Published: February 21, 2023
LITCHFIELD, CONN. – Kicking off the new year with excitement and special collections, Litchfield Auctions sold property from the estate of John “Parker” Prindle Jr and the personal collection of music mogul Seymour Stein in its January 24-25 sales.
The two-day sale received enthusiastic action from bidders, with many lots selling well above their preliminary estimates. Online bidding through LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable saw strong activity, in addition to absentee and telephone bidding, which took place during the sale. The 600-lot auction saw more than 6,000 registered bidders from 60 countries and achieved more than a 96 percent sell-through rate, with only a handful of lots left unsold. Sale totals exceeded expectations, nearly doubling the presale estimates with a combined total of more than $273,000.
The first day of the auction encompassed the fifth installment from the estate of John “Parker” Prindle Jr of Boston. Prindle spent a lifetime and career amassing Modern art, design, pottery and glass, which has been offered in several sales at Litchfield since September 2022. Art and studio glassware headlined this selection of property from his collection.
Of particular interest in this sale were midcentury “Stellato” vases by Pollio Perelda and Fratelli Toso. Rising to the top, a colorful pinwheel design vase by Lucio Zuffi concluded at $2,860, a vibrant red and yellow vase sold for $2,080, and an attributed multicolored vase went for $1,430. Examples of Flavio Poli for Seguso saw a 1940s black and gold flecked “Vetri D’Arte” glass vase reach $2,470, a black and white vase with checkered design, $1,235, and a smaller red and gilt vase for $1,170.
Other makers that took the lead in the category of studio and art glass were Napoleon Mertinuzzi for Cendese with a “Scavo” glass ewer that finished at $1,430, a Peter Shire for Vistosi colorful abstract vase, $1,300, and a Paolo Venini “Inciso” amber glass decanter, $1,170.
Decorative arts rose to the top of the second day’s sale, which comprised property from the personal collection of music mogul Seymour Stein. Well known in the music industry, he was the co-founder of Sire Records and vice president of Warner Brothers Records, ushering in the new wave era of pop talent in the 1970s and 1980s and signed bands such as the Talking Heads, the Ramones, the Pretenders and Madonna. Stein was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.
Stein’s collection featured a unique and eclectic mix of Art Nouveau and Art Deco lighting and design, together with early advertising and midcentury collectibles. Headlining the Stein sale was the top selling lot of the two-day auction, an Art Deco etched glass and chrome luminarie depicting polar bears by Muller Frères.
The piece had a circular etched glass panel depicting a scene of polar bears catching fish in a stream. It was signed and mounted in a stylized chrome and metal lighted base. Having a modest estimate of $300/500, bidding took off in the days leading up to the sale. On auction day bidders were in full force vying for the piece, driving the price to a total of $8,450, and selling to an online bidder in France.
After intense and active bidding, another sought-after piece, a Tiffany Studios bronze lamp with natural Nautilus shell shade achieved $8,125, selling to a bidder on the phone in New York. Additional Tiffany items included a bronze floor lamp with an orange fluted NuArt glass shade that brought $1,820, and a 1930s Tiffany & Co marble and bronze clock, a gift to James A. Farley, US Postmaster General, for $975. The personalized inscription on the frame read: “Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Heat, Nor Gloom of Night Stays these Couriers from Swift Completion of their Appointed Rounds.”
Other decorative art highlights were an Art Nouveau gilt metal chandelier attributed to Hector Guimard, circa 1900, which brought $6,825, a baroque-style iron 12-panel tile top side table depicting riders on horseback in a landscape, $3,250, and a pair of bronze “Pushing Men” bookends, circa 1911, by Isidore Konti fetching 2,340. A Simon Gate for Orrefors engraved glass vase sold for $2,860, a rare Georg Jensen sterling silver cocktail fork and knife set from the early 1920s, reached $1,170, and a Marcello Fantoni pottery vase depicting nudes achieved $2,210, and was one of the most bid on lots in the sale.
Several groups of advertising signs and memorabilia took top slots in the sale, including a group of seven automotive themed tin and metal advertisements for Hermoil auto compound, Puritan motor oil, Saxoleine and Kelly-Springfield tires and tubes of Binghamton, N.Y., which sold for $6,825. Another lot of five paper and tin clothing advertisements ended up at $4,420 and included an enameled “Sweet, Orr’s & Co Overalls” sign and an illustrated color lithograph advertisement for “Bartel Perfection Work & Play Clothes.” Rounding out the signage was an 11-piece group of food and health advertisements for $2,340, and featured a “Ward’s Vitovim Bread” thermometer, “Cadbury’s Cocoa” ad and an “Arcadian Nitrate of Soda” tin sign.
Other figural ad displays saw a Bolenium “Super-Overalls” figure of a jovial mustached man in blue coveralls holding a hammer sell for $1,560, and a figure of a well-dressed man wearing a boater with bulging eyes, a 1910s Elmer Simms Campbell for Esquire Magazine store display, reached $910. A 1930s Art Deco Ronson touch-tip bartender light depicting a figure mixing drinks behind a bar went for $1,170.
The subject of travel is a prevalent interest for Stein, illustrated by the numerous globes, airplanes, space and world travel themed objects housed in his collection. Some of those highlights included a 1930s Jaeger-LeCoultre and J. Forest illuminated globe clock that sold for $2,210, a Raymond Loewy Colonial “New World” globe radio in white that brought $1,820 and another in black at $1,170. A 1920s Dietrich Reimer Erdglobus moon-phase clock and a Glo-Dial Art Deco clock, each of which went for $1,235, and an 1880s Philip & Son Tellurian orrery with terrestrial globe attained $1,300.
Collectibles that took flight at the sale featured a TWA Constellation airplane model for $3,120, an Art Deco cast aluminum model airplane, $1,950, a 1940s vintage white metal airplane fan, $1,170, as well as a Goodyear model of a Zeppelin that landed at $422. Additionally, World’s Fair items were also popular with buyers. A John Waring Carpenter for McKay Co Industrial style steel magazine rack designed for the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair “Century of Progress sold for $1,300, and a 1939 New York World’s Fair pink glass souvenir Saturn lamp saw $585.
Toys and children’s collectibles also appealed to buyers, with crossover interest from collectors. A 1940s Ideal Superman jointed figural doll soared to $1,300, a pair of Marx Buck Rogers “Rocket Police Patrol” wind-up tin lithographed toys, $845, and a 1934 Emerson Mickey Mouse wooden radio in original condition realized $1,820, selling well above its $100/150 estimate.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house.
Litchfield Auctions’ upcoming sales include a sale of jewelry and luxury goods on March 22. An auction that includes the sixth and final installment from the Prindle collection, together with select additions, will be conducted on April 18-19. For information, 860-307-8700 or www.litchfieldcountyauctions.com.
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