Sotheby’s New York held A Vision: The Collection of Michelle Smith sale on April 22, 2021, with impressive total sales of $42,868,648. Included in the sale were several lamps and miscellaneous items by Tiffany Studios. Following is a review of several of them.
For the most part, the results for the Tiffany Studios items were weak, which is interesting because the Tiffany market is actually quite strong at the moment. I can only attribute that to the fact that the lamps were not in a 20th Century sale, but rather in a single-owner sale. I certainly had no idea that Tiffany lamps might be in the collection of Michelle Smith. In fact, I had never even heard of Michelle Smith.
Lot #54 was a stunning Tiffany Studios 20″ diameter Poppy table lamp on a very rare water lily base. From the photo, it looked fabulous, but I wasn’t going to bid since I hadn’t previewed the sale. I just couldn’t afford to take the risk without first having seen it in person. It sold below its low estimate of $180,000, realizing $201,600, including buyer’s premium. Seems like a bargain to me. The base alone is worth at least $150,000 and the shade at least $100,000. I thought the lamp would sell closer to $300,000.
Lot #86 was an important Tiffany Studios 17″ diameter Dragonfly table lamp; more so for the base than the shade. The background glass was only fair, but the wings were a lovely mauve color. I’d give it a 7.5. The base was a rare, important Dragonfly mosaic example. I’d give it a 10. Most of the time the shade is more valuable than the base, but not for these two lamps. It sold below its low estimate of $220,000, realizing $252,000, including buyer’s premium.
I gasped and giggled when I saw the result of a 3-piece Tiffany Studios Pine Needle desk set, lot #77. It sold for $13,860, including buyer’s premium, against an estimate of $1,000 – $1,500. I sell these same 3 pieces in the range of $3,500 – $4,500 all day long. Hey you, Mr./Ms. buyer! Please call or email me and I’ll help fill out your set for a lot less money!