Published: July 3, 2001
By the time Lot 21 came up, the crowd was ready for anything. A free-blown cobalt blue lamp with pewter collar and twin-tube burner took center stage, standing eight inches tall and carrying a pre-auction estimate of $8/1,200. After a flurry of interest from every corner of the room, the battle got down to two very determined bidders, one on the phone and one in the hall. The final price ended at a stunning $26,795, a world record for a single-colored whale oil lamp sold at auction.
Many other whale oil lamps were also sold for hefty sums. The emerald green-cut-to-clear with a pressed hexagonal base stood 11 inches high and doubled the estimated $1,5/2,00 when it sold for $4,887. A miniature free-blown whale oil lamp in amethyst glass featured a darker applied handle and went out at $6,037 against an estimate of $2,5/3,500.
Among the rare examples of clear glass lamps, a ten-inch lamp with free-blown font mounted on a fine-ribbed hollow stem reached $2,587 while a five-inch free-blown example on a wine glass short stem sold for $2,300. Both were estimated at $300/500. A rare pair of clear whale oil lamps featured globe shaped fonts on hollow stems and four-step pressed bases. The nine-inch pair sold for the extraordinary price of $3,622 against an estimate of $400/600. A pretty pair of free-blown globe petticoat lamps with twin-tube whale oil burners exceeded the $1,6/2,000 estimate when the lot brought $6,497. A few minutes earlier, a crystal free-blown globe pair of petticoat lamps in two sizes (eight-inch and ten-inch) sold for $7,187 against an estimate of $1,2/1,600. Many other clear glass lamps sold below $1,000 to dealers and collectors of all levels.
Victorian lighting included a good selection of overlays, such as the dark pink-cut-to-clear with cast brass fittings and three-footed base that fetched a final price of $2,300. Among a number of hanging lamps, a rare example featured a yellow brass Parker frame and pink opalescent-to-pink petticoat shade. It brought $6,382.
Popular names in Victorian art glass were offered with Crown Milano enjoying a strong reception. A Mt. Washington Crown Milano vase in a bulbous form featured gold and silver azalea blossoms across its 13 by 6-inch surface. It brought a final price of $2,472. A pillow-shaped Crown Milano ewer with an applied rope handle stood ten-inches high and exceeded the $2,5/3,500 estimate when it sold for $4,887. A signed Mt. Washington Flemish vase featuring a rare decoration of peacock and jewels went out at $5,750, in spite of three missing jewels, while a signed Royal Worcester dragon-handled vase stood 15 inches high with the gold dragon winding along the length of it. This piece sold for $2,645.
A small group of cut glass was also offered at the auction. From this group, a rare American brilliant period salad set in the Russian pattern brought $2,415. A collection of Pomona glass included several pitchers like the two six-inch examples featuring cornflower decoration that went out at $1,840 for both. A nice lot of two Pomona bowls sold for $1,638. A small group of art pottery presented a good opportunity for novice collectors to get in the game. Among the highlights, two Weller vases signed by the artist “Timberlake” sold for a final combined price of $1,667. A group of Kayserzinn pewter was also offered from which a rustic tankard featuring a high relief design of stag horns brought the stunning price of $1,610.
Twentieth Century art glass included a selection of Loetz. Judging from the strong prices, Loetz is looking more like Tiffany every day. Among the highlights in Loetz, a diminutive silver overlay vase in iridescent glass stood five inches and nearly doubled the estimate when it brought $2,012. A stunning six-inch Loetz vase featured pale amethyst and gold iridescent glass with feather decoration. It went out at $2,932 against an estimate of $6/800. A few minutes later, a four-inch iridescent vase featuring a wave-like form and pattern exceeded the $8/1,200 estimate when it reached a final price of $2,070. However, as lovely as Loetz is, Tiffany still inspires collectors. In this sale, two stunning flora form vases sold for approximately $3,000 each.
French Cameo glass included a very rare and early signed Galle sang de boeuf or “oxblood” vase featured deep carving ($4,600) to a delicate Daum cameo and enameled vase featured golden wheat, orange poppies, and a purple iris on the foot. It was estimated at $3/5,000 but reached $8,050. Another winner was a signed Galle scenic vase with blue mountains and a quiet lake. No one was surprised when it sold for $7,475. The monumental Galle vase standing 12-inches high with a decoration of blown-out red apples against a muted gold ground brought $10,350. A rare signed eight-inch Daum Prairie vase in mottled pink and green glass with enameled flowers brought $10,580.
Steuben was also popular with a rare decorated gold Aurene and millefiori vase topping the $3,000 estimate to reach a final price of $4,600 and a choice Steuben Tyrian vase bringing $6,440. Both stood six inches high.
In the afternoon, many bidders turned out for a selection of Twentieth Century art glass lamps. A beautiful signed Tiffany table lamp in favrile glass with an all-over pattern of green and gold sold for $8,050. A choice cameo-carved green leaf lamp with an eight-inch diameter shade featured exceptional gold iridescence and sold for $8,625. An elegant Tiffany double-student lamp brought $9,775 while a superb signed Tiffany favrile glass bullet-shaped shade shot through the $4/6,000 estimate to a final price of $10,925. Over a dozen phone bids jumped in on an extraordinary signed Louis Comfort Tiffany favrile cameo and decorated lamp featured carved flowers and a signed gold iridescent border on the 12-inch diameter shade. The base was signed too and the entire piece was in excellent condition. The bidding on this one surpassed the $8,000 high estimate to reach a final price of $11,500. Another winner in Tiffany lamps was a 23-inch leaded lamp in a glowing lemon leaf pattern set on a bronze library base which brought $25,875.
The top-seller in Tiffany was a spectacular Tiffany Studios Spider lamp. Ever since Julia sold one a couple of years ago for close to $30,000, he has been fortunate enough to find and offer a Tiffany Spider Web in each of the last three glass and lamp auctions. Each lamp has been slightly different than the other; the outstanding Tiffany Spider Web offered in this sale featured a wonderful, distinctive patina that set it apart. The base was signed “Tiffany Studios 337” and the lamp sold for $29,900.
Other popular names in lamps included a great Handel Treasure Island lamp ($12,075) and a darling Handel Daffodil table lamp ($7,475). A highly desirable 22-inch high Pairpoint Puffy in the Stratford design brought $8,625. A Pairpoint Puffy Boudoir with a colorful decoration of hollyhocks brought $5,750. Unfortunately, a beautiful Pairpoint Puffy Apple Tree, did not quite make reserve. An unusual salesman sample book for Handel, Tiffany, and other lamps, exceeded the estimate when it sold for $1,782.
This was a big, diverse offering with over 800 lots sold in one day and a gross of nearly $1 million, a figure far above the total estimate. It was the first auction for Julia’s new Glass & Lamp Sale Coordinator, Dudley Browne and his assistant Julie O’Brien. The team has already begun coordinating another lamp and glass sale for fall. Lots already slated include a significant Handel lamp with a figural lamp base of Atlas holding a leaded glass earth on his shoulders.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
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