Woody Auctions wows the ABCG world with $132K centerpiece

J. Hoare three-handled American brilliant cut glass centerpiece with sterling silver mounts, $110,000 at Woody Auction. The winner looks to be a LiveAuctioneers bidder, and 86 people were watching the sale.

DOUGLASS, Kan. – It was, said Woody Auctions, an “exceptionally rare opportunity to add an outstanding one-of-a-kind-piece to your collection.” And one very eager bidder did not let that opportunity go. At the firm’s Presidential Auction Weekend on March 16, an American brilliant cut glass (ABCG) centerpiece set in elaborate sterling silver mounts soared past its estimate of $20,000-$25,000 to bring $110,000 ($132,000 with buyer’s premium). The winner was a LiveAuctioneers bidder.

This 14.5in bowl is well known in collecting circles and has been featured in many publications, including Jane Shadel Spillman’s 1999 book The American Cut Glass Industry: T.G. Hawkes and His Competitors. The glass element, cut with the design variously known as the Crystal City or the Wedding Ring pattern, is by J. Hoare & Co., the Corning, New York firm established by the Cork, Ireland glasscutter John Hoare in the 1860s. Although the winged serpents are mounts are marked only ‘Sterling’, the firm worked with both Tiffany and the Gorham Manufacturing Company.

The bowl, consigned in near-perfect condition, save for a small pattern chip, had provenance to the collection of respected members of the American Cut Glass Association, the late Tom and Mildred Jacks.

For three decades before the First World War, American brilliant cut glass was perhaps the finest in the world. Fighting the prejudice that claimed that the best glass was made in Europe, American companies steadily earned their stripes at a succession of international exhibitions. In 1893, J. Hoare & Co. entered a punch bowl into the Chicago World’s Fair; it took two months to make and weighed 70 pounds. The bowl won several medals for its quality and artistic design.

Two top-tier American brilliant cut glass collections unite at Woody March 16

ABCG round tray signed Hawkes panel pattern, estimated at $4,000-$8,000 at Woody.

DOUGLASS, Kan. — Not one but two outstanding husband-and-wife lifetime collections of American brilliant cut glass will head to market in a show of force at Woody Auction on Saturday, March 16. The complete catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Amazingly, the two collections are well known, as they represent two different former presidents of the American Cut Glass Association — Wilbur and the late Mary Bluhm, and Leon and Carol Torline. In all, 350 choice lots are headed to market in what is certain to be a major event in the ABCG community.

The sale’s highest-estimated lot is a magnificent three-handled ABCG centerpiece in the Crystal City pattern (also known as Wedding Ring), designed and executed by J. Hoare. It features a sterling silver rim with winged serpent handles and feet, and is well known in the ABCG community, having appeared in numerous books and publications. Originally in the Tom and Mildred Jacks collection, the centerpiece carries an estimate of $20,000-$25,000.

Hailing from the Bill Atzenhoffer estate is this ABCG round tray in the Arabian II pattern and signed Egginton. Measuring 14in in diameter, this is a fantastic example with no identified flaws. It is estimated at $5,000-$8,000.

Another round tray, this one measuring 10.25in in diameter, is a signed Hawkes panel pattern. Examination reveals good fluorescence under black light, and an extra clear blank with good signature. From the Wilbur And Mary Bluhm collection, the tray is estimated at $4,000-$8,000.

And yes, a third round tray in American brilliant cut glass is a sale leader. Signed Hawkes Willow Pattern and measuring 9.75in in diameter, the design is also known as Latttice and Rosette. After testing, Woody Auction discovered this Wilbur and Mary Bluhm tray did not fluoresce under black light. However, the house still believes in the piece’s authenticity, leading to a $3,000-$6,000 estimate.

Tony Bennett portrait of Frank Sinatra leads our five lots to watch

Tony Bennett’s portrait of a young Frank Sinatra, estimated at $10,000-$20,000 at Regency Auction House.

Tony Bennett Portrait of Frank Sinatra

ROCKAWAY, N.J. – Anthony Dominick Benedetto – best known as Tony Bennett (1926-2023) – enjoyed one of the most remarkable and lengthy careers of any American musical artist, achieving his first hit record in 1951 with Because of You, which sat at number one on the pop charts for an astounding 10 weeks. His final release, a duet album with Lady Gaga, Love For Sale, hit the charts in 2021, when he was 95 years of age. In all, Bennett won 20 Grammy Awards and innumerable other accolades throughout his more than 70 years in the business.

As a young boy, Bennett often sang, including doing a number as a 10-year-old for the opening of the Triborough Bridge in 1934 while standing next to New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, who patted him on the head in admiration for his performance. He sang while in the United States Army in World War II, as his division pushed German forces back across the Rhine and onward until VE Day in spring of 1945.

After his discharge from the Army in 1946, Bennett continued to perform wherever he could, including as a singing waiter. His first big break came when he caught the attention of Pearl Bailey, who invited him to open her show in New York. Bob Hope was in the audience, and he immediately signed Bennett to perform as part of his road shows, but insisted he rename himself ‘Tony Bennett.’ And the legend was born.

Bennett had been warned in 1951 by Columbia Records chief Mitch Miller to avoid sounding like Sinatra, so he instead focused on crooning pop songs, which later would transform into more jazz-like compositions. This lingering admonition must have affected Bennett when he created this portrait of a 1940s-era Frank Sinatra. Captured in his eternal youthful pose when he was driving an entire generation of bobby-soxers insane with his voice, the rendition of Sinatra is signed ‘Benedetto’, which the singer used as a signature on all his artworks.

The undated portrait comes to market at Regency Auction House on Tuesday, February 13 as part of its Mid-Century Modern sale. No provenance is provided, and Benedetto paintings in the market are more common than one might think, ranging wildly in value. Regency has estimated the Sinatra painting at $10,000-$20,000, so the winning bidder will be leaving a lot more than their heart in San Francisco to take this original home.

Rainbow American Brilliant Cut Glass Decanter

Rainbow American Brilliant Cut Glass decanter, estimated at $7,500-$9,500 at CriticalGlass.com.
Rainbow American Brilliant Cut Glass decanter, estimated at $7,500-$9,500 at CriticalGlass.com.Rainbow American Brilliant Cut Glass decanter, estimated at $7,500-$9,500 at CriticalGlass.com.

ATLANTA – CriticalGlass.com is a relatively new seller in the cut glass space, but judging from its recent auctions, its team has deep connections to high-end collections and has been successful in convincing collectors now is the time to bring certain pieces to market.

That must have been the case when this rainbow American Brilliant Cut Glass (ABCG) decanter came to the house’s attention. Measuring 13.5in high by 6in in diameter, this stunning example of cutting and light control almost defied explanation by superlative. Fortunately, CriticalGlass.com catalogers rose to the occasion:

Rainbow glass is perhaps the rarest of color combinations from the period, but large pieces like this decanter are hardly ever seen. And to top it all off, it’s American! This piece features such good color distinction that you can even see all 3 colors passing through a couple of the hobstars. Even more so, the neck is fully colored and fluted dividing up the colors perfectly – incredible control. This is a one-off piece and one of the rarest pieces of rainbow to ever be made.

Coming to market Saturday, February 17 as part of its initial 2024 schedule and only its eighth auction ever, CriticalGlass.com estimates the rainbow ABCG decanter at $7,500-$9,500.

‘Nude Study’ by Julien Vallou de Villeneuve

‘Nude Study’ by Julien Vallou de Villeneuve, estimated at $2,000-$3,000 at Heritage Auctions.
‘Nude Study’ by Julien Vallou de Villeneuve, estimated at $2,000-$3,000 at Heritage Auctions.

DALLAS – Not long after the invention of photography was the invention of the photographic nude. French artist Julien Vallou de Villeneuve (1795-1866), who took up the new medium in 1842 as an adjunct and aid to his graphic work, was among the first to produce such ‘academic studies’. He opened a studio in Paris in 1850 and found a ready market for ‘Etudes d’apres nature’ sold as salted paper prints from paper negatives.

This example, titled simply Nude Study, dates from circa 1853. It carries an estimate of $2,000-$3,000 as part of the sale Depth of Field: The Body Photographed at Heritage Auctions on Wednesday, February 14. Perfect for Valentine’s Day?

Hubley Ferris Wheel Mechanical Bank

Hubley Ferris Wheel mechanical bank, estimated at $4,000-$6,000 at Alderfer Auctions.
Hubley Ferris Wheel mechanical bank, estimated at $4,000-$6,000 at Alderfer Auctions.

HATFIELD, Penn. – Hubley is one of the great names in American toymaking, though it lives in the shadows of other, more prominent manufacturers such as Louis Marx & Co. The Lancaster, Pennsylvania company was founded in 1894 by John Hubley and soon released a line of cast-iron playthings that would become highly sought-after collectibles in the decades to follow.

The Hubley Ferris wheel debuted circa 1906 and featured cast-iron construction and a wind-up (clockwork) chain-driven mechanism to turn the wheel. It faded in and out of the Hubley line, then reappeared around 1930 with a mechanical bank angle. Mounted on a cast-iron base with the words Ferris Wheel Bank in gilt-relief on its base, the clockwork mechanism was hidden in the base-coin box and could be activated with the drop of a coin.

This is the rarest and most desirable version of any Hubley Ferris Wheel, far more valuable than the standard Ferris Wheel variants that can sell for as little as a few hundred dollars. Alderfer Auction has a prime example in its upcoming Mechanical Banks and Toys sale scheduled for Tuesday, February 13. In largely original condition with minor repainting and a repaired but original key that still winds the clockwork mechanism, the mechanical bank has an estimate of $4,000-$6,000.

1903 Letter from Pablo Picasso to Max Jacob

Four-page letter with sketches by Pablo Picasso, sent to his roommate and friend Max Jacob in 1903, estimated at €500,000-€800,000 ($539,915-$863,865) at Piasa.
Four-page letter with sketches by Pablo Picasso, sent to his roommate and friend Max Jacob in 1903, estimated at €500,000-€800,000 ($539,915-$863,865) at Piasa.

PARIS – Max Pellequer (1903-1973) was a French banker and businessman who early in the 20th century began to collect works from Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Raoul Dufy, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, and many others. But it was his association and friendship with Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) that placed Pellequer’s name into the art world for all time. In the 1920s, he began collecting Picasso works, and ultimately became Picasso’s business advisor, acquiring many Picasso-related items during his lifetime.

One such item is a 1903 letter from Picasso to his friend and roommate Max Jacob, who would become Picasso’s first supporter. In the letter, Picasso writes “If I can work here I’ll stay but if I see that I cannot do anything I’ll get the hell out for Paris.”

“This drawing I’m sending you in the first page is a sketch for paintings I made,” Picasso explains, before asking: “You will write often, no Farewell mi old Max. Kisses. Your brother Picasso.”

The letter is accompanied by four extraordinary drawings, including a study for hands, a woman with arms extended, and an embracing couple who served as a study for the paintings Repas frugal and Pauvre couple dans un café.

Piasa is bringing this letter and 50 other lots from the Pellequer collection to market on Thursday, February 15 in a sale titled Pablo Picasso and His Friends. The letter is estimated at €500,000-€800,000 ($539,915-$863,865).

Haviland Limoges porcelain and American cut glass shine at Woody Jan. 6

DOUGLASS, Kan. – A private Colorado collection of Haviland Limoges comes to market at Woody Auction on Saturday, January 6, along with a variety of American cut glass, KPM and more, highlighting the decorative arts mastery of 19th-century artisans. The catalog is now available for bidding in an online-only auction at LiveAuctioneers.

David Haviland was an importer of English porcelain who, upon encountering the fine wares coming out of France, immediately shifted his focus and business model. He began slowly by purchasing porcelain from other manufacturers and having his own Limoges-based artisans decorate and fire them. By the 1860s, his operation was fully capable and was producing some of the finest French porcelain of the 19th century.

As the 19th president of the United States, serving from 1877-1881, Rutherford B. Hayes placed what was at the time the most expensive order for White House state dinner service porcelain, choosing Haviland as the preferred vendor. This incredible fish platter, featuring the presidential seal of the era, is “one of the rarest Haviland items” ever encountered by the auctioneer. The platter is estimated at $5,000-$8,000.

Signed by artist Edouard Sandoz and marked for Haviland Limoges, this duck or pelican-themed tea service set dates to the 1920-1936 period. It has some minor repairs, as noted by the auctioneer, but is in otherwise remarkable condition and considered “very rare” by Woody. It carries an estimate of $1,000-$2,500.

American brilliant cut glass (ABCG) continues to fascinate collectors with its complex artistry. From the same Colorado collection comes this ABCG wine stem featuring a turquoise cut to clear design with a Croesus pattern By J. Hoare. It is estimated at $2,000-$3,000.

Large sets are also included in the sale. A “massive” Bohemian art glass coffee set in the style of Moser is estimated at $750-$1,500, while a Pikard pedestal punch bowl set is also estimated at $750-$1,500.

Abernathy brilliant cut glass collection sparkles at Woody Auction Sept. 9

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DOUGLASS, Kan. – The American brilliant cut glass (ABCG) collection of Nancy and Taylor Abernathy will be offered at Woody Auction on Saturday, September 9. The Tennessee collectors were well-respected members of the American Cut Glass Association and assembled a collection deemed one of the best in both quality and size.

For three decades before the First World War, American brilliant cut glass was perhaps the finest in the world. Fighting the prejudice that claimed the best glass was made in Europe, American companies steadily earned their stripes at a succession of international exhibitions. At the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris, prizes were awarded to the T.G. Hawkes Company of Corning, New York while four years later, at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the Libbey Glass Company of Toledo received two medals.

Signed pieces by both these makers are included in the 377-lot sale with bidding available via LiveAuctioneers.
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American brilliant cut glass Panel & Pillar pattern punch bowl by T.G. Hawkes, estimated at $7,500-$10,000 at Woody Auction.
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American brilliant cut glass Columbia pattern tray by the Libbey Glass Company, estimated at $7,500-$10,000 at Woody Auction.
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American brilliant cut glass Kohinoor pattern ice cream set signed J. Hoare, estimated at $8,000-$12,000 at Woody Auction.
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American brilliant cut glass Stars & Pillars pattern tray by Sinclaire, estimated at $4,000-$6,000 at Woody Auction.
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American brilliant cut glass Waldorf pattern ice cream tray by Clark, estimated at $2,000-$3,000 at Woody Auction.
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American Brilliant Cut Glass adds sparkle to Woody Auction, May 28

Pair of Brilliant Period Cut Glass cologne bottles, est. $750-$1,500
Pair of Brilliant Period Cut Glass cologne bottles, est. $750-$1,500
Pair of Brilliant Period Cut Glass cologne bottles, est. $750-$1,500

DOUGLASS, Kan. – A 436-lot auction featuring a stunning assortment of American Brilliant Cut Glass (ABCG) pieces in a wide array of patterns and makers will be held on Saturday, May 28 by Woody Auction LLC starting at 9:30 am Central time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Unique R.S. Prussia bowl and Regina music box triumph at Woody

Only known example of an R.S. Prussia Spring Season bowl in the Carnation mold, $24,000

 

Left, only known example of an R.S. Prussia Spring Season bowl in the Carnation mold, $24,000; Right, Regina upright music box, $15,400
Left, only known example of an R.S. Prussia Spring Season bowl in the Carnation mold, $24,000; Right, Regina upright mahogany case music box, $15,400

DOUGLASS, Kan. – A Spring Season bowl marked R.S. Prussia soared to $24,000 and a Regina upright music box brought $15,400 at the sale of the lifetime single-owner collection of David and Marlene Howard of Ohio, held March 19 by Woody Auction.

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Single-owner glass collection leads Woody sale, March 19

American Brilliant Cut Glass (ABCG) cranberry cut to clear tankard in the Prism and Fluke pattern, est. $1,500-$3,000
American Brilliant Cut Glass (ABCG) cranberry cut to clear tankard in the Prism and Fluke pattern, est. $1,500-$3,000

DOUGLASS, Kan. – The lifetime single-owner collection of David and Marlene Howard of Ohio – hundreds of quality antiques gathered during many decades of dedicated searching – will be offered on Saturday, March 19, at 9:30 am Central time at Woody Auction. In all, more than 450 lots will be sold. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Brilliant cut glass sparkles at Woody Auction, March 4-5

Bowl in the Wedding Ring pattern by J. Hoare, est. $2,000-$4,000
Bowl in the Wedding Ring pattern by J. Hoare, est. $2,000-$4,000
Bowl in the Wedding Ring pattern by J. Hoare, est. $2,000-$4,000

DOUGLASS, Kan. – An American Brilliant Cut Glass (ABCG) auction will be held Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5 by Woody Auction. The Friday session starts at 5 pm Central time and the Saturday session begins at 9:30 am Central time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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