DENVER, Pa. – Without exception, every Morphy Auctions event features outstanding and fresh-to-market collections, but there’s one sale that consistently wins the auction-gallery beauty contest: their annual pre-Christmas Fine & Decorative Arts Auction. For this particular sale, which ushers in the holiday season, Morphy’s gallery is at its shining best, showcasing exquisite, connoisseur-level examples of antique and vintage rarities.
Featured: Rare Tiffany lamps, fantasy-themed Amphora pottery, 5.79-carat platinum diamond ring, important “flown” Omega Speedmaster Mir 365 chronograph wristwatch
This year’s edition, which will be held on December 8, 9 and 10 with absentee and Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers, includes fabulous Tiffany lamps, over 100 pieces of art glass, 200+ pieces of high-quality silver, 50+ bronzes, coins, furniture, fine art, antique canes, and an incomparable array of more than 150 pieces of art pottery, including exotic Amphora. In addition, more than 200 lots of magnificent jewelry and important watches will cross the auction block, offering excellent gift-buying opportunities for even the most selective buyers.
The auction opens with 121 lots of highly desirable Amphora pottery created in the Turn-Teplitz region of Bohemia from 1892 into the first decade of the 20th century. “The pieces in our December auction were created during the golden era of Amphora, when their designers included Eduard Stellmacher and Paul Dachsel, and a team of skilled decorators supplied the imaginative, fantasy-based artistry that makes Amphora so distinctive,” said Dan Morphy, president of Morphy Auctions.
A premier Amphora lot is the monumental (21½ in) “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. It bears both an RSTK and Amphora oval mark, as well as impressed numerals. The piece is illustrated in Byron Vreeland’s reference Monsters and Maidens: Collectors Edition and comes to auction with an $18,000-$24,000 estimate. In addition to Amphora, several other pottery manufacturers are represented, including Van Briggle, Royal Bayreuth, Rookwood, Weller and Roseville.
More than 175 stained- and leaded-glass lamps will be offered, including 81 coveted Tiffany Studios productions. Leading the group is a circa-1910 Tiffany Studios “Peony” leaded-glass table lamp (shown at top of page) that displays a most unusual design. Its colorful 22-inch shade, with its medley of peonies in shades of red, pink and magenta, rests upon a six-socket “Chase Pod” base whose telescopic design allows the lamp to be raised or lowered. Signed on both the shade and base, it is estimated at $100,000-$150,000.
Another Tiffany highlight is a leaded, stained-glass and bronze “drophead” table lamp in the Dragonfly pattern. The edge of the shade is encircled with dragonflies, each having a different-colored body and all with jeweled eyes. The shade is signed, as is the base, which is identical to one shown in the Alastair Duncan reference Tiffany Lamps and Metalware, New Edition Fully Revised and Extended: An Illustrated Reference to Over 2000 Models. Morphy’s has placed a $100,000-$125,000 estimate on the Dragonfly lamp in their sale.
The revered Tiffany name dominates the silver category, as well, in the form of tea and coffee services, bowls, serving trays, compotes, candlesticks and elegant flatware. An 1892 sterling tea and coffee service in the Chrysanthemum pattern weighs 485ozt and could command $30,000-$40,000; while an appealing hammered silver and mixed-metals pitcher with applied silver and copper swimming fish is aiming for high waters with its $45,000-$60,000 estimate.
Hens and peeps are expected to make a noise on auction day, and that can only mean one thing: paintings by the enduring Reading, Pennsylvania artist Ben Austrian (1870-1921). Austrian was a versatile talent who drew effusive praise from art critics, but it is his paintings of chicks – including the long-running logo for the Bon Ami company – that captured the public’s imagination. The auction includes two Ben Austrian oils, including his 1898 work Nine Chicks and a Shoe. Artist-signed, the 16-by-24-inch work could sell in the $8,000-$12,000 range.
Good things come in small packages, and that is never a more accurate statement than at Morphy’s sales featuring fine jewelry. More than 200 lots of superior-quality jewelry and watches are showcased in the Thursday, December 10 session.
A showstopping ladies platinum diamond ring with a total diamond weight of 5.79 carats and gross weight of 10.3 grams consists of a 4.2ct round brilliant-cut diamond, F color/VVS2 clarity; and two round brilliant-cut side diamonds with a total estimated weight of 1.50 carats, graded E/F color and VVS clarity. The ring is marked DC PLAT inside the shank. Accompanied by its original 1969 GIA Diamond Report, it comes to auction with a $100,000-$150,000 estimate.
Another gorgeous design, a dual-purpose 18K white gold natural blue star sapphire surrounded by diamonds can be worn either as a ring or pendant. The dazzling double-cabochon sapphire has an estimated weight of 90 carats, while the 67 round, brilliant-cut diamonds have an estimated total weight of 3.50 carats. The piece’s gross weight is 35.2 grams. Estimate $60,000-$120,000
Perhaps the ultimate stocking stuffer is a stunning Victorian heart-shape brooch featuring at its center a natural blue pear-shape sapphire weighing a hefty 5.52 carats. It is framed by 15 mixed old mine-cut cushion diamonds and is topped with a flowing bow set with 15 smaller diamonds. Accompanied by its original AGL Colored Stone Certificate, this very special antique piece is estimated at $60,000-$120,000.
Twenty-four wristwatches and 34 pocket watches are counting the minutes until they take the spotlight at Morphy’s. Among the prestigious brands in this grouping are Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Universal Geneve Film Compax, Tiffany and Omega. An out-of-this-world Omega Speedmaster Mir 365 stainless steel chronograph wristwatch is #11 of only 28 such watches that were “flown” for 365 days aboard the Mir Space Station (July 1993 to July 1994), then offered for sale in 1995. Accompanied by its original box, full set of accessories, and papers, this extremely rare timepiece is offered with a pre-sale estimate of $100,000-$200,000.
Each session of Morphy’s December 8-10, 2020 Fine & Decorative Arts Auction will start at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers. For additional information on any item in the sale, call 877-968-8880 or email email@example.com.
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