Cowan Pottery Jazz Bowl by Designer Viktor Schreckengost

June 14, 2012

By Janet Dodrill

Viktor Schreckengost

Viktor Schreckengost 1906-2008

In the early 1930s, an Art Deco style masterpiece was created in earthenware with black and vibrant blue glazes and a jazzy New York theme, tilting skyscrapers, stars and other symbols — the “Jazz” bowl. It was designed by ceramicist Viktor Schreckengost.

A web site is dedicated solely for Viktor’s bowls. It states in Viktor’s words that a design was requested, submitted and selected for a punch bowl with a New York theme while he was working at the Cowan Pottery Co. in Rocky River, Ohio, The client turned out to be Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the bowl turned out to be the first of a series (and first of three that she ordered) that he designed. It is estimated there are between 20 and 50 of these bowls, though the exact number is unknown.

Last weekend parade participants created a huge float version of a “Jazz” bowl and displayed it at the popular ‘Parade the Circle’ event in Cleveland.

Rago Arts auction has one of the bowls with a Schreckengost signature and Cowan stamp in their June 16, 2012 auction, estimate: $40,000-$60,000. According to, a similar “Jazz” bowl sold at Rago in 2010 for $158,600, and the bowls have sold at other auctions across the country. The are in both public and private collections.

Viktor Schreckengost Jazz bowl at Rago auction

Jazz bowl at Rago aucton.

I was fortunate enough to see a “Jazz” bowl in person at The Cleveland Museum of Art’s exhibit “Viktor Schreckengost and Twentieth Century Design” a few years ago.

Sources and related links:

Viktor Schreckengost on Wikipedia

Rare Schreckengost Jazz Bowl to Auction at Rago’s in June

Schreckengost Jazz Bowl Sold

The Biggest Jazz Bowl in Parade

Viktor’s Jazz Bowl Web Site

Have a Very Old Family Photograph? It Could Be Vernacular Photography

May 28, 2012


Have you heard of Vernacular Photography? According to Wikipediait refers to the creation of photographs by amateur or unknown photographers who take everyday life and common things as subjects.



Stair Galleries, exhibited and auctioned The Gerald Kornblau Collection of Vernacular Photographyon March 10 & 11, 2012, which was 163 lots of everyday photography, images of which create interest, regardless of their common subject matter.  Prior to the auction, they were displayed in an exhibit in similar frames together on a wall.

Old Family Photograph

Apparently there is somewhat of a demand for very old photographs at auction houses and antique shops. Many will consign or buyout antique family photographs, silhouettes, and also daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes. Garth’s in Ohio and Skinner in Massachusetts, both  auctioneers, and others including local antique shops, have carried these items.

Recently, our family has been going through family photos. We have discovered photos of relatives who are not identified. Perhaps we will consider selling some or decorating walls in our homes with them.

Like Antiques and Collectibles?

October 16, 2011

By Janet Dodrill


Coca-Cola crate and Coke glasses.

Have the antiques and collectibles bug? You are not alone. With the downturn of the economy and people looking for extra income, it has become more common for people to try to sell their possessions on Craigslist, eBay, and by auction house. I have been brought up with an appreciation for antiques since many items have been passed down generations in our family, and I have collections going back to my childhood, being told that one day they might be valuable. The average person is becoming more educated on the subject, and many have become amateur ‘pickers’, going to garage sales, flea markets, and antique stores and finding items to add value to their collections or to resell for a profit. With a computer and time on your hands, it is not difficult to perform basic research on an item and discover its current worth.

According to Kovels’ Antiques Inc., information publishing firm and local authority on antiques and collectibles, there are currently more than 20 antiques-related realty TV shows (that can be watched on network TV, cable, and some online at their web sites and on Netflix streaming). They’ve listed them in their free weekly Ezine, Kovels Komments, September 28, 2011 issue, and they are:

American Pickers, Mondays 9 p.m., History
American Restoration, Fridays 10 p.m., History
American Treasures, Tuesdays, 7 p.m., Discovery
Antiques Roadshow, Mondays 8 p.m. (check local listings), PBS
Antiques Roadshow UK, day varies, 11 p.m. (reruns), BBC
Antique Warriors, in production, Network TBD
Auctioneer$, Saturdays 10 p.m., TLC
Auction Hunters, Tuesdays 10 p.m., Spike
Auction Kings, Tuesdays 10 p.m., Discovery

Auction Packed, Tuesdays 8 p.m., National Geographic
Buried Treasure, Wednesdays 8 p.m., Fox
Cash & Cari, Sundays 7:30 p.m., HGTV
Cash in the Attic, Wednesdays 8 p.m., HGTV
Hardcore Pawn, Tuesdays 9 p.m., Tru TV
History Detectives, Tuesdays 8 p.m. (check local listings), PBS
Hollywood Treasure, Wednesdays 10 p.m., Syfy
It’s Worth What?! Tuesdays 8 p.m., NBC
My Collection Obsession, in production, TLC
Oddities, Thursdays 10:30 p.m., Discovery

Pawn Stars, Mondays 10 p.m., History
Picker Sisters, Tuesdays 10 p.m., Lifetime
Storage Wars, Wednesdays 10 p.m., A & E
The Great Big American Auction, in production, ABC

I personally, have enjoyed watching Antiques Roadshow on network TV and online, American Pickers via Netflix streaming, Pawn Stars online, Auction Hunters online, and Buried Treasure on network TV and online. Additionally, I learn things on the subject by subscribing to Kovels’ enewsletter, which anyone can sign-up for at

Kovels has also just begun informal YouTube segments on collecting advice and tips, with Terry Kovel at You can subscribe, and be informed of new videos published to this online channel. Keep collecting!

Antiques & Collectibles: A Big Industry

May 8, 2010

By Janet Dodrill

Royal Doulton Lady in Purple Dress Figurine

Royal Doulton Lady in Purple Dress Figurine

Recently, I have been exposed to the antiques and collectibles auction industry, and it is a bigger industry than I thought. First, I told myself I must not beat myself up for giving away or nearly giving away antiques and old family items in the past. I did not know then what I know now, and that these items may have been of value.

Seeing an item for auction triggers an emotional response in the viewer on a variety of levels. If it is an antique item, it may remind them of something they saw in their mother’s or grandmother’s house, or when they were growing up. It may be an item they do not already have in their collection that they would like to obtain. It could be that the viewer likes the thrill of winning and therefore keeps bidding on the item until the bitter end.

There are hundreds of auction companies throughout the country (and world) who draw consignors to sell their merchandise at regularly scheduled times of the year. Some auction houses have themed auctions (i.e. glass, Americana, memorabilia, estates, fine art, sports, dolls, etc.) and some have general auctions (i.e. antiques) or specialize in particular types (i.e. auction houses only selling movie posters).

Auction companies draw good followings. There are buyers and collectors that follow favorite ones or find out when items of interest are up for auction at other auctions.

Live online auction

Live online auction

The more I learn about the auctions, the more auction companies I see are out there. With the luxury of online auctions and bidding, one can bid and purchase items while the ‘live’ auction is going on, in the comfort of their home, but the excitement is still there.