Auctioneer Press Release Rago

Birds of a Feather Flock to Rago Auctions

Jun 06,2019 | 10:00 EDT By Rago Auctions

Lambertville, NJ - On September 21, 2019 Rago will bring to auction a fabulous and finely curated single-owner collection of Martin Brothers pottery. The 27-piece grouping, which includes over 20 single, double, and triple bird-form humidors and vessels, represents one of the largest single-owner collections of Martin Brothers ever offered at auction and comes to Rago via UK-based dealer, AD Antiques.


Martin Brothers, 13.75" Tall Wally Bird Vessel, Est. $50,000 - 75,000

Martin Brothers (1873 – 1923) was a London-based pottery manufacturer owned and operated by four brothers, Wallace, Walter, Charles, and Edwin, whose productions bridged the gap between the Victorian design sensibilities of the late 19th century and the English studio pottery movement of the early 20th century. Martin Brothers produced stoneware pottery, broadly referred to as Martinware, including bowls, vessels, tiles and novelties that were often rendered in a whimsical yet highly skillful style. While all Martinware is highly valued on the secondary market, it is the manufacturer’s bird-form vessels, referred to as “Wally Birds” by collectors, that are the most passionately sought after.

Rago Auctions has been privileged to offer hundreds of works by Martin Brothers at auction and privately over the past 35 years, including over one hundred Wally Birds which regularly sell for five or six figure sums. In 2018, Rago successfully sold a particularly large and fine Martin Brothers Wally Bird for $112,500.

Highlights from the upcoming single-owned collection include; a 13.75” tall Wally Bird with original paper label estimated at $50,000 – 75,000; a pair of Toby Dog vessels estimated at $30,000 – 50,000; a 6” double Wally Bird estimated at $20,000 – 30,000; and a large Grotesque Face Jug estimated at $6,000 – 7,000.

By Rago