Published: May 4, 2021
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates
MOUNT CRAWFORD, VA. – “This sale, our strongest of its type to date, generated robust interest across the board, from bidders near and far,” Jeffrey S. Evans said after three days of sales April 22-24 that saw nearly 1,700 lots come under the gavel. “Levels of online participation in our auctions continue to expand dramatically – a real indication that there is increased market demand for a diverse range of art and antiques. The overall excitement and strong sales results reflect the freshness and high quality of the merchandise offered.”
That’s not hyperbole. The first day of sales, which featured Part I of the Carl Carter collection from Austin, Texas, saw white-glove results with all 502 lots finding new homes; similar results were seen when 561 lots of various owner furniture and decorative arts marched across the block on the second day of the sale. All but one of the 619 lots offered on the final day of sale traded hands and the auction welcomed nearly 5,000 registered bidders from more than 40 countries participating online, by phone, in house, and through absentee.
The top lot of Carl Carter’s collection – and of the three days of action – was a Tiffany Studios linenfold and turtleback art glass electric table lamp that retained its original GE sockets with original interiors, including mica insulators. It was, in the words of vice president Will Kimbrough, “in absolute pristine condition. You almost never find a Tiffany lamp that doesn’t have some kind of defect or small crack; this was completely undamaged. That really pushed the price.” An East Coast collector, bidding on the phone, prevailed against six other phone bidders and won the lot for $21,060, well ahead of its $10/15,000 estimate. The lamp had been one of Carter’s more recent purchases and his collection of paperweights attracted the most attention but all summed up his collecting strategy, which Kimbrough said boiled down to “he collected the highest caliber.”
“We are really happy with the results,” Kimbrough said of the Carter collection sale. “We have wanted to move in that direction – the paperweight market – for a while. We’ve sold a lot of paperweights over the years but never to the scale we have now. Kudos to Carl Carter; he is a passionate collector and while he was ready to sell, it was a bittersweet celebration for him. He’s absolutely ecstatic with the results, which were quite strong.”
The contemporary paperweights outweighed antique and vintage examples by more than two to one and Kimbrough said that the firm’s glass specialist, Chase Lanford, had the opportunity to speak with five or six of the artists whose pieces were in the sale. “The paperweight market is really strong for these living artists. Paperweight collectors are around the world and examples in Carter’s collection are going all over.”
The highest price for one of Carter’s paperweights was the first lot in the sale and set a high bar. A botanical assemblage lampwork studio art glass paperweight sculpture made in 2000 by Paul Stankard (American, b 1943) comprised multiple connected blocks suspended in a transparent block. It bloomed past its $6/8,000 estimate and sold for $9,360 to a collector in the United States. Another example by Stankard – this a damselfly and bouquet example, was made in 2002 and realized $5,265 from an American collector. The same price was paid by an American collector for a unique fancy-cut series gladiolus floral garland lampwork studio art glass heart-shaped magnum paperweight sculpture by David Graeber (American, b 1967), which was made in 2012. Kimbrough pointed out a particularly strong result for a grasshopper and flowers lampwork paperweight made by Stefan Bracht (German, b 1945), which hopped to $3,042, more than ten times its low estimate.
While paperweights were the dominant form in Carter’s collection, other studio art glass forms abounded. Leading that group was a millefiori, murine and latticinio glass vase, made in Selkirk, Scotland, in 2019 by Mike Hunter (Scottish, b 1958). A visual feast for the eyes, the unique piece was numbered one of one and brought $5,850 from an American collector. Another vase, made by Jonathan Harris (English, b 1945), depicted four carp swimming amidst sea flowers and seaweeds, swam well past its $400/600 estimate to land at $2,106.
Among vintage and antique offerings, a Saint Louis concentric millefiori art glass super magnum paperweight basket was the heavy hitter, swinging to $5,558 for a collector in the United States, while a Gallé blown-molded Clematis cameo art glass vase made four times its low estimate and topped off at $3,276.
The second day of the sale was led by a Tiffany Favrile Daffodil art glass paperweight vase that was fresh to the market from a Flint Hill, Va., estate. Despite some cloudiness that Kimbrough thought might have held the price back a bit, it still exceeded expectations and sold to a trade buyer on the East Coast for $9,360 ($5/8,000).
Several collections were on prominent display on the second day, most notably the miniature lamp collection from the North Port, Fla., estate of Rosemary Bennett. Figural forms seemed to be most popular among bidders, who competed heavily for lamps in the form of Native American chiefs ($7,020), swans ($5,850), Santa Claus ($4,095), skeletons ($3,803), Christopher Columbus ($3,042), tulips ($1,872), elves ($1,521) and owls ($1,170), to name just a few of the 175 lamps from Bennett’s collection.
Fred and Lorraine Ayers of Layton, N.J., have amassed a sizeable collection of open salts and the first part of their collection was featured on the second day. Noteworthy results include $3,510 paid for a circa 1870 Viennese enameled pedestal open salt that was attributed to Rudolf Linke. Kimbrough said they had sold a table cup by the same maker a few years ago; the buyer of the table cup was the underbidder on the salt, which sold to an online buyer.
The third day of sales offered a diverse selection of fine and decorative arts, jewelry, clocks and watches, rugs, Asian and African works of art, and Midcentury Modern objects. A large lot of Baltimore silver that had descended in an Eastern Virginia family brought the top price of the day, selling for $9,360 to a private collector bidding in the room.
Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates will sell early glass and blue transferware, including the collection of Phoenix, Ariz., collector Nick Routson on May 21-22. Part II of the Carter Collection will take place October 15 and will feature approximately 500 lots of paperweights and studio glass, including examples by many of the same artists whose work was offered in Part I, as well as a selection of antique paperweights by makers such as Clichy, Saint Louis and Baccarat.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
For additional information, www.jeffreysevans.com or 540-434-3939.
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