The galleries at Green Valley were awash in a rainbow of colors as the firm hosted its annual winter glass auction on January 27 and 28. The sale, which featured more than 1,400 lots in a wide variety of styles, forms and colors, generated more than 400 bidders from 35 states, Canada and the United Kingdom. Company president Jeffrey S. Evans reported that interest in the auction was strong – his staff processed nearly 1,200 absentee bids and handled more than 100 phone bids for the two-day event.
Leading off Friday’s session as a selection of early American pattern glass (EAPG) represented by colored, stained and colorless examples. Ruby-stained wares continue to be one of the most hotly contested EAPG categories and this sale included two rare specimens. First to the block was a cracker jar in Westmoreland’s Sterling pattern that soared to $1,100 against a $200/300 estimate. Three lots later, a true open compote in the Summit pattern quickly surpassed its $100/150 estimate, selling for $770.
More than 300 pieces of vintage and contemporary Vaseline glass were sold in 57 lots, led by a Wheat and Barley pattern 7-inch-diameter covered compote, which fetched $303. These were followed by a collection of Fenton glass, led by a pair of cranberry Daisy and Fern parlor lamps that quickly sold for $495.
The end of the Friday session consisted of carnival and other Twentieth Century glass, including a Fenton Fluffy Peacock blue carnival water pitcher, which strutted off at $660.
Saturday’s session kicked off at 9:30 am sharp with acollection of barber bottles, highlighted by a cranberry opalescentStars and Stripes example that marched off at $413.
One of the auction’s biggest draws was a collection of opalescent water pitchers, which produced the sale’s two highest priced lots. First place was claimed by a cranberry Coinspot pitcher in the extremely rare Ribbon-Tie mold, which was won by an advanced Pennsylvania collector in the audience for $9,300 despite a minor handle flaw.
The catalog noted that this pitcher, which had been discovered in a local estate, was previously unrecorded in cranberry. Evans commented that he only knew of one other example, which is in green.
The next highest lot was another cranberry pitcher, this time in the ever popular Stars and Stripes pattern, which was first produced by Hobbs, Brockunier & Co. of Wheeling, W.Va. This example was from a prominent New England collection and sold to an elated New York collector on the phone for $6,050.
Other popular opalescent water pitchers included a cranberry Fern, $3,250; a colorless Stars and Stripes, $3,410; a green opaline Brocade/Spanish Lace nine-panel tankard, $1,760; and a cranberry Seaweed, $1,540.
Sugar shakers and syrups are among the most highly collectedVictorian glass forms and this sale contained more than 150examples. Top lots were an extremely rare satin ruby Northwood LeafMold sugar shaker at $1,980 and a cranberry ribbed opal latticesyrup at $1,265.
Part five of the mammoth tumbler collection assembled by Kenneth Depew again drew much interest with this installment primarily consisting of art glass examples. Highly desirable examples included an unrecorded signed Locke Art specimen featuring a girl on horseback and inscribed “Madeline,” which galloped off at $1,045, and a rainbow mother-of-pearl satin diamond quilted with square top, which reached $715.
The art glass section of the sale featured a collection of Loetz and related wares from a well-known New England collection. Seven phone bidders battled it out for a signed “Loetz, Austria” Phanomen style 11 1/2-inch free-form vase that cost the winner $5,500.
Two other signed Loetz Phanomen vases also received strong interest; a 9 3/4-inch urn-form example with lavalike texture reached $2,420 and a 14-inch example decorated with pulled feathers sold for $1,980.
Other European art glass included a signed Emile Galle acid etched and enameled 17 1/2-inch vase featuring orchids and mushrooms that sold for $3,190. British glass was led by a Webb Alrexandrite finger bowl and underplate with outstanding color, $1,650. American art glass was well represented, including a signed Quezal Heart and Clinging Vine 8-inch vase, which climbed to $1,870, and a satin peachblow rib optic pouch vase, attributed to the Mount Washington Glass Co., which stood 4 1/8 inches high and commanded $1,760.
The auction ended with a variety of kerosene-era lighting,including a B&H hanging library lamp with cranberry swirled riboptic 14-inch shade, $1,540, and a B&H floor or piano lamp withan outstanding opaque pink ball shade set with colored jewels,$935. A selection of miniature lamps was led by a polychromedecorated opaque white owl with original shade in top condition,which soared to $1,540.
After the sale, Evans remarked that he was happy with the prices overall, but thought that the middle market was a bit sluggish. He offered the overabundance of average Victorian glass on the Internet as a possible explanation for the soft prices. “The glass market continues to evolve and change just like it has for the past 75 years,” Evans commented. “Now that the Internet has been added to the equation, we’re dealing with some different variables that are going to take a little while to shake out; but I guess it’s not much different than when our ancestors had to adjust to the telephone and television,” he speculated.
Prices reported include the ten percent buyer’s premium. Green Valley’s next cataloged glass auction will be conducted on May 19 and 20 and will feature blown and pressed glass of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, including many extreme rarities in virtually every category. For information, 540-434-4260 or www.greenvalleyauctions.com.