MERIDEN, Conn. – A pair of rare cloisonné vases abandoned due to unpaid storage fees in Oxford, Conn., set a new auction house record when they sold for $52,900 at Nest Egg Auctions Jan. 30.
According to auctioneer Ryan Brechlin, the gavel price for the lotus blossom vases turned out to be a bit of a pleasant surprise. “They were in with more than 25 storage vaults from a Greenwich home.” Brechlin said, “Our early estimates for the pair were that they might sell for a couple thousand.”
Nest Egg Auctions had been contracted by Joyce Van Lines of Oxford to sell the contents of the vaults to satisfy storage liens on nearly $50,000 in unpaid fees. “It’s one of those contracts where we just sell what comes out of the vaults,” Brechlin added. “You never know what might be in there.”
When the vases came up for sale, the auction took on an international flair as a phone bidder telephoned in from London, some five time zones away where it was midnight. In the crowded auction hall a southern Connecticut buyer, who had closely examined the vases during the preview period, signaled his intention to make the vases his. Cloisonné is an ancient technique for detailing metal objects. Shapes are outlined on the metal base with gold or silver wires. Colored enamel powder paste is carefully worked into the spaces and the object fired in a kiln.
Brechlin opened the bidding at $300 and the price soared, moving quickly as he shifted to $50, then $100, and then $500 bid points. Both the Connecticut buyer and the man in London showed no sign of dropping out. Bid points went to $1,000 and finally to $2,000 until the vases were sold to the live bidder at $46,000 plus $6,900 buyer’s premium.
The crowd, many who had been holding their breath as the bidding soared higher, gave a standing ovation and cheered as he brought the gavel down on the sale.
“That’s the highest price for a single item this company has had at live auction,” Brechlin said, noting other items in sealed-bid auctions have sold for more.
Nest Egg Auctions is a family-owned auction gallery and retail antique store offering a variety of services to the antique trade. They operate regular Monday night auctions, fine antiques auctions and specialty sales. For more information visit www.nesteggauctions.com or call 203-630-1400.
Photo courtesy Nest Egg Auctions.
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