Fairfield, Maine, June 23-24, 2011. If Julia’s recent two-day auction event proved one thing, it was that quality goods that are fresh to the market and are conservatively estimated will typically fare well at a top tier auction. As the economy continues to stabilize, one can sense a palpable optimism in the marketplace. While there were some soft spots (as with any auction) the stunning and diverse mix of quality items in this sale, consisting of fine lamps, rare art glass, English and French cameo, paperweights, desk accessories, and contemporary art glass saw active bidding overall to a final tally of over $1.5 million.
Once again, Tiffany proved to be unstoppable. Of the nearly 100 lamps in the sale, none stood out like the Tiffany Arrowroot table lamp. Combining stunning greens and yellows, its conical shade rests on an exceedingly rare and equally dazzling pond lily and cattail base. The gorgeous bronze rendering of the natural world added even greater elegance to this brilliant lamp. It bloomed at $92,000 within a presale estimate of $80,000-100,000. It was no surprise that a beautiful 18” Tiffany Peony leaded table lamp with rich red and pink flowers surrounding its bell shade also found favor. It was accompanied by its desirable onion base that was decorated in a string of incised bulbs leading to a ribbed shaft. This lamp finished up at $94,875 against an $85,000-100,000 estimate.
Other Tiffany included a massive curtain border leaded floor lamp with a dome shade showing an elaborate geometric pattern below its original pigtail heat cap. Resting on a decorated Senior floor base with a sequence of curlicues around the foot, this beautiful lamp exceeded its $50,000-70,000 estimate to sell for $74,750. An unusual Tiffany Poppy lamp with a mottled mauve background, lovely orange flowers, and pierced metal overlay on the front and back likewise exceeded expectations, selling for $66,125 against a $30,000-40,000 estimate. A most unusual Tiffany Studios geometric leaded table lamp with a semispherical parasol shaped shade was a rare opportunity. Pictured in Dr. Egon Neustadt’s renowned book “The Lamps of Tiffany”, this piece surpassed its $30,000-50,000 estimate to finish up at $54,625.
The parade of lamps and lighting also included several “unleaded” examples such as a lovely Tiffany 12 light lily lamp. Its elaborate and naturalistic bronze base with gold dore finish featured an emerging shower of favrile glass lily shades. It sold for $34,500 within a $32,500-40,000 estimate. And a pair of Tiffany wall sconces with gold favrile tulip shades and brass finished bronze hardware exceeded an estimate of $12,000-15,000 to bring $20,700.
Lamps by other renowned makers included Handel, Pairpoint, Unique, Seuss, and others. A beautiful Handel leaded wisteria table lamp with twelve hanging vine flower clusters forming an irregular border sold for $20,125 against a $15,000-26,000 estimate. A Handel Hawaiian sunset floor lamp with rich warm colors surmounted by delicate metal overlay sold within its $7,000-10,000 presale estimate for $8,050. A reverse painted Handel daffodil table lamp brought $10,350 against a $9,000-12,000 estimate. And a rare and appealing Duffner & Kimberly hanging leaded shade with its original diffuser beneath its conical shade sold for $9,200 within an $8,000-10,000 estimate.
Even some renowned contemporary leaded lamp artists got into the act. A gorgeous Porcelli orchid bouquet table lamp with brilliant hues and amazing craftsmanship brought $16,100 against a $12,000-15,000 estimate.
Aside from the tremendous offering of lamps and lighting was an impressive fresh-to-the-market selection of fine art glass. Highlights included a large and impressive Tiffany leaded glass window using layers of mottled and confetti glass in a mountain forest lake scene. It more than doubled the low end of its $30,000-40,000 estimate to sell for $69,000.
A number of exquisite Tiffany vases included a very rare Cypriot vase in an unusual Greek revival metal stand. Brimming with deep color and bright iridescence, it sold for $10,925 against a $10,000-15,000 estimate. A large Tiffany flower form vase with bright iridescence and pulled leaf design brought within its $8,000-12,000 estimate to finish up at $8,625. A bulbous gold favrile Tiffany vase with floral decoration with millefiori centers sold for $6,037, surpassing expectations of $2,000-4,000.
Other fine art glass included a remarkable Steuben Tyrian vase with platinum iridescent heart and vine decoration across the gray and purple body. It went out at $11,500, exceeding its $7,000-10,000 estimate. A rare R. Lalique frosted glass luminaire depicting a nude woman with her arms outstretched, framed by draping fabric sold within an $8,000-12,000 estimate for $9,775.
In addition was an assortment of Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre. A very advanced style of decoration, it has retained popularity over the last decades. The line is considered quite rare as shortly after its introduction, the maker Daisy Makeig Jones was let go and in her fury destroyed the remaining finished and unfinished pieces. Of the offering, standouts included a rare malfrey pot in the Bubbles II pattern. With an array of whimsical creatures around the perimeter, it sold for $33,925, surpassing an estimate of $25,000-30,000. A Lahore covered malfrey pot decorated with elephants, giraffes, and their Middle Eastern handlers sold well above its $5,000-7,000 estimate for $15,525. And an unusual bowl in the White Pagoda pattern went out at $13,800 against a $7,500-10,000 estimate.
The auction continued with a large selection of French and English cameo glass. Included was an outstanding Daum Nancy cameo and enamel vase decorated with rich red columbine flowers against a mottled yellow and brown background. This monumental 21” vase sold for $12,650 within a $12,000-15,000 estimate. A Galle cameo table lamp with red foliage on a camphor background neared the upper end of its $16,000-20,000 estimate to sell for $19,550. Exceeding presale expectations was a frosty iridescent Daum Nancy cameo vase decorated with three dimensional poppy flowers. It went out at $8,337 versus a $6,000-8,000 estimate. A cylindrical Daum vase with a free form top and decorated with a rain scene against a bright pink background brought within estimate for $8,337. And a Daum Nancy padded vase with poppies against a mottled frosted and orange background likewise sold within estimate for $6,325.
Victorian glass included a selection of Wave Crest and Crown Milano pieces. A lovely Wave Crest wall plaque with a forest scene brought $2,875 against a $1,000-1,500 estimate. A rare maroon octopus vase by Loetz with small gold enameled leaves among broad tentacles over its bulbous body sold for $3,162 against an estimate of $800-1,200. And a desirable Mount Washington salt shaker with Napoli decoration and enameled with a whimsical Palmer Cox Brownie was a pleasant surprise. From the Dorothy-Lee Jones collection, it ignored its $300-500 estimate to sell for $3,680.
From another era entirely was the private collection of Dr. and Mrs. Ivan Cohen whose collection of contemporary art glass was detailed several years ago in the Philadelphia Enquirer. Highlights from the over 80 lots included a monumental Petraglyph vase by William Morris. Reminiscent of ancient cave paintings, the free form vase was further enhanced by clear applied glass over the primitive imagery to look like rippling water running down the dank cave walls. This stellar piece sold for $11,500 against an estimate of $8,000-12,000. The collection continued with a selection of pieces by the renowned Dale Chihuly. His Macchia freeform vase reminiscent of a huge clamshell and finished with his signature colored applied lip surpassed expectations of $7,000-10,000 to bring $16,100. Fellow contemporary artist Richard Marquis, known for his whimsical teapots included a marvelous example decorated in a mosaic of random squares decorated with geometric shapes and seemingly arbitrary animals, skulls, and other images. It exceeded its $1,500-2,500 estimate to finish up at $5,750. A Marquis chalice centered with a pink latticino teapot sold for $4,600 against a $1,500-2,500 estimate.
Other contemporary glass included over 70 rare paperweights including Paul Stankard, Josh Simpson, Rick Ayotte, Debbie Tarsitano, Barry Sautner and others. A Victor Trabucco example featuring a black spotted lizard among two green plants went out at $3,047 (est. $1,500-2,000). A Paul Stankard botanical paperweight showing a bouquet of flowers and berries suspended in an oblong cube brought $2,875 (est. $1,200-1,500). A marvelous Rick Ayotte example depicting turtles in and near a small pond sold for $2,185 (est. $800-1,200). And a Rick Ayotte paperweight with red and white rose blossoms within a spiral swirl sold for $1,955 (est. $700-1,000).
Helping to close out the sale was a selection of Tiffany bronze desk accessories. The grouping was highlighted by an outstanding 17-piece desk set in the Abalone pattern. It included bookends, blotters, inkwells, frames and other accessories for the successful business person. The set sold for $12,075 against an estimate of $10,000-15,000.
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: email@example.com.