Published: November 6, 2007
The gallery was full of buyers, the phones and Internet humming at Rago Arts and Auction Center for its first Craftsman Auction of the new season. The September 29″0 sale totaled $3.6 million, the second highest in Rago’s history. More than 80 percent of lots sold.
Smalls and lighting were the stars of the show both days, with pottery, tiles and lamps accounting for almost two-thirds of the final hammer.
Ceramic highlights include a Grueby gourd-shaped vase for $84,000, an Overbeck vase incised with figures of children and hollyhocks for $72,000, a Saturday Evening Girls cylindrical vase with landscape for $57,000 and a Rookwood rare Sung Plum vase by Sara Sax for $20,400. Other offerings included a Marblehead early bulbous vase by Arthur Baggs for $45,000, and a Roseville Della Robbia vase with blossoms at $21,600.
In tiles, a 7-inch Grueby polar bear brought $11,400, and a seven-tile pine tree frieze brought $18,000.
Lighting highlights included a Tiffany Studios Black-Eyed Susan table lamp for $48,000, a Handel Cattail overlay lamp for $45,000 and a small Dard Hunter-designed, three-drop Roycroft chandelier for $30,000.
Leading metalwork were a Jarvie Prairie School faceted sterling pitcher at $25,200, a Dirk Van Erp large red “Warty” hammered copper vase for $54,000 and a bronze plated panel of an Indian by Arthur Mathews for $19,200.
Tiffany and other American art glass have been on an upward climb in prices since the 1970s. There were no lack of bidders and buyers here; Tiffany glass pieces were nearly 100 percent sold, often at surprisingly high prices.
Tiffany miniatures brought as much as $9,000 as a grouping of more than a dozen pieces found buyers. Other Tiffany highlights included a circular trivet of Favrile glass mosaic from a North Carolina estate at $10,800, and metalware, including an enameled clock at $8,400 and several desk sets.
Furniture sales totaled just under $600,000. Prices were strong under $7,000 for very clean pieces, both refinished and original. Above that level, as has become typical for Arts and Crafts furniture, prices were only strong on key original finish pieces. Highlights included a Gustav Stickley even arm settle at $21,600, a pair of refinished Rohlfs chairs at $19,200, an early and rare Gustav Stickley drop front desk and cabinet for $18,000 and a Roycroft magazine stand for $18,000.
“A lot of records were established and most of the smalls were sold for serious prices,” said David Rago. “We hit $3.6 million without a breakout star piece and without a big collection. Our ceramics, with the slight exception of Newcomb College, just smoked. So did the lamps, everything Tiffany and most of our art glass.”
All prices reported include the 20 percent buyer’s premium. For more information, www.ragoarts.com or 866-RAGOARTS.
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