I will do my best to publish a new post every Monday.
Fontaine’s Auction, Pittsfield, MA, held a Fine & Decorative Arts sale on September 25, 2021. Following are a few of the results that I found most interesting.
As the glass and lamps expert for several major auction houses, including Fontaine’s, I get called on to authenticate and evaluate many items. Lot #26 was particularly amusing. It was presented to me as possibly Tiffany, since it had a Tiffany signature. It was obvious, without looking at the signature, that it was an important piece of Austrian glass by Loetz, commonly referred to as a black bottom vase. Frequently authentic Loetz vases were unsigned (as opposed to Tiffany who signed almost everything). So what almost surely happened, probably sometime within the last 50 years, is that some unscrupulous dummy thought a Tiffany signature would enhance its value and saleability. So Fontaine’s sold it as they found it; an authentic Loetz vase with a spurious signature. That didn’t stop the buyers. It sold for $11,495, including buyer’s premium, against an estimate of $3,000 – $5,000.
I don’t buy many Tiffany geometric table lamps, as there are fewer buyers for them than for floral table lamps. But lot #51, a 20″ diameter geometric table lamp, was an exception. It was clean as a whistle, just like the day it was bought. The condition was remarkable; only one hairline crack, a gorgeous patina on the shade and base, original sockets, original cap. The owners took fantastic care of this lamp over the last century or so. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it was boxed for decades. Not only that, but the lamp had great glass; a rich apple green with heavy mottling. It was estimated to sell for $10,000 – $15,000, but realized $21,780, including buyer’s premium. I bid strongly, but couldn’t compete with the retail buyers.
I’ve never personally dealt in Tiffany windows as they’re too difficult to handle, display, transport, ship, etc. But I do follow the market. Rule #1, don’t buy religious windows. They’re very difficult to sell. Rule #2, don’t buy religious windows. You get the point. However, the quality of many of them is amazing, so there is a market for them, including lot #103, Gabriel Blowing His Horn. It measured 51½” x 49″, including the frame, and was signed and dated Tiffany Studios, New York, 1916. The glass was fantastic; drapery glass in Gabriel’s robe, fracture glass in the leaves (especially in the upper left and upper right), mottled glass, striated glass, the works. It was really a great window. It sold near the high end of its estimate of $70,000 – $90,000, realizing $102,850, including buyer’s premium. It might have brought $500,000 if it weren’t religious.
There were lots of other interesting results in the sale, but only time to write about a few. For the complete results of the sale, click here.
Let me know what interests you, even if you don’t see it on my website. I’ve got lots of items that I haven’t listed yet and I know how to locate what you desire.
I 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.