Collection of Edgefield pottery to be sold at auction
A large and valuable collection of Edgefield stoneware, including several pieces by the celebrated slave potter Dave, will go on the auction block early next year.
More than 100 lots will be offered.
“I can't tell you much; it's personal,” said Terry Ferrell on Wednesday afternoon when asked about the reason for the sale.
Ferrell, who is in his 90s, and his son, Stephen Ferrell, started acquiring Edgefield pottery in the 1960s at flea markets, yard sales and antique stores. Until recently, many of the jugs, jars and other items they own were on display at Terry Ferrell's Antiques and The Ferrell Museum in downtown Edgefield.
“I don't know what the future of that is,” said Terry Ferrell of the business, which used to be open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. “I'm not well, myself, so I haven't been there for a couple of months.”
Wooten & Wooten Auctioneers & Appraisers will conduct the sale of the Ferrell family's collection on Jan. 25, beginning at 11 a.m. The auction will be held at Wooten & Wooten's gallery on Broad Street in Camden. Bids also will be accepted online.
“This is one of the best collections of Southern stoneware that has ever been offered,” said Jeremy Wooten, president of Wooten & Wooten. “It is a remarkable group that includes some extremely rare, one-of-a-kind pieces.”
Black and white artisans made Edgefield pottery in the old Edgefield District of South Carolina during the 19th century and early 20th century. That district covered much of modern Greenwood, Aiken, Saluda, McCormick and Edgefield counties.
“The history was one of the main things that intrigued me, and the romance still continues,” Terry Ferrell told the Aiken Standard earlier this year. “Dave was a slave who was taught to read and write and be a potter. Here we are, still talking about him today, just like he was still around.”
Among the top pieces in the Ferrells' Edgefield stoneware collection is a Thomas M. Chandler water cooler. The pre-auction estimate of its value is $60,000 to $90,000.
“It is considered one of the most elegant and monumental examples of Thomas Chandler's work,” Wooten said.
The pre-sale estimate for a 13-gallon food storage jar by Dave is $40,000 to $60,000. At least two other Dave creations also will be up for grabs during the auction, according to Wooten.
An Edgefield District face jug from the mid-1800s in the collection has an estimated value of $15,000 to $25,000.
“There is interest from both museums and private collectors,” Wooten said.
Catalogs for the auction will be available beginning Jan. 1.
For more information, call 866-570-0144.
Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since January 2013. A native of Concord, N.C., she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.