Luxury watches, jewels and rare Amphora powered Morphy’s $4.3M holiday auction

watches Tiffany

Fine and rare platinum Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar wristwatch, Ref. D34714, with box and papers, purchased new in Paris in 1994. Sold for twice the high estimate at $240,000

DENVER, Pa. – Bidders had a taste for luxury and rarity at Morphy’s lavish Dec. 8-10 pre-Christmas Fine & Decorative Arts Auction, paying above-estimate prices on many of the sale’s premier lots. The $4.3 million event, with Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers, boasted fabulous Tiffany lamps, art glass, high-quality silver, bronzes, coins, fine art, and a formidable array of art pottery, including exotic Amphora. More than 200 lots of magnificent jewelry and important watches attracted the attention of connoisseurs worldwide, with a superb timepiece – a platinum Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar wristwatch, Ref. D34714 – claiming top-lot honors.

Platinum Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar wristwatch doubles high estimate at $240,000; Amphora ‘Spitting-Coin Dragon’ vase roars at $52,800, Tiffany lamp exceeds $100K

Purchased new in Paris in 1994, the automatic “Quantieme Perpetuel Automatique” octagonal wristwatch, hallmarked and featuring moon phases in solid platinum, has a textured blue dial and white gold hands and stick markers. The handsome, substantial watch with a gross weight of 225 grams attracted 17 bids and more than doubled its high estimate, selling at Morphy’s, boxed and with papers, for $240,000.

watches Tiffany

Extremely rare Omega Speedmaster Mir 365 stainless steel chronograph wristwatch, #11 of only 28 such watches ‘flown’ for 365 days aboard Mir Space Station from July 1993-July 1994, then offered for sale in 1995. Accompanied by original box, full set of accessories, documentation. Sold for $96,000

Within the fine-watch collecting community, there are many who pursue examples that have been “flown” in outer space. The auction selection included an extremely rare Omega Speedmaster Mir 365 stainless steel chronograph wristwatch, #11 of only 28 such watches that spent 365 days aboard Mir Space Station from July 1993-July 1994. Following its space odyssey, it was offered for sale, in 1995. Accompanied by its original box, full complement of accessories and relevant documentation, it “changed hands” for $96,000.

watches Tiffany

Platinum natural fancy intense yellow diamond ring with brilliant-cut central diamond of VS1 clarity and weighing 6.11 carats, surrounded by 40 near-colorless round, brilliant-cut diamonds having a total weight of 0.84 carats. Gross weight of ring: 9.3 grams. Sold for $48,000

Women’s jewelry was led by a platinum natural fancy intense yellow diamond ring with a brilliant-cut 6.11-carat central diamond of VS1 clarity, surrounded by 40 near-colorless round, brilliant-cut diamonds weighing 0.84 carats. Perhaps destined to become the ultimate stocking stuffer for some lucky gift recipient, the 9.3-gram ring sold for $48,000.

watches Tiffany

Portrait of child wearing coral necklace, seated on rug with cat and silver baby toys, oil-on-board, 23in x 29in (sight), unsigned, 1840. Sold for $38,400 against an estimate of $800-$1,200

Jewelry might also have played a role in the exceptional price paid for an 1840 American portrait of a child. The 23- by 29-inch (sight) oil-on-board painting charmingly depicts an infant girl in a lacy dress, seated on a rug alongside her black cat, silver rattle and teething ring. With beautiful ginger hair and deep blue eyes, the child wears a nicely detailed double-strand coral necklace with round-bead separators and a gold clasp. Entered with expectations of making $800-$1,200, the portrait drew 51 bids before selling for $38,400 – 32 times the high estimate.

watches Tiffany

Ben Austrian (Reading, Pa., 1870-1921), Hen and Twelve Chicks, oil-on-canvas, 25.5in x 19in, signed, dated 1900. Sold for $14,400 against an estimate of $5,000-$8,000

A signed 1900 oil-on-canvas painting of a mother hen with her 12 chicks by the beloved Reading, Pa., artist Ben Austrian (1870-1921), also found favor, rising to $14,400 against an estimate of $5,000-$8,000.

watches Tiffany

Circa-1910 Tiffany Studios ‘Peony’ leaded-glass table lamp, both 22in shade and telescopic, six-socket ‘Chased Pod’ base are signed. Excellent condition. Sold within estimate for $102,000

More than 175 stained- and leaded-glass lamps were offered, including 81 coveted Tiffany Studios productions. At the forefront was a circa-1910 Tiffany Studios “Peony” leaded-glass lamp with a shade displaying a medley of peonies in shades of red, pink and magenta. Its unusual six-socket “Chase Pod” base was designed with telescopic functionality allowing the lamp to be raised or lowered. The double-signed lamp was bid to $102,000. Among the many other noteworthy Tiffany Studios lamps was a signed example with a bamboo-form base supporting a shade with a striking bamboo motif. It sold above its high estimate for $87,000.

watches Tiffany

Tiffany Studios leaded-glass lamp with signed shade in Bamboo motif with bamboo-form base, 20½ in high. Sold above high estimate for $87,000.

The auction opened with 121 lots of highly desirable Amphora pottery produced in Bohemia from 1892 through the first decade of the 20th century. A piece that had created considerable pre-auction buzz was a monumental (21½-inch) creation known as the “Spitting-Coin Dragon” vase. Its name refers to its quite-literal motif of an applied, extended-wing dragon that appears to spit “coins” into a body of water. Well credentialed with impressed numerals and both RSTK and Amphora oval marks, it also has the distinction of being illustrated in Byron Vreeland’s reference Monsters and Maidens: Collectors Edition. The vase came to auction with an $18,000-$24,000 estimate but had no trouble achieving a stellar $52,800.

watches Tiffany

Monumental Amphora ‘Spitting-Coin Dragon’ vase, 21½ inches, watercolor-decorated body with cream-glaze dragon, RSTK and Amphora oval mark. Illustrated in ‘Monsters and Maidens: Collectors Edition.’ Sold for $52,800 against an estimate of $18,000-$24,000

Alongside the dragon, another creature historically popular in dark lore and fantasy is central to the theme of a 21-inch Amphora vase that more than tripled its high estimate at Morphy’s. With applied and well-detailed openwork bats and berries around the neck and botanical decoration on its body, this eye-catching vessel is similar to one that appears in both the aforementioned Monsters and Maidens and Richard Scott’s reference Ceramics From The House of Amphora 1890-1915. Against an estimate of $10,000-$15,000, it realized $45,600.

watches Tiffany

Amphora Berry Bat vase with applied bats and reticulated, carved bat top and forest-theme decoration, 21in high. Sold for $45,600 against an estimate of $10,000-$15,000

Following the auction, Morphy Auctions’ president, Dan Morphy, commented: “The December Fine and Decorative Arts sale is one of the highlights of our annual auction calendar. It attracts both high-end collectors and shoppers who are looking for luxury items and unusual gifts that can’t be found in stores. We always strive to present a first-class selection for our holiday event, and this time we were rewarded with an outstanding $4.3-million-dollar result. I couldn’t be more pleased, either with the total or the enthusiastic global turnout for this sale.”

To discuss consigning to a future Morphy Auctions Fine & Decorative Arts sale, call 877-968-8880 or email All enquiries will be kept in strictest confidence. Visit Morphy Auctions online at


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