Published: December 18, 2018
Review and Onsite Photos by R. Scudder Smith
DENVER, PENN. – At 9 am on December 5, under a dozen people were seated about the handsome and comfortable gallery at Morphy Auctions, awaiting the start of 1,613 lots of fine and decorative art to be sold. Dan Morphy took charge right on time, offering a selection of fine jewelry starting with a platinum diamond and ruby ring, the pear-shaped diamond of 1.6 carats mounted with a 2.0-carat ruby. It sold for $4,920, kicking off a long day that did not end until about 7:30 pm.
More than 100 lots of rings, gold and diamond earrings, a Tiffany & Co sapphire and diamond turtle brooch, necklaces and bracelets were offered before a run of beautiful watches crossed the block. The star lot was a 1969 Rolex Daytona Ref. 6241 Paul Newman model in 18K gold. It sold for $578,100, within estimate. Selling within estimate at $33,299 was a limited edition IWC Da Vinci Jubilee Rattrapante, with moon phase in solid platinum with silver dial that was in excellent working order.
A good number of wristwatches and pocket watches were offered before a series of vinaigrettes in many shapes, including a cut glass bottle, harp, lyre, clam shell, fish, basket, purse, scent bottle, horn, locket, glass binocular and two enameled violins, silver gilt with floral and scroll work. The last two mentioned sold for $2,337, within estimate.
As the time came closer to the large collection of Tiffany Studios lighting, plus a few other makers, the number of in-house bidders increased to about thirty. Lot 289, a Tiffany Studios Linenfold table lamp had a large shade with 16 panels. The shade rests on a bronze base and both the shade and base are finished in gold dore. It sold for $6,190, and several lots later a Tiffany paperweight Nasturtium vase with large green leaves and vines, set against a clam-broth background, sold for $17,220, within estimate. The vase is signed on the underside and measures 6 inches high.
Selling a few lots later was a Tiffany Studios ten-light lily lamp with gold Favrile shades with lightly ribbed bodies and the base is finished in gold dore. The lamp measures 20¾ inches tall and it sold within estimate at $25,200. Next was a Tiffany Studios Nautilus desk lamp with a bronze base depicting a mermaid rising out of the water with waves surrounding her body and with her hands supporting a nautilus shell shade. The lamp is 16½ inches high and it went for $18,450, within estimate.
A Tiffany Studios Crocus table lamp has a leaded glass shade with four groups of crocus descending from the aperture. The flowers are done in heavily mottled cream, yellow and orange glass set against a light green background. The lamp is 28½ inches tall and sold over estimate for $34,650. Among the Wedgwood pieces was a Fairyland Imps on a Bridge vase with an interesting color combination of green shading to purple imps, on the bridge a purple fairy with white wings, and a purple Roc bird, all against a mottled and brightly iridescent blue background with gilded highlights. It sold within estimate for $4,305.
The day ended with a Rosenthal French clown figurine, sad face, ruffled collar with jacket sleeves hanging to his ankles. The clown is 11½ inches tall and sold just within the estimate at $221.
It was now time to head out to Johnny’s for his large crab cake without stuffing, and it really is all crab meat.
Returning on the second day, the in-house bidders counted about ten, but there was lots of interest from the web bidders and the phones were very active. The first painting to sell was “The Nativity of Truth,” a large oil on canvas by William Allen Wall (American, 1801-1885), painted in 1853. It centers upon a youthful female dressed in white holding a quill pen which she has just put into the inkwell, preparing to write into a large volume headed “Truth.” Framed it measures 84 by 71 inches and it sold for $8,610.
“Black Spiral,” a watercolor and gouache on paper by Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976), is signed and dated “Calder 70.” It sold for $18,450. Several lots following, a portrait of the ship Isaac Webb by Antonio N.G. Jacobsen (American, 1850-1821) sold for $6,150, within estimate. This work is signed and dated Antonio Jacobsen, 1916, an oil on board measuring 12 by 19¾ inches.
An oil on canvas, “Portsmouth Harbor in Moonlight,” by Henry Pether (British, Active 1826-1862), is 21 by 28 inches work size, sold for $11,685, while an oil on canvas by Christa Kieffer (American, 1940-2004), “A Paris Evening” sold within estimate at $6,765. It was in a modern gold-tone frame and the work measures 30 by 48 inches.
Hattie Brunner (1889-1982), the Pennsylvania Grandma Moses of New England, did many country scenes, including “Winter Landscape with Sleigh,” a watercolor and gouache on paper painted in 1963. It measures 10½ by 14½ inches and brought $1,680, within estimate.
Pictured on the next page are four hat pins that surprised everyone after selling for $27,600, estimated $1/2,000, but not too far behind was Lot 1116, 11 Victorian hat pins in the Lalique style, three of which have cone-shaped heads, and three that are fan-shaped colored glass. This lot brought $17,640, over a $900 high estimate.
A grouping of eight doorstops included the rare soldier with flower in gun, circa 1920, original paint and half-round hollow casting. It sold for $2,460, while the next lot, Whistlin Jim doorstop, Bradley & Hubbard Foundry, Meriden, Conn., went for $1,353. The Footmen doorstop, smaller version, circa 1920, Hubley Foundry, Lancaster, Penn., went below estimate for $667, and the Sailor doorstop, circa 1920, Littco Products, Littlestown, Penn., original untouched condition, brought $1,599.
Two more pieces of iron included a pair of cast iron antique hitching posts, each cast as a California redwood tree, 68½ inches high, late Nineteenth Century, sold above the $800 high estimate for $3,091. The other iron piece was an unusual Whippet umbrella stand by the Coalbrookdale Company. This piece retains its old unpainted surface and it sold below estimate for $2,268.
A large pair of ivory scrimshaw carvings in the form of tusks, late Qing dynasty, China, each 61 by 7 inches, sold over the $4,000 high estimate at $4,395. A lot of two Japanese ivory pieces include a man holding a boy with a toy horse, and the other a carved ivory dragon with a man on the back of the dragon. They sold for $1,107, just over the high estimate.
Well over 250 napkin rings in 12 lots were sold, including the first lot, 32 Chinese export pieces, all but two sterling and nine embossed with dragons. They sold for $2,394, over estimate, and the next lot of 20 coin medallion silver rings, mid-1800s, brought $2,304.
A number of trophies were offered, including the Bath City Challenge Cup with a panel of cyclists and the figure of Victory on top, 25 inches tall, brought $5,960, within estimate, and an English silver trophy vase, London, 1888, topped by a figure of Victory holding a laurel wreath. It brought $5,440.
Lot 1269, an American sterling silver punch bowl by Graff, Washbourne & Dunne, circular with the sides chased with six scenes, all between applied American eagles with spread wings. The diameter is 18¾ inches, it came from the Roy Bentley collection and the highest bid was $17,220, almost three times the high estimate.
A bid of $5,535 went over the $3,500 high estimate to win a lot of sterling flatware by Tiffany, Persian pattern. There were mostly serving pieces, including two salad sets, an ice cream slice with matte gilt blade, set of 12 ice cream spoons, two sugar sifters, a cream ladle with a deep bowl and a long olive or pickle fork plus others. The weight was 66.2 ozt.
A collection of American sterling flatware, mostly serving pieces, included a pair of berry spoons, heavily chased bowls, a pair of sugar spoons with twist stems and other pieces. Total weight was 41 ozt and it sold for $984, within estimate. A lot of ten Georg Jensen sterling silver jewelry pieces includes three pins with stones, three pins with open piece work and birds, two pairs of cuff links, one bird pin and one flower pin. The lot sold for $1,260, just above the high estimate.
Seventy-eight lots of walking stick canes ended the auction, with most of them selling within estimate. A lot of seven walking sticks included one with a shoe handle, a second with an ivory-capped cane with a scrimshaw whale’s tail, one with a man holding a sword and one with a finely carved fox. The lot sold for $1,353, just above estimate. Another lot selling for $315, below estimate, included four pieces, including a gadget cane with an opening top, another gadget with a top that unscrews and the last one also has a gadget top that unscrews to reveal a compartment.
Prices, with buyer’s premium, as reported by the auction house.
The next auctions on the Morphy schedule are Toys, Dolls & Figural Cast Iron, March 13-14, in Denver, Penn.; Gold Rush, Western & Native American, March 24 in Las Vegas, and then back to Denver, Penn., for Automobilia & Petroliana, April 3-4.
For additional information, www.morphyauctions.com or 877-968-8880.
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