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Steven-R, Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 2769
Experience:  I am a retired Major, US Army, and an antiques and collectibles consultant based on the east coast.
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Steve-R The modern version of the jug is the clay gargoulet

Customer Question

Steve-R The modern version of the jug is the clay gargoulet used in the Middle East for drinking water. I have been intreaged by that piece for the past 55 years since I have never seen a lead gargoulet of that age. I will send my request in a few hours.
You can look at a small part of my collection at
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Antiques
Expert:  Steven-R replied 2 years ago.
Good morning, and thank you for both the request for me and the image provided. You certainly have an impressive collection which is displayed handsomely!
I have seen a number of porous jugs and gargoulets most often associated in use for the filtering of primarily the Nile waters, but all have been made of either clay, resin blends or hessian type cloth.
The practice of filtering water through sand and coarse gravel was in use in the region (mainly Egypt) as early as the 3rd or 4th century BC, as evidenced by temple drawings and Sanskrit and Egyptian writings from the time.
Lead was primarily mined in the eastern desert near the Red Sea coast and at Aswan, but as it was too soft for most practical applications, most all recorded uses early on were with cosmetics, which seemed in many ways to be beneficial in an anti-bacterial way. We all know of the ramifications of the use of pewter cups with high lead content as well as even early lead pipe--but of course, that would not have been known in the era, most likely, your jug was manufactured.
Do you have any other specific history on it that you could share?
With kind regards,
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Steve: it looks to me now that it is a gargoulet for drinking water. Since it is made up of lead I wonder how old it could be. By the way since I am a collector I buy but never sell.
Finally I will be sending you within the hour a new last inquiry about a brass pot.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Steve: have you received my new Bronze bowl inquiry?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have in my collection a modern clay gargoulet
Expert:  Steven-R replied 2 years ago.
Hello, and so sorry for the delay but I was called out of town for an "emergency" evaluation for an estate settlement.
Based on the form, I honestly think any vessel of that type would likely be closer to perhaps no later than an early Victorian rendition and not much earlier than the 18th century, honestly. It is indeed a gargoulet form, clearly, but again I have never known of any being made of lead or pewter, sorry--I have posted the information to two associates who specialize more in that area, and asked for their input in case I am missing something. It may be a few days before they can respond, so I appreciate your patience.
I will check on the other item you posted immediately.
With kind regards,
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The clay gargoulet I have had a circular base that it rests on. That lead gargoulet has to stand in a holder which make me think it was for may be drinking Wine.
Expert:  Steven-R replied 2 years ago.
Oh, I would much more likely have been for intended for wine, which SORT of indicates it may well have been Roman and much earlier, as they did use alloyed lead/pewter goblets and such...and the form dates to pre-Roman occupation times...hopefully we will get an informative response soon!
With kind regards,
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Steve the new quiery about the disk thrower is no allowing me to add photos. Please request photos
Expert:  Steven-R replied 2 years ago.
Thank you...first the the form was virtually unknown until the identification of a Greek sculpture that was completed near the end of the Severe period, circa 460-450 BC, any form similar to that is likely Hellenistic after 450 BC...the style appears to be refined enough to be circa 200 BC to 200 AD, and possibly a bit later.
As such, the typical value range would be around $1,200+/- today with most collectors.
Now, back to the gargoulet--my associate responds it is most certainly from the Roman era 200-300 AD...and adds that while some similar vessels are known made in alloyed lead, your specimen is quite rare--which means it could be worth several thousands of dollars--since no others are readily known, it would be wise to insure it for at least $5,000.
If I can be of further assistance on this topic in any manner, please just ask--my goal is to provide accurate and prompt information back to you in a professional manner.
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Have a blessed day!
With kind regards,