Second sale of the Flower majolica collection blooms at Strawser March 16

KULPSVILLE, Penn. — The second of three auctions dedicated to the remarkable majolica collection of Edward Flower (1929-2022) and his wife Marilyn (1930-2017) will be held by specialists Strawser Auction Group on Saturday, March 16. The Flowers began collecting majolica relatively late in life, in the late 1990s, but the bug bit them hard. Across a trio of sales (the first held last August, the last to be held later this year) more than 600 pieces, mostly acquired in the last 20 years, will be offered by Strawser Auction Group via LiveAuctioneers.

Two items are expected to vie for top honors in the second sale – 185 lots in all – with estimates of $25,000-$30,000 each. The first is a Minton ‘Hare and Duck’ head game pie dish and cover, affectionately known among collectors as the Bunny Tureen. The model is one of several by the French émigré animalia sculptor Paul Comoléra, who worked at the Minton factory from 1873 to 1877.

The second is a George Jones teapot, one of only a few known formed as a Chinese junk filled with cargo, with the cover modeled as a figure in Chinese costume. “In my 30 years of selling majolica this is the first one I’ve ever offered,” said Michael Strawser.

A Copeland 1876 memorial vase was produced specifically for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia – an event where many British majolica factories exhibited their wares. The vase is modeled as three back-to-back gray eagles guarding the American flag and shown with spears and three cobalt blue shields. This design, among the most coveted of Copeland’s majolica output, is estimated at $4,000-$6,000.

Several pieces in the Flower collection were recently part of the renowned Majolica Mania exhibition that was launched in New York City in the fall of 2021, traveled to the Walters Museum in Baltimore in early 2022, and finished at Stoke-on-Trent in the UK in fall 2022.

These include a pair of rustic vases modeled with peacocks by William Brownfield circa 1875, and a vase of around the same date formed as a pair of herons by Brown Westhead Moore & Co., possibly designed by Mark V. Marshall of Doulton Lambeth fame. They are estimated at $1,500-$2,000 and $1,500-$2,000, respectively.

Another rarity, best known from the collecting literature, is a Minton inkwell and cover, modeled as a bird atop an upright pinecone. It’s one of only three known, with another pictured in Victoria Cecil’s influential 1982 catalog Minton Majolica.

It is an indication of collecting fashion that a large Palissy style ‘art of the earth’ basin, inscribed and dated Avisseau, Tours, 1856 for French ceramicist Charles-Jean Avisseau (1795-1861), shared the top price of the first sale at $40,000. The March 16 event includes a similar teapot by the Avisseau modeled as a snake climbing an ivy-clad tree trunk. After buying this piece in 2014, Ed Flower commissioned the contemporary ceramics sculptor Jonathan Court and the decorator Nicola Rose to recreate a missing frog cover. Both artists signed their names on the underside. It comes to auction with an estimate of $3,000-$4,000.

Continental European wares, once the slightly poorer relation to pieces by the best Staffordshire factories, were a strength of the first sale. Particularly well-received was a menagerie of large naturalistic models by the Massier Brothers, Choisy Le Roi, and Hugo Lonitz factories. All had lived together cheek-by-jowl in the Flowers’ Bay Shore, New York residence.

Highlights in Part II include a circa-1880 Delphin Massier elephant and howdah floor jardiniere, estimated at $6,000-$9,000, and a monumental model of a jay perched on a tree stump by Hugo Lonitz, estimated at $4,000-$6,000.

A Study in Sherlock, Part II realizes $217K at Potter & Potter

Doyle's 'The Lost World' with its virtually unobtainable original dust jacket, which sold for $12,000 at Potter & Potter.

CHICAGO — Collectors of Arthur Conan Doyle and anything Sherlock Holmes-related got their second chance to purchase rarities from the combined collections of Robert Hess and Roy Pilot February 15 at Potter & Potter. The 336-lot sale brought the consignors $217,000 in a ringing endorsement of the collection’s quality. Complete results are available at LiveAuctioneers.

Potter & Potter president Gabe Fajuri quipped, “It was all but elementary here on auction day — we saw strong bidding on many unusual and elusive items from the Arthur Conan Doyle cannon, and are looking forward to — perhaps — yet another installment in this series of auctions in 2025.”

The sale’s top lot was Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1896 autograph manuscript of the novel Uncle Bernac. Estimated at $30,000-$40,000, it traded hands at $34,000 ($42,500 with buyer’s premium). The lot included the complete manuscript as published in the original serialization and is also known by its provisional title Boulogne. A Memory of the Empire.

Also on offer was a copy of Doyle’s The Lost World, complete with its virtually unobtainable original dust jacket. Originally published in London by Hodder and Stoughton on October 15th, 1912, this example was the first English trade edition, featuring the iconic image of Arthur Conan Doyle disguised as Professor Challenger on its dust jacket. This exact copy was the only one to ever appear at auction in the past; it was previously sold through Swann Galleries on June 20, 2013 and via Sotheby’s London on October 20, 2016. Estimated at $8,000-$10,000, the book hammered for $10,000 ($12,000 with buyer’s premium).

Demand for Jeremy Brett-related memorabilia continues to be strong. Brett (1933-1995) is best remembered for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on British television. Coming directly from his estate was a pair of photo albums featuring Brett as Holmes and in other roles, including 80 behind-the-scenes shots from the TV series. Estimated at just $150-$250, it hammered for $5,500 ($6,600 with buyer’s premium).

In addition, an archive of 40 audio cassettes of Jeremy Brett’s performances, commercials, interviews, and more was estimated at $100-$200 and scored $3,000 ($3,600 with buyer’s premium), Made in England in the 1980s and 1990s, they were primarily 90-minute cassettes with hand-written captions in an unknown hand on inserts.

Two top-tier American brilliant cut glass collections unite at Woody March 16

ABCG round tray signed Hawkes panel pattern, estimated at $4,000-$8,000 at Woody.

DOUGLASS, Kan. — Not one but two outstanding husband-and-wife lifetime collections of American brilliant cut glass will head to market in a show of force at Woody Auction on Saturday, March 16. The complete catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Amazingly, the two collections are well known, as they represent two different former presidents of the American Cut Glass Association — Wilbur and the late Mary Bluhm, and Leon and Carol Torline. In all, 350 choice lots are headed to market in what is certain to be a major event in the ABCG community.

The sale’s highest-estimated lot is a magnificent three-handled ABCG centerpiece in the Crystal City pattern (also known as Wedding Ring), designed and executed by J. Hoare. It features a sterling silver rim with winged serpent handles and feet, and is well known in the ABCG community, having appeared in numerous books and publications. Originally in the Tom and Mildred Jacks collection, the centerpiece carries an estimate of $20,000-$25,000.

Hailing from the Bill Atzenhoffer estate is this ABCG round tray in the Arabian II pattern and signed Egginton. Measuring 14in in diameter, this is a fantastic example with no identified flaws. It is estimated at $5,000-$8,000.

Another round tray, this one measuring 10.25in in diameter, is a signed Hawkes panel pattern. Examination reveals good fluorescence under black light, and an extra clear blank with good signature. From the Wilbur And Mary Bluhm collection, the tray is estimated at $4,000-$8,000.

And yes, a third round tray in American brilliant cut glass is a sale leader. Signed Hawkes Willow Pattern and measuring 9.75in in diameter, the design is also known as Latttice and Rosette. After testing, Woody Auction discovered this Wilbur and Mary Bluhm tray did not fluoresce under black light. However, the house still believes in the piece’s authenticity, leading to a $3,000-$6,000 estimate.

Georg Jensen flatware sets add polish to World Auction Gallery March 10

Georg Jensen Denmark Acorn sterling silverware set, estimated at $8,000-$10,000 at World Auction Gallery.

EAST MEADOW, NY — Two Georg Jensen sterling silverware sets from Long Island homes are key lots at World Auction Gallery on Sunday, March 10 in its Exceptional Late Winter Estate Auction. The catalog is now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

The one with the highest estimate — at $8,000-$10,000 — is a Georg Jensen Denmark Acorn sterling silverware set. Coming in at 343 total pieces, the lot notes describe the set as being in “excellent” condition and complete with a “beautiful fitted box.” Total measurable silver weight is 12,034.0 grams or 386.72 troy ounces. The set includes:

  • 36 Dinner Knives
  • 24 Butter Knives
  • 12 Dinner Forks
  • 24 Salad Forks
  • 48 Cake Forks
  • 24 Oyster Forks
  • 12 Dinner Spoons
  • 16 Soup Spoons
  • 12 Long Spoons
  • 38 Tea Spoons
  • 20 Coffee Spoons
  • 21 Mocha Spoons
  • 23 Grapefruit Spoons
  • One Sugar Tong
  • 32 Assorted Serving Utensils

Following close behind is a Georg Jensen Denmark Cactus sterling silverware set. Comprised of 111 pieces, its weighable silver totals 4314.5 grams or 138.7 troy ounces. The set includes:

  • 12 Dinner Forks
  • 25 Salad Forks
  • 12 Dinner Spoons
  • 13 Ice Cream Spoons
  • 10 Coffee Spoons
  • Six Dinner Knives
  • 13 Butter Knives
  • 13 Silver Serving Utensils
  • Seven Silver-Handled Serving Utensils

With its condition described by World Auction Gallery as “generally very good,” the set is estimated at $4,000-$6,000.