About two years ago, I took a liking to a large old brass pot in a local shop here in Willow Glen (San Jose, California). 2′ tall, with three feet ending in big claws, and two faces with rings in their mouths for handles, it had charm. I started negotiating. Having successfully purchased items in the souq in my travels in the Middle East, I enjoyed the slow negotiation here at home.
The store owner said that the pot was a genuine antique, valued at $5,000 but it had been in the store for a long time, so she was willing to part with it for $2,000. I was not interested and left that day. A few months later, I was back in the store admiring the pot again. The owner said she might come down a bit from her original price: was I interested in paying $1,500? Nope – I left that day too. The next year I went back and asked if the pot (which was not by the front display case any more) had sold? No – it was now in the basement, marked down to $1,000. Still I was not interested.
Then, a few months ago, I saw that the store was moving. I went in to ask about the pot. The owner’s brother was in charge. He said the price was now $500 because they needed to clear out the store quickly. I was interested but not willing to pay that much. I offered $200. We settled on $250. I am now the owner of an old brass pot, provenance unknown, value unknown, original purpose unknown, but an enjoyable new feature of my living room nonetheless.
Please leave a comment if you think know anything about my old brass pot: Where did it come from? What was its intended purpose? Who made it? The stamped mark on the bottom (pictured below) has 3 intertwined initials with an ampersand: SW&S or S&WS or S&SW or W&SS ? (hard to read).
Images Copyright 2011 by Katy Dickinson