PITTSFIELD, MASS. — Three Tiffany Studios lamps topped the $100,000 mark at Fontaine’s Auction Gallery on February 5 in a sale that exceeded $2 million. The Tiffany trio shined brightest, but they were not the only lots that triumphed. The fine art and furniture categories performed admirably as well.
Tiffany lighting claimed six out of the top 10 spots in the auction. The top lot was a Curtain Border leaded glass and patinated bronze floor lamp that attained $181,250, and was one of a few the auctioneer has dared to describe as “in excellent condition.”
Another floor lamp star crossed the block an hour or two later: a Byzantine floor lamp that took $115,625. Rounding out the Tiffany trifecta of six-figure lots was a circa-1905 Nasturtium table lamp with a 20in diameter shade that was signed twice. It sold for $109,375. Another Tiffany lighting standout was a pair of sconces with favrile glass Pulled Feather shades, which was more modestly priced but still doubled its high estimate at $26,875. The sale had more than 90 items with the word “Tiffany” in the lot titles.
“The best Tiffany Studios lamps combine brand name, historic significance, superior craftmanship and gorgeous design so we are very pleased to have three such wonderful examples, but this auction was much more than just Tiffany,” said John Fontaine, owner of Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. “We had a great variety of fine items in almost every collecting category and were able to attract a diverse group of buyers.”
Besides Tiffany Studios lamps, the auction featured a selection of leaded glass lamps from other makers, including a John Morgan & Sons Pansy table lamp that took $23,750 and also a Handel Underwater and Mermaid table lamp with a reverse painted glass shade that realized $20,000.
Fine art offerings were small but select, designed to appeal to discerning tastes. The sale leader was a Giambologna bronze sculpture of Aphrodite, Goddess of the Sea, which achieved $53,750.
It’s fashionable to believe that so-called “brown furniture” doesn’t sell well, but great wooden pieces can achieve high sums. Among the lots posting strong results in the February 5 auction was a late 19th-century Hertz Brothers figural carved oak banquet table decorated with four winged maidens and signed with the firm’s label. The table, which included eight leaves, went for $35,000.
Several lots far outstripped their presale estimates. They included a Tiffany Studios-style Cobweb table lamp that more than tripled its high estimate to sell for $24,375; an early 20th-century American plated and leaded glass landscape window with orchids that grew past its $2,500-$3,500 estimate to go out at $20,000; and a set of six American Victorian gilt bronze and glass curtain tie backs in the form of flowers. Estimated at $600-$800, the set attained $9,375. Still another lot that crushed its estimate was a circa-1900 signed George Ohr glazed earthenware vase, which was estimated at $800-$1,200 and soared to $26,250.
Fontaine’s is actively seeking quality items for all upcoming auctions. To consign, call 413-448-8922 and ask to speak with John Fontaine, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the company and the upcoming auction schedule, visit www.fontainesauction.com.
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