2010 was a very good year for better Tiffany Studios items, continuing a decades-long trend of new records nearly every year. The fireworks began at the Cottone sale of March 27th. A Tiffany Magnolia floor lamp that descended in the family of Merton Armstrong, sold for $661,250. In the same sale, a very good 20″ Dragonfly, on a great lily pad base, sold for $172,500.
Tiffany glass and pottery came up for sale at the Rago sale of April 24th. A rare 6″ tall pottery artichoke-form vase, sold for $19,520, approximately double the high estimate. In the same sale, a 9″ Favrile vase with elaborate gold hearts & vines decoration on a deep carmel background sold for $26,840, approximately four times the pre-sale estimate.
Those were just the warm-up acts for the 20th Century Decorative Arts sales in June. Sotheby’s was first, offering 22 important Tiffany Studios lots. Three of the lamps sold just above or below the half-million dollar mark, including a gorgeous 17″ Dragonfly on a matching mosaic base, which sold for $554,500.
Christie’s held their Decorative Arts sale the next day. A beautiful Tiffany Studios Grape chandelier sold for $398,500, more than double the low estimate of $150,000-200,000. Christie’s results were not as good as Sotheby’s, but that wasn’t a total surprise as Sotheby’s offerings were better.
Leland Little held a sale on September 18th with some important estate-fresh Tiffany Favrile glass. They didn’t know how good their glass was, so they underestimated a loving cup to sell for $1,000-2,000. It soared to $62,100, including buyer’s premium — a price commensurate with its quality and rarity.
The string continued on October 30th when Nadeau’s sold a killer Tiffany Studios inkwell for $37,500, against a pre-sale estimate of $15,000-20,000.
Like a good fireworks show, the year ended with the finale — both Sotheby’s and Christie’s sold Tiffany items for approximately $1 million. Sotheby’s was first with the sale of a magnificent Peony window for $962,500. Christie’s followed the next day, with the sale of a Grape lamp for $1,202,500. These were only the headline results. Both sales were solid throughout with many very strong sales.
I rarely give investment advice but I did when a wealthy client asked me about ten years ago. I told him that the better Tiffany Studios items had performed best over the previous twenty years and I had no reason to doubt that they wouldn’t continue. I never found out if he followed my advice, but I hope he did. He surely would have done significantly better than the last decade in the stock market.
2011 is looking up. The antiques business saw a significant recovery from 2009 levels and appears to be continually getting better. The Miami Beach Antiques Show at the end of January is always a good barometer for the rest of the year. I’m cautiously optimistic.
If you like my blog, please let your friends know by sending them a link. Then check out my new Tiffany, Daum, Gallé and R. Lalique acquisitions. I’ve recently listed many of them on my website, including Daum blackbirds, swans, rain, and more to come in the next few days, plus a killer red Tiffany Favrile vase. Here’s the link. chasenantiques.com