Rare Sphinx lamp reveals its true value at Coker auction

Image courtesy of John W. Coker

Image courtesy of John W. Coker

NEW MARKET, Tenn. – “From day one, I thought it might end up being the top lot, and that’s exactly what happened,” said Tennessee auctioneer John W. Coker, describing a cameo-glass Sphinx lamp in his Oct. 18 onsite sale.

One of 19 reverse-painted and scenic glass lamps from the estate of the late Elizabeth and Donald Bates of Seymour, Tennessee, the lamp was impossible to miss, either at the preview or in the LiveAuctioneers online catalog. Atop its finely formed bronze-on-marble base replicating an elephant was a domed shade executed in vibrant shades of orange, yellow and terra cotta, with the central figure being the Great Sphinx of Giza. In its background and encircling the shade were pyramids and an Egyptian village at sunset, amid towering palms and other trees.

The 18-inch-tall lamp was signed “Arsall” on its shade, referring to a French manufacturer best known for its designs of the first quarter of the 20th century.

Coker cataloged the lamp with a conservative $1,000-$2,000 estimate. “It’s a rare lamp. I knew the collectors would decide the value,” Coker said.

Bidding was fierce from the get-go, with absentee bids quickly upping the ante to $5,500. From that point forward, there was no stopping the rapid-fire action. “Internet – floor – Internet – phone – it was back and forth, going nowhere but up,” Coker said.

It finally boiled down to a LiveAuctioneers bidder against a participant on the floor. With the 70th bid, the onsite competitor prevailed, paying $19,200 (inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium).

“The buyer was a private collector from the South who had known about this lamp for more than thirty-five years,” said Coker. “She had actually seen it in the Bates’ home in Pigeon Forge (Tenn.) when she lived there, and had always wanted it. But the Bateses, who were lifelong antique dealers, would never sell it. It was the first lamp they had ever purchased for their own collection, and even dealers have things they prefer to keep and live with.”

To contact John W. Coker, tel. 865-475-5163 or email john@antiquesonline.com. Visit the company’s website at www.antiquesonline.com.

View the fully illustrated catalog from John W. Coker’s Oct. 18, 2014 auction, complete with prices realized, online at https://www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/61812_elizabeth-bates-estate-on-premises-auction/page1

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Image courtesy of John W. Coker

Image courtesy of John W. Coker

Image courtesy of John W. Coker

Image courtesy of John W. Coker

Image courtesy of John W. Coker

Image courtesy of John W. Coker

Image courtesy of John W. Coker

Image courtesy of John W. Coker