December 2016 – the Late Year Final!

Well, readers, we have finally arrived at my last monthly blog. Altogether now… Aaaahhh. Here, let me pass you my hanky. It is only a little dirty, but we know each other, so you will be ok. Blow your collective noses and wipe thoroughly. There there there. The new house purchase in France suddenly got closer since last I wrote. In fact we take possession on… wait for it…wait for it… Friday the 13th of January!! Gulp. Bwahaahaahaa. It could only happen to the Masterspy, readers. All sorts to organise as you can imagine. Logs for the woodburner, heaters for the bedrooms, towels, linen, food for the empty cupboards and a million other things, even though the house is fully furnished. And, of course, not forgetting the TV, phone and t’interweb. Thinking of buying a chicken for our first evening meal. Should be able to afford it with only a small mortgage. Do you want my hanky back?

I can’t write my last blog without giving a final sitrep on Erin (now 4 years 5 months) and Oliver (3 years 10 months) now, can I? They are both doing very well. No fits for Oliver for about 6 months (that creaking sound you hear is the noise of Masterspy’s arthritic fingers being crossed) and he seems as mentally developed, intelligent and responsive as any child of his age. Erin is…. MEGA LIVELY!!! They are both very cute gorgeous children, though I say it myself. As you do. Mrs Masterspy and I are both naturally very proud of both of them.

Later addition….And there you go readers, they do say pride goeth before a fall and on this occasion they were 100% correct. After the aforesaid 6 month gap Oliver had 2 fits last night, but seems lively and chatty this morning. Damn damn damn.


Mad Item of the Month

Carlton Ware gaming counter decorated with Moonlight Cameo.

Carlton Ware gaming counter decorated with Moonlight Cameo.

For a change I thought I would offer a cynical and cheeky one rather than a weird thing. In Issue 6 of the Carlton Comet magazine published by Carlton Ware World in December 2005 there was an article on some Carlton Ware gaming counters decorated in various patterns. The size of these counters (or at least this one) is 1⅜˝ or 38mm. I don’t own one of these, so I can’t tell you how much it weighs readers, but it can’t be more than an ounce or two can it? It is made out of clay, not Platinum. Oklahoma seller wqo7419 listed an example in Moonlight Cameo for £24.28. So you can imagine my shocked surprise when I saw that he wanted £42.69 just for the postage to the UK!!!!!! Total greed. When you add the duty of 25% on the piece and of course the postage the coin cost the buyer the mad amount of £83.71!!!!! I hope there was an exchange of views before the seller sent it. To put it in perspective Norwegian Airlines are intending to start a service in summer 2017 flying between Edinburgh and New York for £56.00. Say no more.

Over Optimistic eBayer of the Decade

MIKADO bowl – repaired?

The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted that the title of this paragraph is not worded as normal. Why have I changed it? Because the seller of this 7” ribbed bowl in one of the powder blue versions of MIKADO has been trying to sell it at this same price £54.99 for at least the last 5 years. It looks to me to have some dodgy looking wear on the rim, or possible restoration perhaps, which isn’t helping, is it? I commend your dogged persistence, but for goodness sake man, it isn’t going to sell at this price if it hasn’t sold previously when prices were much higher for the Chinoiserie patterns is it? Lower the price or give it up. Watch it sell now ha ha.

Carlton Ware Mandarin Tree 3719 jug S470

Mandarin Tree 3719 jug S470

Bargain of the Month

I am really fond of Mandarin Tree 3719. I am also quite keen on jugs, especially the larger ones. Imagine my deep jealousy, mortification and chagrin readers, when I discovered that some lucky eBayer had bought a perfect and very beautiful example from evelylawso-4 for only £103.50, it having been previously listed at £475.00 BIN/ONO. Almost as lucky as “Lucky”. Nahhh, nobody could be THAT lucky, but an excellent buy anyway.


Last Roundup… yee-haw

A decent purchase was also made by the buyer of this 9” 217er in Moonlight Cameo 2946 at a price of £111.11 from seller teddies12345 of Bristol. Not bargain of the month though, too much crazing and wear.

One of CW’s rarest patterns is NORWEGIAN LADY 3668. It is very rarely seen, so when a 12½˝ charger appears on eBay, even with restoration to the rim, it is gonna go BIG. So it proved.

Carlton Ware NORWEGIAN LADY 3668 plaque

NORWEGIAN LADY 3668 plaque

As you all know I don’t bid much on secret auctions, so I kept out of it, not that it makes any difference because as it turns out glad-findings has blocked me anyway. Ha ha. It made £686.00. I know where it went anyway, so there.

Carlton Ware Sunflower Geometric 3333 vase S467

FRENCH 3333 (aka Sunflower Geometric) vase S467


I was extremely pleased early in 2016 to obtain by a private purchase from a friend a duplicate of this nice 4” shape 467 vase in FRENCH 333 (aka Sunflower Geometric). This one flowered for the Q of C at £180.00. Lovely pattern. Happy with mine and, if I know the buyer, he will be happy with his.




Carlton Ware SKETCHING BIRD 3891 vase S464

SKETCHING BIRD 3891 vase S464


Here I am in my last blog and I never did get a 464 shape vase….. feel free to send me all your spare 464s readers. Worry ye not, I can cope with every one you send me. EBayer paula5582 used to own a 9”er (very unusual to find a 9”er) and got £88.10 for her SKETCHING BIRD 3891 vase.





Charity seller bhf_shops seems to have a good line to get hold of CW. No rubbish either. This time it was a 14½” x 8½” trinket tray in FAN 3557.

Carlton Ware FAN 3557 trinket tray

FAN 3557 trinket tray

These trays are easy to display, so it was naturally sought after by 11 bidders and it reached £180.00.

Some patterns are magical and always attract a lot of attention, even when damaged. alismarg of Inverness hooked this Big ‘un and offered it up for sale, sadly with a visibly repaired handle.

Carlton Ware JAZZ 3352 gondola S349

JAZZ 3352 gondola S349

Luckily for the seller 2 daft old rutting stags slugged it out all through the auction and it finally went to one of them for £375.00. What was it then, oh Masterspy? Well, it was this superb JAZZ 3352 gondola.

Wonderful work, such a pity about that handle.

There are 4 colour ways in the Secretary Bird pattern. My own personal favourite is the ruby version, number 4108, as below. I have 2 pieces, so I am done, but many others still fancy this bird.

Carlton Ware Secretary Bird 4108 jug S1347

Secretary Bird 4108 jug S1347

Sadly, this bird had been pecked once or twice on the feet, but, as seller Q of C said about it “If you can live with the chips on the base, you have got a great jug”. Couldn’t agree more, Queenie. It now has a price tag of £181.00.

CLEMATIS 3525, a Handcraft pattern, doesn’t usually make big money, although it isn’t a dirt cheap pattern either. The buyer of this 10” ginger jar did well paying only £125.00.

Carlton ware CLEMATIS 3525 HANDCRAFT ginger jar

CLEMATIS 3525 HANDCRAFT ginger jar

I have been wondering why such a large piece with no damage should only attract a singleton bid and I think it could possibly be the fact that there is no pattern, other than the mottled ground, on the lid. Mebbe some buyers wondered if it was a marriage. I don’t know whether this piece was produced with or without flowers on the lid, so if somebody out there has a 10” ginger jar in CLEMATIS 3525 let us know if your lid is ground only, or flowers on ground, though as we know most Handcraft patterns are freehand painted so can very greatly.

Carlton Ware Cubist Butterfly 3194 vase S463

Cubist Butterfly 3194 vase S463


Sometimes if you go in with a very low offer to a seller for a BIN/ONO pot they take the umbrage, but the buyer of this lovely little blue globular shape 463 vase in Cubist Butterfly 3194 managed to negotiate a large discount without alienating the seller dick1320, walking off into the sunset with his or her prize at a fair £70.00 rather than the original asking price of £199.99. This is a pattern I love for its sheer deconess, yet it’s almost childlike simplicity. Sometimes less is more. Nuff said.



Pedestal gondolas are one of my things, more accurately named on the works as REVO COMPORTS. I only have a couple, but to me they are an extreme expression of the potter’s abilities and skills, from the clay preparation right through to the firing and finishing. In fact, just getting a finished piece like this to market undamaged would be difficult. When decorated well, with a good pattern they form an excellent canvas for the pattern. This month saw the listing of one which sadly didn’t quite achieve much of a result for the Q of C. It is in Prickly Pansy 3449, but has been decorated with the pattern almost slipping off the bottom of the bowl it is so low down.

Carlton Ware Prickly Pansy 3449 REVO COMPORT S391.

Prickly Pansy 3449 REVO COMPORT S391.

It is all there, but from a level view it is almost out of sight. Additionally it had a small rim crack. So it rose only just above the ton to £107.07. A shame, that. In top nick and decorated slightly differently it should have gone a fair distance north of what it achieved.

Carlton Ware Flowering Papyrus 3242 vase S136

Flowering Papyrus 3242 vase S136


Flowering Papyrus 3242 with its Egyptian inspired subject matter and Handcraft treatment on this shape of vase carries the viewer almost to the entrance of the temple at Karnak itself (bin there, done that). Is it my fancy, or does this shape make me think of temple columns and the shape was chosen for that reason? There is no doubt whatever though that the painting and colours on this beauty are bazzing. At £39.00 is a really good buy.





Well, my very very very last offering in my very last monthly blog is the best lot in this very quiet Ebay Christmas month. Californian collector/seller tyler*95 just simply went for broke readers. He listed a pair (yes, I did say a pair) of 6” tall 326ers in JAZZ 3353 on the orange ground.

Carlton Ware JAZZ 3353 vases S326

JAZZ 3353 vases S326

Some would say this pattern and colourway is the zenith of the entire CW firmament, which is why I have never got anywhere near owning a piece of course. Oh well. Probably never will now. Sighhh. Naturally they went to a magnificent £1377.98. Thanks Charlie for bringing the curtain down for the final time with a massive bang!

So then, sadly it is the final goodbye from me. I hope you have enjoyed my Masterspy blogs as much as I have enjoyed writing them for you. There will be no more new blogs, but hopefully you will reread them from time to time as a reference source on the mighty and wonderful Carlton Ware pottery and hopefully, if you have not already done so, you will pick up the deeper meanings clear when you read between the lines. I will try to make the time for a final year end/all-time review blog at some point readers, but please don’t hold me to it as I will be so heavily committed going forward.

To the many of you who have operated on eBay in a decent and honourable fashion, good luck and may your Carlton Ware pottery turn to fortunes.

To the fair number of you who have operated on eBay in a less than wholly exemplary and honourable manner (you know very well who you are), more or less transparently in some cases, may you get your full and deserved shame and comeuppance one day and to the vast remainder of you, my heartfelt thanks for sticking with me for the last 6 years and for the incredibly kind comments and contributions you have made along the way, sometimes when my life really needed a little kindness. They have all been most welcome and deeply appreciated.

Of course I must thank my long-suffering editor Harvey Pettit, who has excised more errors than fleas on a mangy mutt….fanks ‘arv.

I would also like to thank the blog itself, because it has extended and enriched my friendships many fold. I know some wonderful people I would never have known without writing the blog, especially the collectors Down Under who were incredibly kind to me and Mrs Masterspy on our trip there in 2013.

Finally, there is of course one person whose endless patience has been freely given while I have been blogging and sat staring fixedly at eBay bidding patterns and such like (for at least one full day and sometimes even for up to three days every month), none of this would have been possible. I refer of course to the wonderful and lovely Mrs Angela Masterspy…. Angela by name and Angel by nature xxxxx

Goodbye all….So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Shudders mightily and shuffles slowly off to stage left, head lowered, a balding and silent one-eared old teddy hanging limply from one hand and dragging across the floor, stripey pjs flapping loosely, sobbing uncontrollably…exeunt omnes….Curtain….Darkness….


Oh, now hold on minute right there Masterspy you slimy, sneaky, rotten radge pot, I am not having that!!! You promised these good people that in your last blog you would unveil your ugly mug to the world, so get on with it – ed.

Who me? Did I really promise to do that? What a muppet I am! Ok, then, here we go….

eBay Masterspy aka Tony Wood

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17 Responses to December 2016 – the Late Year Final!

  1. Barry says:

    Well done Tony.
    I will miss the blogs
    Many thanks for your time and effort.

  2. Carole Moore says:

    Sad to see the end of Masterspy however understand 6 years is a long time to give personal time to Carlton Ware lovers.

    Thank you

    Anyone one else have ideas going forward on a similar line?

  3. Chris says:

    All the best Tony and Angela. Might see you Down under one day.
    Or, I might take the plunge and visit Up above!!!

  4. Toni says:

    Tony…… I am truly going to miss your Masterspy reviews. They added an extra bit of fun and excitement to my own collecting endeavours. I hope that you and Angela will visit with us again in the land down under, you are most welcome 😊.
    Take Care , the other Toni !

  5. Jack says:

    My dear old mate Tony, the old thieve!!! is very sad as I enjoyed very much reading your blog which was full of wit and fun. I wish you Angela and your beautiful family good health and hoping we will meet again one day soon, Take care mate also Helen sends her love.

  6. Derek says:

    Hi Tony. We will miss the blog for sure.. and yes I did negotiate on the postage price for the moonlight cameo gambling chip! Enjoy France, we’ll look forward to the house warming! 🙂

    • ebay masterspy says:

      Hi Derek,
      Thanks my friend.
      I should hope you did too.
      Greedy to ask that much for postage.
      I bet he did the old “Oh, I accidentally left the old figure on from a previous listing” routine. lol

  7. Mike Fortescue says:

    Tony and Angela,
    Thanks very much for your years of blogging, they were always fun to read and informative – not to mention the pics of CW I would love to have won. I must also say thanks for your hospitality when I visited Up Over in 2015 … and I did have suspicions about who this Masterspy bloke might be! Like Toni says above, let us know if you manage to head Down under again,
    Best wishes for your French future, and that your Carlton Ware collection gets larger (I’m still envious).
    Cheers, Mike.

    • ebay masterspy says:

      Hi Mike,
      Thank you for your kind words.
      I don’t know if we will visit again. Getting a bit old for 30+ hour plane journeys, but if I do I will certainly sneak a peek at your pots and would welcome you back here any time.
      Keep in touch.

  8. Betty says:

    I’m a relative newcomer to the world of Carltonware but have enjoyed your posts immensely. Thank you so much, and I will miss your knowledge and humour. All the best for the future.

  9. ebay masterspy says:

    Thanks Betty

  10. Peter Gay says:

    Well done Tony, you will be missed. All the best to you and yours for the future. Peter.

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