Fairfield, Maine, Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2011.For three days at the close of November in rural Maine, as many are thinking of holiday preparations, the staff at James D. Julia was immersed in an auction event that showcased an outstanding array of quality antiques to contemporary objects d’art. Combining the efforts of Julia’s advertising, toy & doll division head Andrew Truman and glass & lamp department head Dudley Browne, bidders were excited by the prospect of a bargain and the anticipation of the frenzied bidding battles that often ensue.
In their 40 years in the business, Julia’s has provided the public with scores of auctions culled from some of the finest collections and private homes in the country. The vast assortment of treasures this time around was a feast of over 1,400 lots. A two-day session of antique and contemporary paperweights, lamps, rare art glass, English and French cameo was preceded by a diverse array of American and European toys, mechanical banks, fine French and German dolls, antique advertising, salesman samples, coin-operated machines, music boxes, and other fine items for a final tally of over $2.5 Million!
In the glass auction, once again, Tiffany lamps and accessories performed admirably. A stunning Nasturtium leaded lamp with bold green leaves and lovely red, yellow, and cream colored flowers brought $57,500 within expectations of $50,000-75,000. The following lot was a Tiffany Studios Arrowroot table lamp in which its conical shade was decorated in flowers in various stages of bloom. It sold for $51,750, exceeding expectations of $35,000-45,000. Other highlights included a Tiffany Dogwood table lamp with a band of leaves and blooms against a mottled cream colored geometric background sold for $22,425 against a $20,000-25,000 estimate. A Tiffany Crocus leaded table lamp with vibrant greens and yellows finished up at $17,250 versus expectations of $12,000-15,000. And a Tiffany 10-light lily lamp with a bronze naturalistic base supporting climbing stems that terminate in gorgeous gold favrile lily shades brought a solid $21,850, surpassing an estimate of $15,000-20,000.
In addition to leaded lamps, Tiffany is well known for their leaded windows. But before an elaborate window can be created, Tiffany artists would sketch and paint their ideas in plotting out how the finished product would look. These sketches rarely hit the market and are quite sought after by the collector who has everything. Three such examples were included in this auction and each was well received. A watercolor of a garden scene depicting a woman standing at a fountain in the setting sun far exceeded a presale estimate of $2,000-3,000 to finish up at $18,400. A watercolor of a grapevine trellis as seen through a window came estimated for $1,000-2,000 and sold for $14,950. And a sketch for a mosaic panel depicting an underwater scene sold for $13,225 against a $5,000-7,000 estimate.
Other Tiffany included a rare Tel El Amarna vase with rich green iridescent body resting atop a black iridescent foot. Its shoulder was decorated in a zigzag pattern of blue, green and silver iridescence. It sold for $8,625 against a $7,500-8,500 estimate.
Other lighting included examples by makers such as Duffner & Kimberly. An exquisite leaded peony table lamp done in rich shaded red and green glass against a striated green and brown background sold midway through its $35,000-45,000 estimate for $40,250. An exceptional Pairpoint Puffy azalea lamp with pink red, and white blossoms against a green leafy background resting on a floral base with gold finish sold within its estimate for $16,100. A gorgeous Handel wisteria leaded chandelier with light blue wisteria flowers against a darker blue background was further enhanced by an openwork top with cast branches across the entire top. This rarity went out at $13,800 against a $12,000-15,000 estimate. A Quezal five light chandelier with brass hardware leading to four pulled feather lily shades and a larger center trumpet shade sold for $6,900, exceeding its $1,000-1,500 estimate. And a pair of Quezal wall sconces with pulled feather shades and brass plates brought $4,255 against expectations of $600-900.
The selection of vases continued with a variety of French and English cameo. Topping the list was a spectacular Eugene Michel cameo and intaglio carved vase. Featuring four lovely maidens in flowing gowns, the workmanship is simply exquisite. Ignoring a presale estimate of $10,000-15,000 many times over, it finished up at $47,150. Highlights also included a selection of Daum Nancy such as a monumental stick vase with a bulbous base. Accented with cameo and enameled roses, insects, and berries, it had great presence. It hit the midpoint of its $12,000-15,000 estimate to sell for $13,800. A magnificent Daum Nancy vase with a mottled purple, yellow and fiery red background featured cameo grapes and leaves and an applied snail to give more dimension to the piece. It sold for $12,650, above an estimate of $8,000-12,000. Two Daum Nancy seasonal favorites included those with spring and winter scenes. They sold for $6,325 and $7,475, respectively, each exceeding its presale estimate. An unusual Galle canoe shaped marquetry vase with carved polychrome leaves and flowers brought $9,200 against a $4,000-6,000 estimate. An outstanding G. Argy Rousseau pilaster vase with carved tragedy and comedy theater masks around the perimeter saw active bidding to $9,200. And a cameo and silver bowl with cameo lattice work with rose stems and buds surrounding the body appealed to a number of bidders who battled it out past its $500-700 estimate to ultimately stop at $7,015.
English cameo also found favor among bidders. From the Dorothy-Lee Jones collection came a Webb vase with deeply cut cameo decoration of two rabbits resting beneath a descending grape vine. It hastened to $6,325, topping a very conservative $400-600 estimate. From the same collection and by a firm known for their English cameo glass, a Webb cut crystal vase by William Fritsche with beautifully detailed palm trees and billowing clouds exceeded expectations of $1,500-2,500 to sell for $8,050.
The offering continued with art glass ranging from functional to decorative, from the Victorian era to more contemporary with several examples from the Dorothy-Lee Jones collection. Included was a lot of two glass decanters, one a clear example with carved floral design and an amber cut glass example in the daisy and button pattern. In a seemingly endless bidding battle well beyond its $200-400 estimate, the lot ultimately sold for a phenomenal $22,425. An exceptional five arm fairy lamp with Burmese shades being held aloft by a classical Greek woman in gold robes went out at $7,475 against a $4,000-6,000 estimate. A Mt. Washington decorated and covered Burmese vase with stylized flowers with raised gold outlines covering the body of the vase brought $5,462 against a $3,500-4,500 estimate. And a lot of six Amberina items including an unusual covered jar and a vertically ribbed vase went out at $6,555 versus a presale estimate of $400-600. From this same period was a fantastic early labor union parade banner for the Flint Glass Cutters Union from Meriden, Connecticut. It came with a period photo of it in use and an estimate of $2,000-4,000. It found a buyer at $5,175.
Of the more contemporary was a shoulder blanket vase by the renowned Dale Chihuly. The flat sided vase featured a center decoration resembling a stylized Navajo blanket. Exceeding expectations of $1,000-2,000, it sold for $5,750. A Chihuly Macchia vessel with brilliant color and irregular shaped border came with an estimate of $4,500-5,500 and sold for $5,175. This highly diverse auction brought collectors from far and wide with over 300 paperweights from four separate collections including that of Barry Schulthiess. A spectacular antique Baccarat paperweight chalice with millefiori base and four millefiori panels in its original presentation box came estimated for $8,000-12,000 and went out at $12,650. Other highlights from his collection included a Clichy millefiori newel post with a variety of flowers in a range of hues. Estimated for $6,000-10,000, it sold for $10,350. His Clichy millefiori paperweight with a close pack of exquisitely crafted flowers went out at $9,200 against a $2,000-3,000 estimate. From other collections came examples such as an antique St. Louis dahlia with a yellow central stamen surrounded by five tiers of blue striped petals. This exceptional piece brought $16,100, just over its $14,000-16,000 estimate. And a rare Clichy millefiori mushroom paperweight with concentric rings and faceted sides and top brought $9,200 versus an estimate of $8,000-10,000.
Miscellaneous highlights included a selection of the ever popular Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre. This highly sought after porcelain with exceptional and ethereal decoration included a rare malfrey pot in the Sycamore Tree pattern. Depicting several fantastic creatures against a pink background, it sold within its $8,000-10,000 for $9,200. And a selection of jewelry was underscored by a phenomenal find, a mammoth 11.0 carat natural yellow brilliant cut diamond set in a platinum band with fourteen smaller diamonds. It sold for $69,000 against a 60,000-80,000 estimate.
Julia’s upcoming auctions include their winter antiques & fine art auction in February while a phenomenal firearms and military memorabilia auction will be held in March. Julia’s next rare lamp & glass auction their toy & doll auction will take place in the spring. 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: email@example.com.