A Tiffany Studios lantern was sold on eBay for $12,323 on May 9, 2018

For the foreseeable future, I will publish once a week on Monday.


Tiffany Studios Turtleback Tile lantern, eBay #302721920597

On May 9, 2018, a Tiffany Turtleback Tile lantern that started at 99¢ sold for $12,323 on eBay? What’s up with that? Let’s start from the beginning.

The title for the sale of item #302721920597, Rare Tiffany Studios Favrile Glass Turtleback Tile Arts & Crafts Lantern Lamp, was accurate. If you were knowledgeable, you would know that. But there are so many reproductions and bogus items for sale on eBay that if you weren’t an expert, you were taking your life into your own hands. I knew it was correct, so I bid up to $8,650 — not enough to win the item.

It had a few problems. 1. It wasn’t signed (but lanterns like this are never signed). 2. The glass in the lower door panel was cracked. 3. The original socket was missing. 4. The chain and ceiling cap were missing. 5. The turtlebacks were gold (green are more desirable). These are all problems that a Tiffany dealer could solve, but not most individuals.

This Tiffany Turtleback Tile lantern sold at Sotheby’s in December, 2016

A similar lantern was sold at auction in NYC at Sotheby’s on December 14, 2016, for $20,000, including buyer’s premium. That green example had no problems.

All you need for a successful auction is two bidders. This item had 24 bids from several bidders. After my bid of $8,650, the bidding jumped in the final minute to $12,223 and then the final bid of $12,323. That’s a technique that smart eBay bidders use to avoid a reply bid. Time runs out and the auction is over. That’s contrary to the ethos of standard auctions which continue the bidding until the last man standing is the highest bidder. Some electronic auctions extend the bidding by a few minutes if there is bidding at the end, but not eBay. They are set in their ways. I suggested to them years ago to change their format, but they weren’t interested. I think there should be an option for sellers to allow extending the auction if there is bidding in the last five minutes. There is no downside for either eBay or the seller, only upside. Auctions should go to the highest bidder, not the one with the fastest trigger finger.

So did the buyer on eBay get the lantern at a good price? I think so, especially if the buyer can take care of its problems. And now you know the rest of the story. (Read that last sentence slowly and with emphasis, as Paul Harvey did in his national radio broadcast.)


No shows until the Baltimore Art, Antique & Jewelry Show at the end of the summer, August 30 – September 2, 2018, as we were forced to give up shows like Denver. Unfortunately the Baltimore show promoter has moved the show one week later than usual, to the Labor Day weekend. The show used to be held over the Labor Day weekend, but that was many years ago. The show is wonderful, so we’ll continue to exhibit there regardless of the change of dates.

We’re still very much in business between shows, so please don’t hesitate to email or call. I recently listed some of the new items on my website and will list more every week. Click Philip Chasen Antiques to take a look. I will make every effort to actively list new items as often as time permits. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

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