Strong results for Tiffany Studios at Sotheby’s New York Important 20th Century Design sale, June 11, 2014

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

June is Decorative Arts Month, so the next several blog posts will cover the action at all the major and some of the lesser auction houses. Sotheby’s will be first. Thursday’s post will cover the result of the single-item sale of the world’s rarest stamp, the 1856 British Guiana 1-cent. Christie’s 20th Century results will be posted next Monday, with Bonham’s, Julia’s, Rago’s and others following.

Sotheby’s New York held their Important 20th Century Design sale on June 11, 2014. Included in the sale was an important collection of American art glass, including Tiffany Favrile, from the Estate of Dr. Edward and Helen McConnell. Of the 127 lots offered, 29 were from the McConnell Estate. 100% of the collection sold, with most of the vases easily exceeding their high estimates. Of the remaining 98 lots, only 55 sold, for a sell-through rate of 56% for the non-McConnell items. The sale totaled $4,476,376, for an average of $53,290 for each lot sold.

Important Tiffany Favrile Lava vase, Sotheby's lot #12

Important Tiffany Favrile Lava vase, Sotheby’s lot #12

The top selling lot of the McConnell Estate was no surprise. Lot #12 was a superb example of Tiffany Favrile Lava glass. It soared past its estimate of $75,000 — $100,000, to sell for $197,000, including buyer’s premium.

Tiffany Studios Wisteria table lamp, Sotheby's lot #44

Tiffany Studios Wisteria table lamp, Sotheby’s lot #44

Neither was the top selling Tiffany lamp of the sale a surprise. Lot #44 was a nice example of the Wisteria pattern. It sold within the estimate of $300,000 — $500,000, realizing $575,000.

Paul Lobel silver-plated coffee service, Sotheby's lot #77

Paul Lobel silver-plated coffee service, Sotheby’s lot #77

The second highest price of the sale went to an important Paul Lobel silver-plated coffee service. It realized $377,000, against a pre-sale estimate of $200,000 — $300,000. Considering the set wasn’t even sterling silver, the price was impressive, but again not a surprise.

For the complete results of the sale, click here.

This fabulous Gallé plum blownout vase just arrived

This fabulous Gallé plum blownout vase just arrived


It’s spring, so there are no shows, but we’re still very much in business. Click here to view my new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

The rarest stamp in the world will be sold at Sotheby’s New York on June 17, 2014

The British Guiana 1856 One-Cent, Black on Magenta stamp

The British Guiana 1856 One-Cent, Black on Magenta stamp

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

 The stamp on display

The stamp is on display in the middle of the illuminated plastic rectangle

Have a spare $10,000,000 – $20,000,000? On June 17, 2014, Sotheby’s New York will give you the opportunity to buy the rarest and most famous of all stamps — the British Guiana 1856 One-Cent, Black on Magenta. I won’t bore you here with the details of its history, but you can click here if you’d like to read more. What I will tell you about is what you won’t read elsewhere — the exhibition itself.

The stamp in its plastic display

The stamp in its plastic display

The stamp is small, as most stamps are, approximately 1¼” x 1″, and will be sold all by itself, in a single-lot sale. So how do you sell one tiny piece of paper, that doesn’t look like anything to a novice, all by itself? You have to surround it with a big and impressive display. So the first thing you encounter at the exhibit is a huge sign, as tall as a person — THE BRITISH GUIANA, THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS STAMP . Behind that, in a darkened room, sits the tiny stamp, illuminated in a giant display. It’s all very amusing, trying to make the stamp look important.  But how else could it have been done? I give them an A for effort, but a B- for execution. I’m not sure what I would have done differently, but it wouldn’t have been the same. Unfortunately, they didn’t consult me. What’s wrong with them?

I’ll post the results in a blog after the sale. It will surely set a world record, as it has the very few times it’s been sold previously at auction.  Each time was a world record.

This fabulous Gallé plum blownout vase just arrived

This fabulous Gallé plum blownout vase just arrived


It’s spring, so there are no shows, but we’re still very much in business. Click here to view my new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

The results of Doyle New York’s Belle Epoque 19th & 20th Century Decorative Arts sale, June 4, 2014

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday. Doyle New York held its Belle Epoque 19th & 20th Century Decorative Arts sale on June 4, 2014 with unremarkable results.  Every auction house is dependent on what it gets offered to sell.  This time around, Doyle was unable to obtain any exceptional merchandise, which showed in the results.

Allan Clark The Temptress of the King, Doyle lot #85

Allan Clark The Temptress of the King, Doyle lot #85

Only one item exceeded $15,000 — lot #85, a polychromed and gilded wood sculpture entitled The Temptress of the King, which sold for $21,250, against a pre-sale estimate of $3,000 – $5,000. Personally I wouldn’t have bought it for any price, but luckily for the consignor, my opinion does not count.

Gorgeous Handel Bird lamp, Doyle lot #350

Gorgeous Handel Bird lamp, Doyle lot #350

Only a handful of items exceeded $10,000, with many selling for under $2,000.  I was able to scoop up one of the bargains of the sale, a gorgeous Handel reverse-painted Bird lamp on a black background.  It sold for $8,125, against a pre-sale estimate of $5,000 – $7,000.

Fine Amphora portrait vase, Doyle lot #430

Fine Amphora portrait vase, Doyle lot #430

The inside cover lot, #430, was a beautiful 14½” Amphora portrait vase, decorated by Reissner, Stellmacher & Kessel.  It sold for the low estimate of $6,000 ($7,500 with buyer’s premium).  I suspect the big chip on the foot rim was responsible for the relatively low price. For the complete results of the sale, click here.

This fantastic Gallé plum blownout vase is due to arrive in the next day or two

This fantastic Gallé plum blownout vase is due to arrive in the next day or two

It’s spring, so there are no shows, but we’re still very much in business. Click here to view my new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

The results of the Sotheby’s Paris Arts Décoratifs du XXe Siècle & Design (20th Century Decorative Arts & Design) sale of May 22, 2014

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday. There was no post this past week as it was time for a week’s vacation.

Sotheby’s Paris conducted its Arts Décoratifs du XXe Siècle & Design (20th Century Decorative Arts & Design) sale on May 22, 2014, with total sales of $3,969,663. Included in the sale was an Italian, one-owner, collection of Gallé glass and other objects, collected from 1960-1980. Unfortunately, the collection was estimated too aggressively, so 18 of the 42 Gallé items did not sell. Several lots by Diego Giacometti topped the sale, with another by Jean Royère also doing very well.

A fine Gallé Dragonfly table, Sotheby's lot #41

A fine Gallé Dragonfly table, Sotheby’s lot #41

Top lot of the Gallé collection was a rare and desirable piece of furniture — a hand-carved and marquetry Dragonfly table. Estimated to sell for €25,000 — €35,000, it exceeded its high estimate, realizing €49,500 ($67,489), including buyer’s premium.

1933-34 Giacometti floor lamp base Grande Feuille, Sotheby's lot #69

1933-34 Giacometti floor lamp base Grande Feuille, Sotheby’s lot #69

The top lot of the sale was a floor lamp base by Diego Giacometti, entitled Grande Feuille, from 1933-34.  Selling without a shade, it still doubled its estimate of €100,000 — €150,000, to realize 361,500 ($497,037).

A pair of Giacometti wall sconces from 1968, Sotheby's lot #123

A pair of Giacometti wall sconces from 1968, Sotheby’s lot #123

The second highest selling lot of the sale was also by Diego Giacometti, a 1968 pair of wall sconces.  They sold within the estimate of €140,000 — €180,000, realizing €205,500 ($280,180), including buyer’s premium — a nice chunk of change for a pair of sconces. Giacometti items are very much in demand and consistently realize strong prices at auction.

For the complete results of the sale, click here.

This wonderful Zsolnay centerpiece is just in

This wonderful Zsolnay centerpiece is just in

It’s spring, so there are no shows, but we’re still very much in business.  Click here to view my new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

Loetz vase quintuples its estimate at Quinn’s Auction Galleries, May 17, 2014

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

Beautiful Loetz decorated vase, Quinn lot #156

Beautiful Loetz decorated vase, Quinn lot #156

Quinn’s Auction Galleries held a Fine & Decorative Arts auction on May 17, 2014. Included in the sale was a lovely unsigned, decorated, Loetz vase with silver overlay decoration. It was sold as lot #156 of 575. Interest was high, allowing it to fly past its estimate of $800 – $1,200 to sell for $10,030, including buyer’s premium. The pretty, Art Nouveau, silver overlay only added to its appeal.

A closeup of the initials EHW

A closeup of the initials EHW

Loetz was one of the companies that wasn’t careful about signing its pieces. Tiffany Studios signed most everything (but not all), while I approximate that Loetz signed about 50% of its wares. There’s no mistaking a high quality unsigned Loetz vase, so lack of a signature usually has little effect on its value. This was evident with the sale of this vase.

For the complete catalog, click here. As of the writing of this blog, the results haven’t yet been uploaded.

This wonderful Zsolnay centerpiece is just in

This wonderful Zsolnay centerpiece is just in


It’s spring, so there are no shows, but we’re still very much in business.  Click here to view my new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

The August 7-9, 2014 Chicago Summer Antiques Show in Rosemont, IL may close

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center on River Road, in Rosemont, IL

The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center on River Road, in Rosemont, IL

The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, used to be the location of a three-times-a-year antique show sponsored by Dolphin Promotions. At one point the show was huge, with a really outstanding group of dealers. But as the years have gone by, the show got smaller and smaller. It was reduced to twice a year and now maybe once a year.

Saturday afternoon in my booth, last year

Saturday afternoon in my booth, last year

There’s a general problem in the industry, which I believe started with eBay. Some dealers dropped out of shows to devote themselves to selling full-time on eBay. Then the problem was compounded by the graying of the dealers, with very few younger dealers coming up to take the places of the older ones as they retired or died. Additionally younger buyers don’t seem very interested in antiques — they’d rather buy electronics. The results are fewer and smaller antique shows, in general. Dealers have to work harder to do the same business, but it’s there. Send postcards and emails to your clients. Call them and encourage them to visit the shows.

Now to the Chicago Summer Antiques Show, in particular. The future of the show has been put in jeopardy because not enough dealers have signed to exhibit this summer, August 7-9, 2014. Rosemary Krieger, the owner of Dolphin Promotions, told me that unless more dealers sign up for the show, she’ll have no choice but to shut it down. That would be a great shame. There are solid, bona fide clients in the greater Chicago area that visit the show and buy. Rosemary changed the days of the show to 1. coincide with the powerful ANA World’s Fair of Money show (in an adjacent hall) and 2. end on Saturday, instead of Sunday, to give the dealers extra time to get to Baltimore for the big Baltimore Summer Antiques Show. Many coin dealers are wealthy and collect antiques. Additionally, many clients of the coin show also collect antiques. These same coin dealers and collectors visit the antiques show and buy. I know. I’ve sold to them. Rosemary has also arranged for the public to park free at the lot across the street. That used to be a complaint, but is no longer valid.

Call or write to Rosemary and tell her you want to exhibit at the show and call your fellow dealers and encourage them to exhibit. rosemary@dolphinfairs.com. 708-366-2710. Do it now, before it’s too late.

This wonderful Daum Nancy fall scenic vase is just in

This wonderful Daum Nancy fall scenic vase is just in

It’s spring, so there are no shows, but we’re still very much in business.  Click here to view my new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

The results of Heritage’s American Art Auction, May 10, 2014

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

Heritage Auction held their American Art Auction on May 10, 2014, with some good results. Included in the sale were Western, California, & Golden Age Illustration paintings. Milton Avery led the pack, with Leroy Neiman second and Frank Xavier Leyendecker (brother of the more famous Joseph Christian Leyendecker) third. Sold lots totaled $3,975,744, for an average of $15,714.

Milton Avery From the Studio, Heritage lot #70159

Milton Avery From the Studio, Heritage lot #70159

Top lot of the sale was #70159, a large, 1954, Milton Avery painting entitled From the Studio.  It sold near its low estimate of $800,000, realizing $875,000, including buyer’s premium.

Leroy Neiman Roulette II, Heritage lot #70176

Leroy Neiman Roulette II, Heritage lot #70176

There were several offerings of Leroy Neiman’s works, and all did well.  Top lot of the group was #70176, a large, 1970, oil on masonite painting, entitled Roulette II. It sold near its high estimate of $150,000, realizing $161,000. The other smaller works by Neiman, for Playboy magazine, also did well and exceeded their high estimates.

Francis Xavier Leyendecker cover painting for Vanity Fair Magazine, Heritage lot #70287

Francis Xavier Leyendecker cover painting for Vanity Fair Magazine, Heritage lot #70287

Francis Xavier Leyendecker’s cover illustration for Vanity Fair magazine, lot #70287, brought the third highest price of the auction, $118,750 — many times the pre-sale estimate of $20,000 – $30,000. The June, 1915, oil on board, measuring 23½” x 16½”, depicted Pierrot and Columbine, from the 17th century Comédie-Italienne.

For the complete results of the sale, click here to begin. You will have to sign in (free) to get the results.

This wonderful Daum Nancy fall scenic vase is just in

This wonderful Daum Nancy fall scenic vase is just in

It’s spring, so there are no shows, but we’re still very much in business.  Click here to view my new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

$33 million lost Fabergé egg discovered by Midwest scrap-metal dealer

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

Fabergé Third Imperial Egg

Fabergé Third Imperial Egg, circa 1887

A Midwest scrap-metal dealer bought a golden egg with a clock inside for approximately $13,000, hoping to flip it quickly for a $500 profit. As luck would have it, he overestimated its melt value and wasn’t able to sell it quickly, giving him time to do a little Internet detective work. He typed “egg” and “Vacheron Constantin”, the name engraved on the clock, into Google and hit the jackpot. The information in a 2011 article in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper indicated that the egg might be a lost Fabergé Imperial Egg.

faberge-egg-2The dealer hopped on a plane to London to meet with Kieran McCarthy, the author of the article in the Daily Telegraph.  McCarthy is the Director of Wartski a firm specializing in Russian works of art, especially Carl Fabergé.  The dealer had no appointment, but just casually walked into the shop, wearing jeans, with a portfolio of photos.  McCarthy was so excited by the photos, he flew to the US to authenticate the egg.  He determined it to be the Third Imperial Egg, made in 1887, for Tsar Alexander III, as an Easter gift to his wife, Tsarina Maria Feodorovna.  It had made its way to the West when the post-Russian Revolution Soviets sold their treasures in a policy known as turning “treasures into tractors”.

With the Midwest dealer’s blessing, Wartski then sold the egg to a private collector, for an undisclosed amount, possibly up to $33 million. It was displayed to the public at Wartski from April 14 to 17, for only the second time in its history.  The first was at a 1964 auction. Now it’s back to privacy for the egg.  Who knows the next time it will be available for view by the public?  In the meantime, the Midwest dealer is basking in the sunshine of his good fortune.

This wonderful Daum Nancy fall scenic vase is just in

This wonderful Daum Nancy fall scenic vase is just in

It’s spring, so there are no shows, but we’re still very much in business.  Click here to view my new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

What is Photo Republic?

Billy Chasen

Billy Chasen

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.  Thursday’s post will cover the amazing story of the discovery of a lost $33 million Fabergé egg.

Take a photo of something unexpected

Take a photo of something unexpected

Many of you may know of my son, Billy Chasen, and his work on the Internet.  His last creation, turntable.fm, looked like it was going to be the next big thing, but unfortunately after the initial hubbub died down, the site ultimately was forced to shut down.  The initial publicity put him on the cover of Inc. magazine and had him written about in Forbes magazine, The New York Times, techcrunch.com and every business and tech publication that mattered.  Billy has also created other websites including chartbeat.com, and stickybits; was the co-founder of betaworks, and is the creator of another fun app called ketchup (also available as a free app).

Take a photo of what's in your pocket

Take a photo of what’s in your pocket

Billy’s fertile mind never stops working, so he’s ever creating.  One of his latest ideas is just great fun.  It’s an app called Photo Republic that’s available for download free for both iPhone and Android.  Once a day at a different time, you’ll receive a message to take a photo within the next 15 minutes.  Some past requests have been “Take a photo of your shoes” or “Take a photo of what’s in front of you”.  As the photos come in, they’re displayed in a grid, with the city and country of origin.  The message goes out to the entire world simultaneously, so you’ll see a montage of worldwide photos. It takes a few seconds and it’s really fun to see the results coming in from Valparaiso, Chile, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Vienna, Austria, Auckland, New Zealand and all over the US and Canada.

I suggest you download the app and tell your friends in close and distant locations to download it too.  You’ll enjoy it!

This wonderful Daum Nancy fall scenic vase is just in

This wonderful Daum Nancy fall scenic vase is just in

It’s spring, so there are no shows, but we’re still very much in business.  Click here to view my new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

The results of the Chicago International Art, Antique & Jewelry Show, April 25 – April 28, 2014

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.  The next post will be published on Monday because this post was published on Tuesday.

1:45 PM Saturday afternoon in my aisle

1:45 PM Saturday afternoon in my aisle

The Chicago International Art, Antique & Jewelry Show was held this past weekend, April 25 – April 28, 2014.  Following is a log of the events.

It’s 1:30 PM on Saturday, as I start to write this blog. There’s plenty of show left, but as of this moment, it’s not going well. The show started with a preview party on Thursday night. I managed to make one sale and answer a few intelligent questions, but basically the preview party was a bust, as most of them are. What made it worse was the lack of food and drink. The only thing included was hors d’oeuvres and a poor champagne. Drinks were for purchase. The promoters don’t realize (or care) that the dealers are their most important asset and should be treated accordingly. Plenty of food and drink would go a long way to creating needed good will. It’s the wrong time and place to try and save a few bucks. We were expected to be at the show from 4:30 PM – 10 PM with little food. It’s a far cry from the delicious, unlimited food and drink at the Merchandise Mart show. (Scott, are you reading this?) Dealers, let management know your opinion.

Attendance has been light to moderate, which I didn’t expect. The bigger problem is that many of the attendees seem unknowledgeable, uninterested or unqualified to make a purchase. I rely on my loyal clients year after year, and truly thank them, but it’s really important to develop new clients. None so far, but that could change in a flash.

One of the fine Daum vases sold at the show

One of the fine Daum vases sold at the show

Update.  Sunday, 5 PM.  The show is almost over.  Tomorrow, Monday, is likely to be a bust, as most Mondays are.  We’ve done a reasonable amount of business, but only a tad more than we did at the Chicago Botanic Garden a couple of weeks ago, but at twice the expense.  All of our business has been from our existing clients, except for one sale.  The goal of doing a major show in a major city is to find important new clients and that hasn’t been the case.  I don’t think our booth helped either.  We were in the first row to the left of the entrance.  Most of the clients visited us first and left quickly to see the rest of the show.  The middle of the show was where the action was.

Monday afternoon

Late Monday afternoon

Update.  Monday, 4 PM.  The show is now over.  Attendance was quite light on Monday, but a couple of dealers reported some business.  We did OK.  We made a few bucks, but nothing to write home about.  In asking around, I found out the following.  A NY dealer had an excellent show, in large part because an important client flew in from the West. Another East Coast dealer also had an excellent show. A major Southern dealer did not do well.  An art dealer had a poor show, and two dealers from France had bad shows.  All in all, a mixed bag.  I did hear good things about show promotion.  People told me about ads in the Chicago Tribune and on TV. Someone told me they received an email from the promoters offering a $25 voucher for cab fare to come to the show.  It was a good effort, but the Navy Pier is not the ideal facility.  I hope the promoters can come to an agreement with the Merchandise Mart to move the show back there.  That would be the best of both worlds.

This wonderful Daum Nancy fall scenic vase is just in

This wonderful Daum Nancy fall scenic vase is just in

The show season is now over. We’ll spend the next couple of months preparing for the summer antique shows that start in Denver and culminate with the wonderful Baltimore Summer Antiques Show, August 21-24, 2014. (BTW, it’s not too early to make your plans. Hotel rooms go quickly for the show, so make your reservations now.)

Spring in New York is a lovely time of year, so Lia and I will make sure we plan some playtime. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. But there’s still plenty of time for business, so feel free to call or write. Let us know what you’re interested in buying or selling!

Click here to view my new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.