Published: January 13, 2004
Completing another banner year for sales, Julia’s recent auction of rare glass and lamps grossed nearly $1.7 million.
Glass and lamp division coordinator Dudley Browne stated, “Each sale has improved dramatically over the previous one.”
The three-day event featured a vast offering of rare lamps, as well as French and English cameo glass, fine Tiffany, cut glass, Victorian art glass and many examples by Lalique and Steuben.
Much of this auction was unreserved and comprised the estate of the late Cliff and Mary Hillegass of Lincoln, Neb. Cliff Hillegass was the entrepreneur who made his fortune by creating Cliff’s Notes study guides, which have been read by millions of college and high school students. The Hillegasses’ passion for a wide variety of top-shelf glass and fine lamps presented a wonderful opportunity for the discerning collector.
In addition to fine glass, the collection also featured a large lot of jewelry. This sale marked the first time jewelry had been offered by the gallery through its lamp and glass division. This expansion was a success and it is expected to continue in future lamp and glass auctions.
The lighting in the sale was underscored by a number of outstanding Tiffany lamps, including a Tiffany leaded shade in a floral bouquet pattern. This large 28-inch hanger, rich with blues, greens and reds, resulted in a vigorous phone bidding war between two private collectors that finally stopped at a phenomenal $218,500, far surpassing its $50/70,000 presale estimate.
The array of lamps included many other fine examples by Tiffany, such as a leaded table lamp depicting brilliant red poppies with green striated leaves against a mottled blue/gray background. It brought $81,650. An emerald green linen fold table lamp on matching base realized $24,150, while a Tiffany swirling leaf and geometric pattern table lamp on a decorative, turtle panel bronze base sold for $18,975.
Lamps by other makers also saw strong prices. A pair of Roycroft hand hammered copper table lamps with domed copper and mica shades sold for $9,200. A Quezal six-light lily lamp featuring a bronze beaded base, lit things up for $6,325. A Leverre Francais cameo lamp with an Art Deco pattern brought $4,887 while a Loetz Art Deco lamp with a ribbed ball shade, threaded with pink, red and green sold for $4,830 against a $2/2,500 estimate.
Other Tiffany glass included a rare three-panel leaded glass tea screen depicting a spider, web, flowers and berries that quadrupled the expected $¾,000 to bring $12,650. A signed Tiffany inkwell with its original bronze cover and pulled feather design was a surprise, selling for $6,037 against a $2/3,000 estimate. A number of exceptional Tiffany vases came to the block, such as a bulbous iridescent blue pulled feather design vase with an iridescent gold flared neck. It brought $5,750.
Elegant glass was also represented by a grouping of Steuben. A blue Aurene vase decorated with silver leaves and trailing vines was a showstopper. Ending with applause from the audience, it ultimately went to a phone bidder for $25,875, far surpassing its $8/10,000 estimate. A rare Steuben blue iridescent atomizer in the form of an atomic cloud, signed “DeVilbiss” doubled its estimate to bring $4,255. A large Steuben selenium ruby glass basket with silver lattice overlay sold for $3,565, while a Steuben iridescent blue Aurene trumpet vase with a heavily ruffled top more than tripled its $1/1,500 estimate to bring $3,680.
This diverse sale also contained a large selection of Lalique. Right on target was a blown out archer vase. This frosted amber piece featuring 10 archers and 10 birds sold for $11,500. A rare Lalique luminaire featuring a large tropical fish and its original bronze lighted base brought $6,037, while a Grande Cyprins covered box with opalescent fish swirling around the top earned $3,162. Back on land, a Lalique blue glass fern vase brought $2,875.
Other art glass included an unusual large Quezal vase with an applied ribbed lily pad decoration in blue and purple overtones. It brought $4,715. A Quezal pulled feather bowl was a find at $2,300 and a Durand King Tut vase in green with orange interior brought $2,300 versus expectations of $700 to $1,000.
Cut glass included an amethyst overlay, cut to clear, silver-topped pitcher with intricate swirling designs, which brought $6,325. A green overlay cut to clear ewer with a flower and leaf pattern sold for $2,587, while a Stevens & Williams decanter with green overlay and stylized floral motif brought $2,530. A monumental red cut to clear trumpet vase dazzled at $2,300.
This sale also featured an assortment of French and English cameo glass. This was perhaps one of the largest offerings of English cameo glass to hit the market in quite some time. Buyers were abundant and were paying top dollar. A rare Galle green vase with stylized bubblegum pink flowers left the block at $12,650. A pate de verre vase by G. Argy Rousseau, which depicted women picking apples from atop a stone wall, saw much activity, selling for $9,487. A Daum Nancy padded vase with delicate cameo flowers against a mottled blue sky background exceeded its $¾,000 estimate to bring $8,625, while a diminutive Daum prairie vase with brightly enameled summer flowers among a pastel meadow brought $9,775.
Other French cameo included an outstanding Galle mold blown vase with rich brown and green leaves on a frosted background that sold for $6,612 and an early Galle wheel carved vase with a blue and green grasshopper resting on overlapping red, blue and green leaves. This piece was in excellent condition and sold for $6,325, while a reverse decorated and enameled square Daum vase with spring wildflowers brought $3,047.
English cameo glass was also a popular choice. A variety of Webb scent bottles included a lay-down duckbill with white over yellow decoration that brought $4,600. A large white over cranberry lay-down perfume with floral decoration and its original case doubled its estimate of $2/3,000 to bring $4,370. Other English cameo included an intricately carved, teardrop shaped red scent bottle depicting a scene of water lilies with a dragonfly hovering above. It brought $4,140. A three-color cameo 2-inch scent bottle with a beautiful overlay of morning glories crushed its $6/800 estimate to sell for $3,450.
Other English cameo included a wide variety of other accessories as well as numerous small vases. A Webb floral decorated three-color cameo vase from the Paris Exposition in red, white and citron, $3,277. A three-color miniature cameo bowl with flowers and dragonfly, $1,150.
As a complement to the glass rdf_Descriptions, the offering of fine jewelry was highlighted by a 2.52 carat diamond solitaire ring. With a nearly flawless quality, the stone set in a 14 karat gold and platinum setting dazzled bidders and received $39,100 against a presale estimate of $10/20,000. An Art Deco platinum, diamond and onyx bracelet was purchased for $6,325. A Tiffany sapphire and diamond brooch featuring 23 old European cut diamonds and enameled decoration sold for $3,450. A gold, diamond, and emerald brooch in the form of a Spanish galleon, $3,450. Completing the ensemble, a pair of gold and diamond dangling floral earrings brought $2,875.
Another focus of Julia’s Victorian glass offering was a select grouping of amberina. A scarce plated amberina ribbed bowl with rich fuchsia coloring sold for $7,187. A sugar jar in the ITP design with original fancy metal hardware was a rare find and realized $1,437. A plated amberina cruet and a Wheeling peachblow pitcher each were first-rate purchases at $1,437.
Though Julia’s lamp and glass division normally does not handle furniture, a selection of furnishings were included and had stellar results. A micro-mosaic inlaid and ebonized table depicting several architectural vignettes blew past its $3/5,000 estimate to sell for $16,100. A French-style, highly decorated china closet on cabriole legs with a mirror back and ormolu swag mounts exceeded its $1/1,500 estimate to bring $8,165.
Other rdf_Descriptions of interest included a KPM enameled plaque depicting a partially clad woman, housed in an ornate gesso frame, sold for $4,255. A Tiffany harp desk lamp in the Zodiac pattern that supported a gold Favrile damascene shade sold for $6,900.
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