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William Morris, Beetles with Flora glass vase, which sold for $310,000 ($406,100 with buyer’s premium) at Rago.

Rago posts $406K world record for a William Morris glass vase

LAMBERTVILLE, NJ — On May 17, Rago achieved a new world record for American glass artist William Morris (b. 1957-) with a $310,000 hammer ($406,100 with buyer’s premium) for Beetles with Flora, a hand-blown glass vase from the artist’s Native Species series. The hammer price was far beyond the estimate of $30,000-$50,000. Full results for the sale can be seen at LiveAuctioneers.

Morris’ previous record was set in 2013 by Sable Antelope, a 1995 canopic jar with a figural antelope head, all from blown glass. Bonhams achieved $290,500 (including buyer’s premium) for the work, more than triple its estimate.

Trained under legendary glass artist Dale Chihuly, Morris carved his own niche in art glass by creating works that resemble ancient or antique objects. He brings history and a bit of nature to everything he designs.

Morris retired in 2007 to homes in Washington and Hawaii, making the 1999 work Beetles with Flora all the more desirable to collectors. Bidding began at $22,000 but steadily rose until it reached the $310,000 sum. The vase was far and away the top lot at Rago’s Contemporary Glass sale.