Valuation Guidelines

Valuation Guidelines

As collectors and dealers, we are often faced with assigning a value to a given piece. Reference guides help by assigning values based on previous sales and/or items listed for sale. There are many factors that affect value, but in the end, whether it’s a piece of Gonder or tires for your automobile, value is governed by the marketplace.  However, reference guides give us a great starting point in determining value.  

Many factors affect value of a piece. Condition, glaze treatment, availability (supply), demand and geographic region are the most important factors to consider when putting a price tag on an item. In my experience, geographic region does not play a big part in determining value for Gonder. You may find that prices are slightly higher in large cities or metropolitan areas as well as on the east and west coast. Because there is not yet a large community collecting Gonder, demand is not generally a significant factor. With the exception of rare or scarcely found pieces, there seems to be enough Gonder to go around! 

That leaves condition, glaze treatment and availability. All three of these factors need to be considered for each piece you plan to purchase. Let’s look at them all more closely.


  • As with most art pottery, condition is generally the most important factor in determining value. 
  • Manufacturing flaws are flaws that occur during the production of the piece. These are often cosmetic in nature and refer to flaws in the glaze decoration and flaws to the pottery itself. Depending on the individual collectors’ tolerance for these flaws, these may or may not be a factor in determining value. If a piece has a flaw that is easily noticed (a large glaze miss in the middle of a vase, a basket with a firing crack in the handle), the flaw detracts from the value of the piece should be priced accordingly. 
  • Post factory damage nearly always affects the value of an item. Items with missing pieces, large chips, poor repairs or significant cracks where the integrity of the piece is compromised will decrease the value by 50% to 75% and sometimes more. Common pieces with these flaws virtually have little to no value to the dealer or collector. Pieces with tight hairline cracks that have not damaged the integrity of the piece, or glaze flakes are sometimes tolerated by the collector but still will decrease the value of the piece. You can expect these types of defects to decrease the value of the piece by 30% to 50%. 
  • There are some collectors that are fastidious about condition and consider all post factory damage as unacceptable and will only purchase pieces in near mint condition. In general, Gonder collectors can steer clear of pieces with any flaws and wait to locate one in better condition. If a piece is rare, the flaw may be more easily overlooked and may not affect the value of the item.  I have on several occasions purchased hard to find pieces with minor damage while waiting on a better example to surface. However, I do note these pieces are often difficult to resell.  

Glaze Treatment

  • In collecting Gonder, glaze treatment is an important factor affecting the value of a piece. Gonder produced pieces in many glazes and knowing which of these glazes are more desirable to collectors will assist in determining value of a piece. 
  • The exact number of glazes used at Gonder Ceramic Arts is unknown. I have found that Gonder produced nearly 30 unique glazes used on the various lines of Gonder and lamp bases produced at Elgee. Salesman sheets indicate items were priced by line and glaze treatment. As the size of the piece and complexity of glaze treatment increased, so did the pricing. Pieces finished in the more expensive glaze treatments continue to be favored by collectors and will generally have a higher value.
  • For purposes of valuation, glazes will be divided into two categories: Standard and Premium. Standard glazes consist of the most commonly used and found glazes. While popular with collectors, pieces finished in these glazes are plentiful enough to not warrant additional value. Premium glazes were more difficult to produce and hence more expensive when new. They are also more difficult to locate making them more rare and desirable to collectors. Hence, these pieces generally command higher prices. 
  • The following Premium Glazes increase the value of a piece by 50% - 75%: Chinese White Crackle, Chinese Turquoise Crackle, and Ivory with Black, Brown or Green Drizzle (hand decorated). The following Premium Glazes are even more desirable and increase the value of a piece by 75% - 100%: Italian Pink Crackle, Antique Gold Crackle, Yellow Crackle, Celadon Crackle, and Red Flambé. For example, a vase from the H Series finished in a standard glaze may be valued at $35 but valued at $70 if finished in Antique Gold Crackle.
  • Any glaze not noted above can be considered a Standard glaze. Of course some pieces may be found in unique or experimental glazes. Valuation of such pieces should be addressed on a case by case basis.


  • The last factor affecting value is availability (supply). As many of you know, some pieces of Gonder are extremely common. You can easily find several examples of a given piece at anytime listed on any of the online auction sites. There are other pieces, however, that are extremely scarce and you may never see one come to market – I’m thinking I may never find the #800 Gonder Original Mustang Planter! However, there are hundreds of pieces in between these two extremes, and being able to assess the availability of these piece is key to determining value of a piece. 
  • To assist in my collecting efforts, I created an Availability Rating that rates production items from A to E. There is a separate F rating for non production pieces or glazes.