue floral design is marked "Port Edward New York." There was an old repair made to the mouth, but no cracks. It is considered to be in good condition. The 15-inch tall jug was valued at $117 in 2009 by Morphy Auctions.
In 2019, a similar, 2-gallon Port Edward New York jug with a bird design that had no chips or cracks sold for $450.
Hires Root Beer Stoneware Mug
This is a rare example of a Hires Rootbeer mug with deep blue glazing. In excellent condition with no chips or damage, it stands 5 1/2 inches tall. In 2009, Morphy Auctions sold the piece for $205. This type of stoneware design is also sometimes called Flemish ware, which is identified as silver-gray stoneware using dark blue embossed decoration. Flemish ware was often used for beer mugs, tankards, and wine jugs.
In 2019, a similar-looking mug was on sale for $200 on eBay. The product description said that the blue and gray advertising mug was produced by Whites Pottery in Utica, New York, and it dates to circa 1890. The mug has a twig handle resembling the bark of a tree. There is an embossed chain link below the rim and near the base. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, or crazing (cracks in the glaze).
N. Hastings New York Stoneware Jug
A stout 12-inch tall jug with a handle and blue flower decoration, this piece is marked "N. Hastings, New York." It was listed in excellent condition since no chips, cracks, repairs, or damage were apparent. It fetched a selling price of $205 at Morphy Auctions in 2009.
This type of pottery is very rare. In 2019, no similarly marked crocks were selling on eBay or other online auctions. Not much is known about the N. Hastings pottery, other that it comes from New York and dates to the turn of the 20th century.
Stoneware Root Beer Bottles
In near-mint condition, this set of stoneware root beer bottles is a fun lot. It included three Cleary's Old Fashioned Root Beer bottles and one each of Dr. Swett's Original Root Beer and Moo Cow Ginger Beer. The largest bottle is 7 1/2 inches tall and the lot sold in 2009 for $176 through Morphy Auctions.
In 2019, this same root beer set would have sold for nearly double the price. In 2019, each bottle sold separately for at least $50 to $100. The selling price was dependent on its condition and soda brand. For example, a Dr. Swett's bottle sold for $85 and a Cleary bottle sold for $55.
Old Sleepy Eye Stoneware Bowl
Made by Weir Pottery Co. of Monmouth, Illinois, this stoneware bowl features a Native American "Old Sleepy Eye" figure and decor in blue paint. In 1903, 1 million of these bowls were shipped to the Sleepy Eye Milling Company in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, which were given away in flour sacks.
In near-mint condition, this bowl measured 4 by 6 1/2 inches. It sold for $410 in 2009 through Morphy Auctions.
Sleepy Eye lived from 1780 to 1860 and was a Sioux chief from 1825 to his death. He was nicknamed “sleepy eye” because of his heavily lidded eyes. The Weir Pottery Company operated from 1899 to 1905. It merged into the Western Stoneware Company in 1905. In 2006, Western Stoneware closed.
Stoneware No. 3 Handled Jug
A fantastic stoneware No. 3 jug or 15-inch, 3-gallon container, this piece features a blue floral design. It was in excellent condition with no cracks or chips when it sold in 2009 for $263 on Morphy Auctions. In 2019, 3-gallon, unnamed or unmarked antique jugs in excellent condition were also found selling for a similar price.
Stoneware 8-Gallon New Brighton, PA Crock
Simple, but a good starter piece for new stoneware collectors, this is a classic eight-gallon crock that stands 15 1/2 inches tall. It dates to circa 1880. It bears the mark of Elverson, Sherwood, and Barker of New Brighton, Pennsylvania, one of the country's foremost pottery makers from the Civil War up through the early 1900s. The condition was good with a 1/8-inch crack and minor chips. It sold for $59 in 2009 through Morphy Auctions.
In 2019, a rare 8-gallon cylindrical butter churn marked "E.S. & B, New Brighton, PA" sold for $503. It was considered in excellent condition with only slight chipping on the inner lip of the mouth.
T. Harrington Lyons Stoneware Jug
An 18-inch, 4-gallon jug with a handle and blue floral decoration, this piece is marked "T. Harrington Lyons." The jug has three half-inch dings, so the condition is rated as good. Morphy Auctions valued it at $234 in 2009. The mark on the jug is for potter Thompson Harrington who ran the Lyons, New York, pottery from 1852 to 1872.
In 2019, a 4-gallon wide-mouth T. Harrington Lyons crock, circa 1860, sold for $500 through the Crocker Farms Stoneware Auction.
Pottery Co. Lyons New York Stoneware Jug
In excellent condition, this 5-gallon, 18-inch jug has a single handle and blue floral decoration. It is marked "Pottery Co. Lyons, New York." There are no chips, cracks, or repairs, which helped it sell for $234 through Morphy Auctions in 2009. Lyons pottery had maintained its value in 2019.
The Lyons pottery company began in 1825. It had been under the ownership of Nathan Clark, Jr., who was succeeded in 1852 by Thompson Harrington. In 1872, Jacob Fisher took over the pottery and operated it until 1902 as the last individual proprietor of the pottery.
Blue Stoneware Steins and Pitcher
Two beer steins and one small pitcher were included in this lot of near-mint stoneware pieces. Each piece has intricate embossed images, including a Native American chief, a golfer, and a country scene. The largest piece is 7 3/4 inches tall. As a lot, Morphy Auctions had this valued at $234 in 2009.
Similar Flemish ware or blue and white stoneware seems to maintain its value. A single cobalt blue-decorated stein with a Native American chief image sold for $95 on eBay in 2019.
P. Mugler & Co. Buffalo N.Y. Stoneware Jug
P. Mugler & Co. of Buffalo, New York, produced this beautiful example of a two-gallon jug. It stands 15 inches tall, includes a handle, and is decorated in a stunning blue floral design. The condition is rated at very good due to one small chip on the bottom. It sold in 2009 for $644 through Morphy Auctions.
The Buffalo, New York, pottery was owned through 1848 to 1957 by French potter Philip Mugler and American potters John Heiser and Charles Braun. Mugler and Heiser owned it in its early years and were known for their elaborate cobalt blue floral designs on their pottery.