The Greeneville Antique Appraisal show has been rescheduled due to the unusual winter weather Northeast Tennessee has been experiencing. This year’s show will mark the 10th anniversary of the antique show that works much like the hit series Antique Roadshow. Just like on the show, there have been a few items in the past ten years that have surprised even the appraisers. In 2009 for example, a mid-19th-century miniature Sheraton chest of drawers made in Washington County sold for $8, 966 at the show. Even more impressive, a C. A. Haun jar sold for $38,600 in 2010 and a similar jar by J. A. Lowe set a Tennessee record in 2008 appraising and selling for an incredible $63,000!
While the record-breaking pottery itself is exquisite, the history behind the items probably accounts for the steep appraisal. Christopher Alexander Haun was a young potter in Greene County, TN with a wife and four small children. Haun was known for his beautiful pottery and his knack for training other potters. It was in 1861 when Haun and four other men were caught burning a new bridge days after they were sworn in as Union Soldiers. The bridge was built across Lick Creek to carry supplies for the Confederate war effort.
The law during the Civil War stated bridge burning was punishable by public hanging. A month after the four men were caught, they were hung in town square in Greene County. The night before Haun died, he wrote two letters to his wife, who at that time was expecting their fifth child. In the letters were instructions on how to handle the pottery business. He told his wife to allow his apprentices to complete their works in progress and then sell the whole business. She was to use that money and the money from his unsold pottery to support the children.
One apprentice, J. A. Lowe, was only beginning his potter career and became very discouraged by the outcome of his master’s fait. He decided to finish his only known work. Using the same glaze and form Haun used, Lowe stamped his name around the upper shoulder then left it with Haun’s wife to sell. Shortly after, Lowe gave up pottery and joined the Confederate Army. He died a few years later.
Today in Northeast Tennessee, some of Haun’s work still floats around and almost always appraises very high; it can be recognized by his stamp that reads “C. A. Haun & Co.” Haun and Lowe’s works are just two examples of the region’s rich history, which has produced some very valuable items. Who knows? Maybe you have some valuable antiques lying around. Be sure to visit the 10th Annual Antique Appraisal Show at Greeneville High School March 27 and 28 and watch history be remade.