Q: I inherited a black and white pitcher with Freemason details, George Washington, and the quote “To heavens High Architect all praise All gratitude be given Who design’d the human soul to raise By secrets sprung from heaven.” The number “#0199” is marked on the bottom. One eBay site lists the value at $2,400. Can you give me an estimate or instructions on how I can find out what it is worth?
A: Creamware pitchers with transfer designs of Masonic symbols and themes were made for the American market by several Staffordshire and Liverpool potteries in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Some featured pictures of prominent men who were Masons or illustrated historic events. George Washington was a member of a Masonic Lodge in Virginia. The poem quoted first appeared in a book about Masons in 1769. The mark on the bottom of your pitcher indicates it’s new, not one of the early Staffordshire or Liverpool pitchers. It may have been made to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Washington’s inauguration in 1989. Some of the prices you see online are asking prices that aren’t even close to what the item eventually sells for. An old Liverpool transfer pitcher could sell for over $1,000, but a new one is only worth less than $50.