Pig pottery bottles bring $125,000 in online-only auction

An unusual collection from Gene Heisey brought a total of $125,000, with one pig made by Anna Pottery for Horace Greeley's 1872 Presidential Campaign achieving $21,850.

Anna Pottery's 1872 Horace Greeley pig bottle

One of 11 pottery pigs in the collection, the bottle is engraved with a likeness of Greeley on one side and is considered to be one of only two known examples.

Anna Pottery hand-crafted its products and produced some of the finest examples of 19th century folk art. The unusual pieces were known as "messengers", frequently being inscribed with political views and opinion.

"Gene Heisey's collection represents what is probably the last of the old time original pig collections dating back to the early 1970′s" said Jim Hagenbuch, owner of the auction house. "In the early years of bottle collecting mostly all the pottery pigs were in bottle collections, today most are in stoneware and folk art collections."

One rare salt glaze pig bottle sold for $13,800, with the high sale price attributed to the fact that Anna Pottery rarely made bottles for Southern companies.  

This unusual collection was among 333 lots in the auction, which featured a bottle bearing an image of Robert E. Lee.  The words "Travellers - Bitters" is embossed on the side panels of the brown glass bottle. Traveller was the name of the Confederate General's most famous horse during the American Civil War. The item set a record for the bottle, selling at $12,650.

For more unusual investment opportunities, visit our Unique Items section, which includes this lottery ticket autographed by President George Washington.

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