Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, of Hillsborough, NC, held their September auction on the 18th. Included in the sale were three Tiffany objects, of which two were from the estate of James & Lois Bower of Bement, Illinois. Lot #438 was described as “Tiffany & Co. Favrile Glass Three Handled Vase early 20th century, the organic baluster form with three applied handles, with rich gold overlaid on a bluish-purple body, with paper label and etched “5685 C” and “Favrile.” 6 7/8 in. Purchased from Tiffany’s in New York and thence by descent in the family.” What Leland Little Auctions did not know was that the loving cup was a very desirable example of Tiffany Lava glass. Tiffany Lava glass is quite rare and highly sought after by collectors. Even the best collections have very few examples. The loving cup carried a pre-sale estimate of $1,000-2,000 and soared to an incredible $62,100, including buyer’s premium. Well, not that incredible, because Lava glass commands a premium price and this was a superb example, fresh to the market. As Leland Little Auctions did not know the true value of this item, they did not properly advertise it. That didn’t stop the cognoscenti from finding it. It may even have helped. Everyone thought they were in the game, so the vase had lots of action.
The second item from the Bower estate, lot #439, was very nice, but not important. Additionally it had an original flaw on the interior of the vase that looked like a crack, but was not. It sold for $7,475, against a pre-sale estimate of $1,000-2,000. Still an excellent result, but not dramatic.
The final Tiffany lot of the sale was #440. It was another example of Tiffany Lava glass, correctly catalogued by Leland Little Auctions. The shape was not nearly as nice as the loving cup, and it was in flawed condition with an internal 2½” crack. This cup was not from the Bower estate, which made for a very rare event. Two of the three Tiffany items offered for sale at that auction were Lava glass. What were the odds? This item did not fare as well. It carried a pre-sale estimate of $2,000-4,000, and sold for $2,300, at the low end of the estimate.
That leads me back to my theme of auction estimating, which I have repeated on numerous occasions. If the auction estimates are low, even extraordinarily low, the results will be best. It tells the bidding public that the items basically have no reserve and are there to be sold. The items will garner exceptional attention and active bidding, usually with very fine results.
I just came back from a successful buying trip. Over the next week, I will be adding to my website recently acquired Daum, Gallé and R. Lalique vases. Please take a look. Click on this link chasenantiques.com.
Please send me your comments or questions about art glass, lamps, Louis Icart, shows, auctions, etc. If it’s interesting, I’ll answer you in a future blog.