Fairfield, Maine, June 22-23, 2010 ~ For the few weeks leading up to their auction, the Julia firm was filled with pride, anticipation, and trepidation. Pride because they had been told on numerous occasions that their upcoming glass and lamp auction was perhaps the largest, finest, and most diverse grouping of this type that had ever been offered at one auction anywhere in the world for the last couple years. Anticipation because they had a considerable amount of monetary value and the potential for doing well. Trepidation because this is a different world today and the world economy and collecting fraternities of the world are not what they were three years ago. This is a buyer’s market, not a seller’s market. It is exceedingly difficult to predict what is going to happen. They of course knew that because this was such a high profile auction, a great number of collectors would be watching the performance. If they were successful, it would bode well for their company and for the glass and lamp world as a whole. Healthy prices create confidence in buyers, and the positive cycle continues. Poor sales results exacerbate doubt and insecurity in the market. The auction was a cross-section of the art glass marketplace, consisting of objects found in the booths and shops of leading dealers throughout the world. As such, the value ranged from a few hundred dollars to $100,000+ and included art nouveau, 20th Century American art glass, paperweights, KPM plaques, lamps of all types, miniature lamps, French and English cameo glass, Fairyland Lustre, and more.
When the smoke cleared, it was clear the market was still healthy and active. Just over 1,000 lots were offered and the low estimate of the items sold of approximately $1.6 Million with a final selling price of just under $2 Million. This was over $300,000 over low estimate and certainly a statistic to be proud of.
Of the strong performances, Tiffany did not disappoint. Highlights included company firsts such as offering one of every size of Dragonfly leaded table lamps Tiffany ever created. Rare and desirable in their own right, the opportunity to encounter each of the four sizes in one location was a unique experience. The spectacular 22” drop head example led the grouping with a border consisting of nine beautiful dragonflies finished with green cabochon eyes. Their brilliant blue bodies and overlapping wings set against a background of butterscotch glass were also embedded with various cabochon jewels. This stunning lamp brought a solid $109,250. The 16” version with its conical shade was decorated with seven dragonflies whose bodies and wings exhibited a granite type texture. The sparkling opalescent effect was further enhanced by brass filigree and pressed glass jewel eyes. This example sold within its estimate of $55,000-65,000, landing at $60,950. Alas, the 20” and 14” versions failed to find buyers.
Other Tiffany leaded table lamps included a beautiful and rare Tiffany Studios geranium design lamp featuring multihued floral blossoms and broad green leaves on an intense blue background. It easily surpassed its $30,000-40,000 estimate, ultimately selling for $63,250. The Greek key pattern lamps also found favor among bidders. Of the two similarly styled Tiffany Studios table lamps with geometric brick tops leading to a band of interlocking square mazes, the smaller example featured a background of mottled green and yellow panels that would come to life with a turn of a knob. Each sold at the upper end of its particular estimate for $37,950 and $34,500, respectively.
Floor lamps included an exceptional Tiffany Acorn leaded example depicting a band of opposing acorns beneath a geometric pattern of beautifully mottled panels. Fresh from a Maine home where it had resided for the last 85 years, it found a new home, selling within its $30,000-40,000 estimate for $32,775. A massive Tiffany Studios decorated Senior floor base with brilliant and desirable green-brown patina and ornate Art Nouveau styling sold for $47,150 within expectations of $40,000-60,000.
Tiffany lamps in the “unleaded” variety included a wonderful four arm candelabra on a circular base supported by five wafer feet leading to a vertically ribbed stem finished with four lovely gold favrile wave pattern tulip shades. It exceeded expectations of $12,500-15,000 to finish up at $16,100. A Tiffany Studios Damascene lamp with an intense blue shade decorated with an allover wave pattern saw much activity to propel it to $14,375 against an $8,000-12,000 estimate. A Tiffany 3-light lily lamp on a ribbed platform with chocolate brown patina and ribbed gold favrile shades with scalloped edges brought $7,187 (est. $4,500-5,500).
A selection of Duffner & Kimberly leaded lamps was highlighted by a rare Colonial with fiery sunset-orange glass fish scale panels separated by green vertical concave panels and an irregular floral border. It surpassed its $8,000-12,000 estimate to settle in at $12,650. And a stunning fully leaded table lamp with allover ivy pattern in a range of striated greens in just as many textures on a sparkling apricot background sold mid-way through its $14,000-18,000 estimate for $16,100. Even contemporary maker Joseph Porcelli got into the act with his beautiful floral pattern table lamp in a multitude of rich color. Depicting lilies, roses, and azaleas, the craftsmanship would make Tiffany stand up and take notice. It exceeded expectations of $8,000-10,000 to sell for $19,837.
Also up for bid was a variety of desirable Pairpoint Puffy table lamps including a truly outstanding Pairpoint Puffy apple tree. Featuring a background of rich green leaves and lovely pink apple blossoms surrounding green and red apples, the shade was further enhanced by a pair of bumble bees on one side and two colorful butterflies on the other. Completed by a tree trunk base, it sold within its $20,000-40,000 estimate for $23,575.
The lamp portion of the sale continued with numerous examples by Handel. A beautiful metal overlay floor lamp with eight sunset glass panels enveloped within palm trees found a buyer at $9,200 within an estimate of $7,000-10,000. And an outstanding six-panel Handel hanging lantern with similarly styled sunset glass overlaid with a highly detailed tropical scene sold for more than double the low end of its $4,000-6,000 estimate for $9,775. An unusual Handel glass candle screen with decoration and feel similar to their renowned lamps was decorated with a scene centered on a streamside outcropping of trees against the setting sun in the background. Decorated both on the front and reverse, it gives a wonderful three dimensional effect. It hit the upper end of its $2,500-3,500 estimate to bring $3,450.
Aside from the tremendous offering of lamps was an impressive fresh-to-the-market selection of English and French cameo glass. Usually one of the more popular segments in Julia’s auctions, English cameo glass seemed to be the stronger of the two while French cameo saw hit and miss activity. Among the hits was an outstanding Daum Nancy pitcher in the Prairie pattern with cameo and enameled flowers amid a landscape background. Applied with a frosted glass handle with gold highlighting, it exceeded its $10,000-15,000 estimate to bring $16,675. Nearly as impressive was a Daum cameo and enameled autumn scene vase with towering trees and changing leaves against a light blue mottled background that sold for $10,637 against expectations of $8,000-12,000. A magnificent Daum Nancy blackbird pillow vase with enameled birds foraging and resting among the snow covered trees brought $9,200 against an $8,000-12,000 estimate. An exceptional Daum Nancy ewer internally decorated with a yellow, orange, and brown background was enhanced by cameo flowers, stems and leaves colored with vitrified glass powders. The process of applying powdered glass during the forming process gives the piece a marvelous effect. Estimated for $4,000-6,000, it sold for $4,600. Daum Nancy rain scene items included an unusual deep tray and a tumbler-shaped vase, each with frosty pink and green coloration enameled with swaying saplings amid a torrential downpour. They sold for $5,750 and $3,392, respectively, each hitting the midpoint of its presale estimate. Other French cameo included an unusual Muller cameo vase decorated with a parade of penguins that waddled its way to $4,830, surpassing expectations of $2,000-3,000.
English cameo glass was underscored by makers such as Thomas Webb & Sons and Stevens & Williams. An outstanding Webb white over cranberry junior banquet lamp with fine detailed floral carving and its original red chimney came in with a $15,000-25,000 estimate and finished up at $23,000. A Webb three color shoulder vase with exceptional wheel cut pompons, leaves and stems tripled expectations of $2,000-2,500 to change hands at $6,325. A most unusual cinnamon colored squat Webb vase with flared rim decorated with flowers and butterflies resulted in a bidding battle beyond its $800-1,200 estimate to ultimately sell for $4,025.
Marquetry vases included a truly outstanding example with the special engraving “Galle Etude”, which was Galle’s personal mark of approval for this particular type of vase. Through the process, some type of damage by the frequent heating and cooling was prevalent. However, he felt that it was an exceptional piece worth being put on the market and carrying his name. The exceptional quality shown in the multicolored flowers inlaid into a frosted amber and purple background cannot be denied. It came to the block with its original presentation box and an $8,000-10,000 estimate selling for $12,075.
Also included was a number of Galle mold-blown vases, highlighted by an exceptional fuchsia design with purple and light blue flowers and dark amber leaves. Completed by a yellow background and opalescence at the mouth, the captivating texture and attractive decoration propelled the bidding to $11,210 within a $10,000-15,000 estimate. A Galle mold-blown clematis vase in shades of chartreuse and purple featured a well defined floral pattern over its bulbous form. This gorgeous piece sold for $10,062 versus an estimate of $9,000-12,000.
Other fine art glass included a selection of Jack in the Pulpit vases such as a magnificent 20” example with bulbous foot and slender stem leading to a wide ruffled face. Finished with a lovely gold iridescence with strong green and pink highlights, it sold above its $16,000-20,000 estimate for $21,275. A Tiffany Studios flower form vase with delicate pulled feather design and a ruffled and slumped lip resting on a delicate slender stem and inverted saucer foot brought a respectable $9,200 within expectations of $8,000-12,000.
A rare Tiffany organic form ribbed vase decorated with an intense red Art Nouveau ribbon design was finished with a complementary gold chain pattern. It bested its $6,000-8,000 estimate to sell for $8,625.
The auction continued with a massive selection of Steuben. Numbering over 100 lots, it included vases, baskets, bowls, and bottles. Of particular interest was a gold aurene shouldered vase decorated with a stunning allover peacock feather design in green and platinum that hit mid-estimate for $7,080. A rare and impressive Steuben blue jade vase rich in color exceeded its $2,500-3,500 estimate to bring $5,175. And a scarce turquoise aurene vase with pulled feather decoration likewise beat out its $2,500-3,500 estimate to land at $4,600.
A selection of over 40 antique paperweights included Baccarat, Clichy, and others. A rare and extremely elaborate Baccarat example with tiny canes, numerous animals, and flowers was a sight to see. It sold for $12,650 within an estimate of $12,000-14,000. A most uncommon Clichy paperweight centered on a green millefiori cane from which emanates a spread of red and white honeycomb cells went to a collector willing to go to $10,350 despite a $6,500-8,500 estimate. And a Baccarat two-flower paperweight consisting of stylized blossoms surrounded by a garland of millefiori canes. Estimated for $6,000-8,000, it finished up at $8,625.
A fantastic offering of Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre, the largest offering of its type Julia’s has ever handled, performed well. The very advanced style of decoration of the line has retained popularity over the last decades and is considered quite rare. Standouts included a splendid octagonal bowl decorated on the exterior in the Geisha pattern against a midnight luster background. The interior of the bowl, decorated with Running Figures decoration with various running elves in each of the eight panels defines “art pottery”. It brought $8,625 within an estimate of $8,000-10,000. An outstanding malfrey pot decorated in the Firbolg pattern with woodland sprites running among the trees beneath a Northern Lights style sky sold within estimate for $8,050. And a lovely Fairyland Lustre plate decorated in the Imps on a Bridge pattern with other fanciful creatures about was quite appealing, bringing $6,900 nearing the top of its $5,000-7,000 estimate.
Also worthy of mention is a collection of 17 rare works by George Ohr from a Pennsylvania collection. Known as the Mad Potter of Biloxi, his works (dating to the 1910s) exhibit a wild free form and creative independence. The collection fared well overall with a bulging vase narrowing to a fluted lip exceeding all others. Finished with a mottled pink and green glaze, it sold for $3,220 against expectations of $800-1,200. An interesting puzzle mug that required the user to drink from a certain location on the mug lest he drench himself with his beverage sold for $1,380, likewise exceeding an $800-1,200 estimate.
A first-rate selection of desirable KPM plaques, which usually brings the house down surprisingly did not see a lot of action. Opportunities abound as offers are now being accepted for these and other unsold items by contacting the Julia offices. One example that saw active bidding portrayed an elegant lady with plumed hat holding a bouquet of flowers. Estimated to bring $5,000-6,000, it changed hands at $5,175.
Helping to close out the sale was a large selection of Tiffany bronze desk accessories and a collection of mini lamps and fairy lamps. Of the former, highlights included such sought after patterns as Double X, Zodiac, Grapevine, Venetian, and others. Included were various office accessories for the successful business person. Highlights included a double picture frame in the Grapevine pattern in a multitude of greens and bronze vine overlay. Exceeding expectations of $5,000-7,000, it sold for $8,050. Two other frames in the Pine Needle pattern with detail beading, one in gold finish and the other a verdigris bronze finish each brought $5,750 surpassing estimates of $5,000-5,500 apiece.
Mini lamps and fairy lamps were underscored by an extremely rare miniature nautilus lamp. Its base is decorated with Nailsea blue drag loop embellishment over its shell shaped body and completed by applied crystal frosted feet. This leads to its matching ruffled rim shade and is completed by its original clear chimney. It gave its $5,000-7,000 estimate shellshock, selling for $9,775. A rainbow satin mini lamp also performed well. Its mother of pearl satin glass raindrop pattern with colors of pastel pinks, yellows, and blues was most appealing. It finished up at just above mid-estimate for $6,037.
Julia’s upcoming auctions include their annual End of Summer antiques & fine art auction in August while a phenomenal firearms and military memorabilia auction will be held in October. Julia’s next rare lamp & glass auction as well as their toy & doll auction will follow in November. Julia’s is currently accepting consignments for these and other upcoming auctions. Call immediately for inclusion in these exciting sales. For more information or to place offers on unsold items, contact their offices at 207-453-7125. James D. Julia, Inc., P.O. Box 830, Dept. PR, Fairfield, ME 04937. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.