Some good results at Freeman’s English & Continental Furniture & Decorative Arts sale, October 7, 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.


Freeman’s of Philadelphia, PA held its English & Continental Furniture & Decorative Arts sale on October 7, 2014. Included in the sale was a section entitled 20th Century Design including Fine Daum, Gallé & Loetz Glass, fresh from estates, with very conservative estimates and reserves. That’s always a combination that bodes well.

Daum Bird & Frog vase, Freeman's lot #430

Daum Blackbird & Frog vase, Freeman’s lot #430

Top lot of this group was a Daum Blackbird & Frog vase. It flew past its pre-sale estimate of $2,000 – $4,000 to realize $16,250 (buyer’s premium included). While that may seem like a good result, the identical vase sold at Bonham’s New York in December, 2012 for $43,750 (against a pre-sale estimate of $15,000 – $20,000). What explains the difference? In my opinion, two people got carried away at Bonham’s in 2012. $43,750 for this vase just sounds over the top.

Rare Loetz Black Bottom vase, Freeman's lot #460

Rare Loetz Black Bottom vase, Freeman’s lot #460

Lot # 460 was a small (4″ tall), but rare, Loetz Black Bottom vase, estimated to sell for $1,500 – $2,500. I tried to buy it, but couldn’t when the price went into retail territory. The final result was $8,960 (buyer’s premium included).

For the complete results of the sale, click here.


Morristown-10-2014
No shows until November, when we have four in a row. We’ll start in New Jersey at the Morristown Armory, then travel to Chicago for the Antiques + Modernism Winnetka show, followed by the Kansas City Antiques Expo, ending up back at the Pier in NYC for the usual November show. Remember to check my website for the latest items and keep reading my blog. We’ll spend a lot of time finding some great new items for our November circuit.

Click here to view our 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.

Tiffany Studios lamps sell well at Doyle’s Belle Epoque sale, September 23, 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 sale on September 23, 2014. Included in the sale were several Tiffany Studios lamps, which performed well as a group.

Tiffany Studios Dragonfly table lamp, Doyle lot #533

Tiffany Studios Dragonfly table lamp, Doyle lot #533

Top lot of the sale was a Tiffany Studios 20″ diameter Dragonfly table lamp, deaccessioned by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. With impeccable provenance, and a beautiful shade, the lamp did not disappoint. Selling as lot #533, it realized $87,500 (including buyer’s premium), against a pre-sale estimate of $50,000-$70,000.

Rare Tiffany Studios Fern table lamp, Doyle lot #525

Rare Tiffany Studios Fern table lamp, Doyle lot #525

While the result for lot #533 could have easily been predicted, the result for lot #525 was completely unexpected. It was a small Tiffany Studios table lamp with a rare Fern base and a 10″ diameter Pine Needle shade, totally damaged. It was expected to sell in the $1,200-$1,800 range, but sold for $31,250 — about 14 times the high estimate. So what was the deal? I spoke to the successful bidder, a collector/dealer, who answered, “When was the last time you saw this base for sale?” It was very rare and he was determined to buy it, no matter what. I imagine he’ll replace the shade with a top-notch Favrile glass shade.

For the rest of the Tiffany lamps and the complete results of the sale, first click here and then choose the September 23, 2014 Belle Epoque sale from the drop-down menu.


No shows until November, when we have four in a row. We’ll start in New Jersey at the Morristown Armory, then travel to Chicago for the Antiques + Modernism Winnetka show, followed by the Kansas City Antiques Expo, ending up back at the Pier in NYC for the usual November show. Remember to check my website for the latest items and keep reading my blog. We’ll spend a lot of time finding some great new items for our November circuit.

Click here to view our 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.

Why Do Vases Sell for More Than Bowls?

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.

Today’s guest post is by David Rago, republished with permission from Bidsquare. David Rago is Partner and Co-Director of the 20th/21st C. Design Department of the Rago Arts & Auction Center in Lambertville, New Jersey.


Unless you’re selling gold ingots or diamonds, most fine objects don’t have intrinsic monetary value. So why would anyone pay tens of thousands of dollars for a Tiffany vase? To truly understand value, you have to understand the mindset of a collector.

Tiffany Studios, Fine Favrile pottery bowl with tomatoes, green and ivory glaze, New York, ca. 1900. Sale Price: $13,750, Rago Arts & Auction Center

Tiffany Studios, Fine Favrile pottery bowl with tomatoes, green and ivory glaze, New York, ca. 1900. Sale Price: $13,750, Rago Arts & Auction Center

Tiffany Studios, Rare glazed earthenware milkweed vase, New York, 1900s. Sale Price: $42,500, Rago Arts & Auction Center

Tiffany Studios, Rare glazed earthenware milkweed vase, New York, 1900s. Sale Price: $42,500, Rago Arts & Auction Center

Let’s start by comparing vases and bowls. To simplify this exercise, assume you have a bowl and a vase made of the same material (pottery or glass, for example) by the same company, the same year, decorated by the same artist or one of similar value, in the same condition, and even the same size, though one is measured in height and the other in width. We’re pretty much talking about the same piece with that one notable exception. Would the value really be different?

Grueby, Large low bowl carved with leaves, Boston, MA, ca. 1905. Sale Price: $1,625, Rago Arts & Auction Center

Grueby, Large low bowl carved with leaves, Boston, MA, ca. 1905. Sale Price: $1,625, Rago Arts & Auction Center

Grueby, Vase with buds and leaves, Boston, MA, ca. 1905. Sale Price: $2,125, Rago Arts & Auction Center

Grueby, Vase with buds and leaves, Boston, MA, ca. 1905. Sale Price: $2,125, Rago Arts & Auction Center

For starters, a bowl takes up nearly twice as much space on a collector’s shelf than a vase. Few people have unlimited yardage in their china cabinets or fireplace mantels, and many collectors eventually trade bowls for thinner works.

Second, and this is no small factor, a bowl doesn’t show off an artist’s work as well as a vase. If you don’t have a vase and a bowl sitting in front of you, envision how the vertical flow of the artistry is easier to read on a vase. Even if an artist “works with the form” when decorating a bowl, choosing a trailing vine or a lyrical floral design, the decoration has to wind around the bottom of the piece, at best rising just a few inches above the shelf.

Additionally, because most bowls flare as they rise, and since most light sources shine from above, the decoration on a bowl is usually not lit nearly as well as it would be on a vase form. A collector has to be very sensitive to lighting and placement to show off a bowl properly if for no other reason than this.

Unusual Rookwood Wax Matte bowl painted by Louise Abel with red blossoms on a mustard ground, the interior covered in a mottled burnt sienna glaze, 1924. Sale Price: $764, Rago Arts & Auction Center

Unusual Rookwood Wax Matte bowl painted by Louise Abel with red blossoms on a mustard ground, the interior covered in a mottled burnt sienna glaze, 1924. Sale Price: $764, Rago Arts & Auction Center

Rookwood Wax Matte vase painted by Mary Helen McDonald and/or Louise Abel with purple nicotina plants on a raspberry ground, 1922. Sale Price: $1,920, Rago Arts & Auction Center

Rookwood Wax Matte vase painted by Mary Helen McDonald and/or Louise Abel with purple nicotina plants on a raspberry ground, 1922. Sale Price: $1,920, Rago Arts & Auction Center

Finally, bowls are more easily damaged than vases. A blow from above will often glance off of a straight sided vase. But the shape of a bowl, broad and flat, will often absorb the same level of impact, resulting in a chip or a crack. And bowls are more often employed in a way that can increase the likelihood of benign neglect. How many people have you seen force narcissus bulbs in a vase? Bowls are often available with flower frogs for this express purpose. The safest place for a valuable pot is in a cabinet or a high shelf, not the dining room table.


No shows until November, when we have four in a row. We’ll start in New Jersey at the Morristown Armory, then travel to Chicago for the Antiques + Modernism Winnetka show, followed by the Kansas City Antiques Expo, ending up back at the Pier in NYC for the usual November show. Remember to check my website for the latest items and keep reading my blog. We’ll spend a lot of time finding some great new items for our November circuit.

Click here to view our 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.

Some good results at Cottone’s Fine Art & Antique auction, September 26-27, 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.

Tiffany Studios Angel of Resurrection window, Cottone lot #504

Tiffany Studios Angel of Resurrection window, Cottone lot #504

Cottone’s held their Fine Art & Antique auction this past weekend, September 26-27, 2014, with some good results. Top lot of the sale was a Tiffany Studios memorial window, Angel of Resurrection from the Church of the Redeemer in upstate Newark, NY. It exceeded its high estimate of $60,000 to realize $71,300, including buyer’s premium.

Tiffany Studios Poppy table lamp, Cottone lot #502

Tiffany Studios Poppy table lamp, Cottone lot #502

The second highest lot of the sale was another Tiffany Studios item – a 17″ diameter Poppy table lamp. Fresh to the market, the estimate seemed fair, $60,000-$80,000, especially with an important blownout base. To my surprise, it sold for the low estimate of $60,000, plus buyer’s premium ($69,000). Sounded like a deal to me.

Martin Brothers bird, Cottone lot #539

Martin Brothers bird, Cottone lot #539

Martin Brothers birds continued on a decade’s-long flight up. A 10″ bird with lots of character (and some damage) soared past its pre-sale estimate of $7,000-$10,000 to realize $60,950.

There were bargains to be had, but unfortunately I was asleep at the switch. I was so preoccupied with the antique show this past weekend that the auction totally slipped my mind. Too bad, because I could have bought some fine items at reasonable prices. For the complete results of the sale, click here.

No shows until November, when we have four in a row. We’ll start in New Jersey at the Morristown Armory, then travel to Chicago for the Antiques + Modernism Winnetka show, followed by the Kansas City Antiques Expo, ending up back at the Pier in NYC for the usual November show. Remember to check my website for the latest items and keep reading my blog. We’ll spend a lot of time finding some great new items for our November circuit.

Click here to view our 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 NYC Big Flea Market, September 27-28, 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.

There was a good crowd inside and outside just before opening on Saturday

There was a good crowd inside and outside just before opening on Saturday

The NYC Big Flea Market completed its maiden show, September 27-28, 2014. Attendance was good on Saturday, with lots of interest, but sales were not commensurate. The crowd was younger than at the November and March Pier shows, with lots of new faces. Sunday attendance wasn’t quite as good, but still significant. Sunday resulted in two good sales, a Tiffany lamp and a Pairpoint lamp.

Saturday afternoon in front of my booth

Saturday afternoon in front of my booth

It was tough sitting at the show — the hours were ridiculously long — 10 hours on Saturday and 8 hours on Sunday. It would have been less of a problem if we were busy selling all day, but we weren’t. Add the pungent smell of sauerkraut all day, from the food vendor at the entrance, for an unpleasant experience. What really counted were sales. Although we didn’t make many, the results were good enough for us to return in April, for the spring edition of the show. That means we’ll exhibit twice in the same facility within a few weeks, in March and April. I don’t think that will be a bad thing, since the two shows attract different crowds.

This beautiful Tiffany 19" green Linenfold table lamp was sold at the show

This beautiful Tiffany 19″ green Linenfold table lamp was sold at the show

In asking around to just a few dealers, I got the following comments. Arnie Small of Barbara Gerr Antiques (American pottery) remarked “The show was OK. We saw more young people come through than at other shows. The gate was good.” Virgil Rogers of Only Authentics (handbags) said “The show was better than the normal Pier show in November. The crowd was large. I sold some very expensive Chanel and Hermès handbags.” Jeff Myers (glass) was enthusiastic. “I thought it was good. I’m going to come back in April. The crowd was completely different.” Peter Boehm of Dualities Antiques (general) of Larchmont, NY, didn’t feel the same way. “My show was horrible. The worst I’ve ever done.” Finally David Smirnofff of From Here to Antiquity (paintings) of Cheshire, CT, said “I sold a lot of inexpensive items. I’m disappointed that it was promoted as a flea market rather than a treasure hunt.”

Now for a little time off. No shows until November, when we have four in a row. We’ll start in New Jersey at the Morristown Armory, then travel to Chicago for the Antiques + Modernism Winnetka show, followed by the Kansas City Antiques Expo, ending up back at the Pier in NYC for the usual November show. Remember to check my website for the latest items and keep reading my blog. We’ll spend a lot of time finding some great new items for our November circuit.

Click here to view our 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 NYC Big Flea Market will open this weekend, September 27-28, 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 show will be held in Pier 94, the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

The show will be held in Pier 94, the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

The NYC Big Flea Market will open this coming weekend and run from Saturday, September 27, at 9 AM, until Sunday, September 28, at 5 PM. The promoters, D’Amore Promotions, will be using the same Pier 94 that is used by USA Antique Shows for their November and March shows. This is the first time for this show, with an entirely new cast of dealers.

One of the Fredericksburg displays

One of the Fredericksburg displays

D’Amore Promotions produces the DC Big Flea Market in Chantilly, Virginia and the Fredericksburg Big Flea Market in Fredericksburg, Virginia. They decided to duplicate their successful Virginia shows in New York City. Pretty gutsy move. A successful Virginia show doesn’t necessarily translate into a successful New York City show. It’s not exactly Field of Dreams — if you build it, he will come. First you’ve got to convince the dealers to exhibit at your new show. They needed a good response and got it. The show will be full, with many new dealers who never exhibit in New York City. The next step is to fill the place with buyers, who will make the dealers happy and so will begin a virtuous cycle.

We'll have this wonderful Martin Brothers double-face jug at the show

We’ll have this wonderful Martin Brothers double-face jug at the show

I’ve got a good feeling about this show. I expect different people to attend, which hopefully will be a good thing. I’m bringing lots of fresh items to the show, which is always good for business. Look for the results next Monday.

Click here for more information about the Big Flea Market.

Click here to view our 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.

Ever wonder how a Lalique vase is made?

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.

Lalique Bacchantes mold

Lalique Bacchantes mold

Lalique vases are made in molds, as opposed to French cameo vases that are usually hand-blown. That means that a sculptor first has to hand-sculpt an original, usually of clay. From there several molds are cast until the final iron version is ready. Molten glass is injected into the mold and then cooled very slowly, usually over 24 hours or more. The process is called annealing and its purpose is to remove stress from the glass, so it doesn’t crack. After the cold vase is removed from the mold, it goes to a glass finisher who grinds the rim, the base and any irregularities until the vase is smooth and sits flat. Finally the vase is signed and ready for sale.

Lalique Bacchantes vase

Lalique Bacchantes vase

Different glass can be injected into the same mold to create variations, which may include different colors or opalescence. Many modern collectors look to obtain colored variations of the same vase, which always command premium prices over their colorless cousins. Certain rarer colors, like red, are the most sought after.

Three variations of R. Lalique Ronces vases

Three variations of R. Lalique Ronces vases

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

Our next show is new to our schedule and almost upon us. The NYC Big Flea Market will run two weekends from now, September 27-28. The new promoters, D’Amore Promotions, will be using the same Pier 94 that is used by USA Antique Shows for their November and March shows. This one will be substantially different, with an entirely new cast of dealers. Click here for more information. I’m bringing a lot of special items, so come and visit me at the show.

Click here to view our 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.

Christie’s South Kensington London held a most unusual Out of the Ordinary sale, September 3, 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 door to Paul McCartney's childhood home, Christie's lot #1

The door to Paul McCartney’s childhood home, Christie’s lot #1

Bernard Buffet's monumental stage curtain from the Paris cabaret club L'Alcazar, Christie's lot #119

Bernard Buffet’s monumental stage curtain from the Paris cabaret club L’Alcazar, Christie’s lot #119

Christie’s South Kensington, London, held a very eclectic sale on September 3, 2014, entitled Out of the Ordinary. The sale couldn’t have been more diverse, with items ranging from the door to Paul McCartney’s childhood home (£6,875 = $11,316) to Bernard Buffet’s monumental stage curtain from the Paris cabaret club L’Alcazar, opened by Jean-Marie Rivière in 1968 (£194,500 = $320,147).

Royal Navy machine gun, 1880-5, Christie's lot #147

Royal Navy machine gun, 1880-5, Christie’s lot #147

The Bernard Buffet curtain was the top lot of the sale, but a Royal Navy deck-mounted machine gun from 1880-5 was the second best lot. It exceeded its high estimate of £70,000 ($115,990) to sell for £86,500 ($142,379).

German WWII Enigma encrypting machine, Christie's lot #25

German WWII Enigma encrypting machine, Christie’s lot #25

Other fascinating lots included a WWII German Enigma encrypting machine (£50,000 = $82,300), a circa 1900 Elizabethan Capture chair (£27,500 = $45,265) and a large Ammonite mineral (£32,500 = $53,495). To view the complete results of the sale, click here.

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

Our next show is new to our schedule and almost upon us. The NYC Big Flea Market will run two weekends from now, from September 27-28. The new promoters, D’Amore Promotions, will be using the same Pier 94 that is used by USA Antique Shows for their November and March shows. This one will be substantially different, with an entirely new cast of dealers. Click here for more information. It should be good, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Click here to view our 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.

Duffner & Kimberly lamp sells at McInnis Auctions, September 6, 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.

Duffner & Kimberly table lamp, McInnis lot #599

Duffner & Kimberly table lamp, McInnis lot #599

John McInnis Auctioneers, of Amesbury, MA, held a two-day estates auction on September 5-6, 2014. Included in the sale was an attractive, unsigned Duffner & Kimberly table lamp with a floral border. Although it was unsigned, it was clearly a Duffner lamp, including the very distinctive cap, finial, base and shade design. But that was only to the trained eye. With a very attractive estimate of $2/4,000, I had hoped to sneak up on it, as it was definitely underestimated. But all it takes to spoil the party is one other knowledgeable bidder. The lamp sold for $5,750, which although still fair, was a little too much for a dealer to pay. Oh well! Maybe I’ll have better luck next time.

For a look at the sale (without results), click here.

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

Our next show is new to our schedule. The NYC Big Flea Market will run from September 27-28. The new promoters, D’Amore Promotions, will be using the same Pier 94 that is used by USA Antique Shows for their November and March shows. This one will be substantially different, with an entirely new cast of dealers. Click here for more information. It should be good, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Click here to view our 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.

Would you pay $3.2 million for a comic book? Someone did.

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.

Action Comics #1, sealed in plastic

Action Comics #1, sealed in plastic

A copy of Action Comics #1, which introduced Superman to the world, was put up for auction on eBay. By the time the sale ended on August 24, 2014, a new world record of $3,207,852 was established — not bad for a comic that originally sold for 10¢ in 1938. This example was sealed in plastic by Comic Guaranty LLC (CGC), a comic book grading service, and graded 9.0 (out of 10). That made it the highest-rated example of the estimated 50-100 examples thought to still exist, of the original 200,000 printed. It had been stored in a cedar locker for decades, so it had perfect white pages and no damage — just what collectors desire.

 Darren Adams, with his Action Comics #1  (photo courtesy of eBay)

Darren Adams, with his Action Comics #1 (photo courtesy of eBay)

Many times the name of the purchaser or seller is not known, but in this instance, we know the identities of both. Darren Adams, the owner of Pristine Comics, was the seller, who purportedly paid over $1,000,000 (but how much over only he and the seller know). Vincent Zurzolo and Stephen Fishler were the buyers. They are the partners of Metropolis Collectibles of NYC, the bigshots of the vintage comic book world. Their belief is that their purchase is a good investment that will realize a profit.

Vincent Zurzolo (right) and Stephen Fishler with a different copy of Action Comics #1

Vincent Zurzolo (right) and Stephen Fishler with a different copy of Action Comics #1

In my eyes, it’s a game of musical chairs. I wouldn’t want to be the last one standing, with a $3.2 million comic book, when the music stops. In the meantime, the prices keep marching on. The last eBay auction of Action Comics #1 was in 2011, when it set the then current record of $2,161,000. Prior to that, in 2010, Comic Connect was the first auction house to break the $1 million barrier with another copy.

Christopher Reeve as Superman

Christopher Reeve as Superman

Christopher Reeve was probably the best-known of all the actors who portrayed Superman. In 1995, he became a quadriplegic after being thrown from a horse during a competition. Darren Adams intends to donate 1% of the sales price to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation for spinal-cord injury and paralysis research.

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

Our next show is new to our schedule. The NYC Big Flea Market will run from September 27-28. The new promoters, D’Amore Promotions, will be using the same Pier 94 that is used by USA Antique Shows for their November and March shows. This one will be substantially different, with an entirely new cast of dealers. Click here for more information. It should be good, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Click here to view our 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.