Sotheby’s New York held an Important Design sale on July 30, 2020, beginning with 20 Tiffany Studios lots, mostly lamps. The timing of the sale was quite unusual, at the end of July, but nothing should be surprising in this time of pandemic. Regardless, the results were solid, with 17 of the 20 lots selling. Sales totaled $20,153,000 for the entire sale with 114 of the total of 146 lots offered selling. Four lots by François-Xavier Lalanne sold for multiples of their high estimates realizing from $1,700,000 to $3,980,000, including buyer’s premium.
It was no surprise that lot #13, a vividly colored Wisteria table lamp, was the top lot of the Tiffany group. Estimated to sell for $450,000 – $600,000, it realized $716,000, including buyer’s premium, against an estimate of $450,000 – $600,000.
I loved lot #19, a 22″ diameter, fiery red Tulip table lamp. It sold for $162,500, including buyer’s premium, against an estimate of $100,000 – $150,000. I thought it would sell for considerably more. I had just the right table in my living room, but it wasn’t meant to be.
I wanted to buy lot #14, an attractive Tiffany Favrile 8″ diameter blue Damascene counterbalance desk lamp. It was a nice example, but not great, because the blue faded considerably when the light was turned on. Additionally, the base was nothing exceptional. I hoped to buy it for $10,000 or so, all in. Guess what? It sold for $35,000, including buyer’s premium, against an estimate of $8,000 – $12,000. I love it when that happens, because it’s great for my considerable Tiffany Favrile lamp business.
In possibly the single biggest shocker of my career, lot #28, a 6¾” tall Grueby oat-colored vase, from the private collection of Robert Kaplan of Maplewood, NJ, sold for an astonishing $431,250, against a realistic estimate of $7,000 – $9,000. The bidding was fierce between two determined phone bidders who would not quit for 45 minutes of bidding. The usual increments of $10,000 or more were thrown out the window by the auctioneer who allowed the two bidders to bid in increments of $2,000 up to $200,000. After that the increments increased to $5,000. I have never, ever, ever seen anything like it among the thousands of auctions I’ve participated in over the years. I’m at a loss for words!!
For the complete results of the sale click here.