Cottone Auctions, Geneseo, NY, held a Fine Art & Antiques auction on March 27, 2021. Included in the sale was a nice collection of Tiffany Studios lamps and objects. Following is a review of a few of the lamps.
Lot #77, a beautiful 20″ diameter Tiffany Studios Pond Lily table lamp sold for $138,000, including buyer’s premium, against an estimate of $60,000 – $80,000. It was rare and gorgeous, so I wasn’t surprised by the result. It was the top lot of the Tiffany lamps.
Strangely, in my opinion, the next lot, #78, sold for more than the following lot, #79. I thought the results should have been reversed. But alas, the bidders did not listen to me. (What is wrong with them??) Lot #78, a 16″ diameter Daffodil, sold for $61,200, including buyer’s premium, while lot #79, a beautiful 14″ diameter Tulip sold for $42,000, both including buyer’s premium. They each started with identical estimates of $30,000 – $50,000. I wanted to buy lot #79, but the price was too high for me to make a profit.
For the complete results of the sale, click here. You will have to sign in (free) to see the prices.
Business has been surprisingly good during the pandemic, as I’ve been saying for the last year or so. Following is a review of some recent sales.
I traded a beautiful Handel Jungle Bird lamp from my personal collection for a rare Tiffany Studios Turtleback candlestick/lamp.
Then I sold the candlestick. It was a good trade because everyone involved was pleased.
I’ve been selling a lot of pâte-de-verre items by Argy-Rousseau and Walter, including a very rare Argy-Rousseau veilleuse (night light) called Fleurs et Bourgeons (Flowers and Buds), pictured below.
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got some good Tiffany Studios items, especially lamps, that you’re looking to sell or trade. I’m also on the hunt for good pâte-de-verre by Argy-Rousseau and A. Walter and French cameo glass by Daum Nancy and Gallé. Please email me with your offers. I don’t want your item on consignment. I’ll write you a check and buy it outright.
I tried to buy a very rare and important Gallé marquetry Verrerie Parlante coupe at an auction in Rouen, France, on March 6, 2021. Gallé exhibited it at the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900 (see the photo below). It had an inscription in French by the poet Marcelline Desbordes-Valmore (1768-1859); Tout ce ciel que je porte en moi-même caché. The quotation is the reason the vase is described as Verrerie Parlante (Talking Glass). The marquetry designation refers to the inlaid glass on glass decoration.
I had hoped to buy the coupe for €25,000, hammer price. I dropped out at €35,000. Apparently they didn’t need me because the final price was €165,000 ($201,300), including buyer’s premium. Silly me! It will either enter one of the best collections in the world or will be exhibited in a museum, as it should.
The next day a very interesting Handel scenic overlay floor lamp came up for auction in Versailles, France. Go figure! It was originally estimated to sell for €1,200 – €1,500, but the auctioneers must have had some interest in the lamp and raised the estimate to €6,000 – €8,000. That was a foolish move in my opinion. Everything sells better when the estimate is low. It generates excitement because everyone thinks they’re in the game.
It sold for €3,800, or about $5,795, including buyer’s premium. The next bid was €4,000, or about $6,100. Shipping to the US would have added about $2,000, for a total of $8,100 landed in New York. Then the lamp needed some minor restoration to the metalwork of the shade and to the base, so let’s say $400. Now the total is $8,500.
I hadn’t sold one of these lamps in a long time, so I had to guess at today’s value. I’m an auction appraiser and authenticator for several important auction houses, so I would estimate the value at an American auction in the range of $6,000 – $8,000. And I could just as easily see it selling for $7,500 as $15,000. I didn’t have enough confidence in the result so I wasn’t willing to make the effort, incur the expense and take the risk.
I’m curious what you think the lamp was worth or what you would have been willing to pay for it. It’s water under the bridge, so now it’s just a game. Write to me and let me know. My email address is on my website. I don’t want to write it here because I get enough junk mail as it is.
Alan Schneider was the owner of an antiques shop called The Antique Traders on California Street in San Francisco for 50 years. I last visited many years ago. I tried to buy from him, but his prices were always too high for me. I also tried to sell to him, but apparently my prices were too high for him. So we did almost no business together that I can remember.
Alan passed away on July 15, 2020 at the age of 76. His estate was sold at John Moran Auctioneers in Monrovia, CA, a suburb of Los Angeles. Most of the items were medium quality, with very few standouts. I thought that Alan would have kept a few exceptional pieces for his personal collection, but if they existed, they weren’t in the sale.
Following are a few of the highlights.
In my opinion, lot #23, a Tiffany 20″ diameter Arrowroot table lamp was the best lamp in the sale, with very unusual reddish color in the background. I tried to buy it, but unfortunately I was the underbidder. It sold for $40,625, including buyer’s premium, against an estimate of $30,000 – $40,000. That’s a fine price for a collector to pay, but not a dealer. Too bad. I really wanted this one.
Part of the Schneider collection was a collection of Handel lamps. The best of the group was lot #118, a rare and beautiful bird lamp. It sold for $15,000, including buyer’s premium, against an estimate of $3,000 – $5,000. This is another lamp that I wanted to buy, but couldn’t because of the price.
Not everything in the sale was kosher. Lot #119 was a reproduction Gallé vase that was sold as authentic. It sold for $1,625, including buyer’s premium, against an estimate of $1,000 – $1,500. There also were quite a few other vases that were cut down and not mentioned in the condition reports. Looks like Moran can use a little outside professional help. (Hello! I’m available. I’m already the expert for many auction houses, but unfortunately I can’t name them here.)
Here are a few recent updates about antique shows.
The Baltimore Summer Antiques Show, which is usually held at the end of August, will this year become the Baltimore Fall Antiques Show, scheduled to take place some time in November. I’ll let you know when I find out the specifics. At the moment the Baltimore Convention Center is being used as a Covid field hospital where I assume they are administering vaccinations.
The Chicago Merchandise Mart show was canceled for 2021 and will return in the spring of 2022. Hopefully the world will have substantially returned to normal by then.
The promoters of the fall show in Winnetka, IL, sent out a dealer questionnaire. I replied that I would like to exhibit there in November. I guess we’ll have to wait for a decision from the promoters. So it’s a possibility.
I assume that by winter 2022, the Miami antique shows will be back in operation. Sure hope so. It’s a wonderful chance to do great business and escape the winter. I look forward to it every year, and missed it greatly this year.