MOUNT CRAWFORD, Va.—On Sept. 26 Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates in Mount Crawford, Va., conducted an Early Glass and Lighting cataloged auction, which featured the Lyn and Gordon Layton collection of 19th century pillar molded and related wares as Session No. 1. Auctioneer Jeff Evans opened the first lot for bidding at 9:30 a.m. and in just under nine hours, all 922 lots from both sessions had been sold, an average selling rate of 105 lots per hour.
The Laytons, who have been operating in Paris, Ky., as Loch Lea Antiques for more than 30 years, have collected pillar-molded glass for most of that time. The long and exciting hunt for this one particular style of glass afforded the couple “a tremendous amount of pleasure” and they hope that the “next caretakers enjoy it half as much as we have.” The Layton collection included 70 colored examples and many pieces with significant provenances. The top lot from this landmark collection was a 10 1/4-inch tall colorless pillar-molded vase with applied blue ribs that had been exhibited at the Huntington (W.Va.) Museum of Art in 1993 and at the Speed Art Museum in 2004. The circa 1850-1870 vase, also identified as a celery glass, sold to an in-house bidder for $8,050 (all prices include the 15 percent buyer’s premium). Other choice Layton pillar-molded pieces, all circa 1840-1880, included a pair of 10 ½-inch high tulip vases in brilliant amethyst that were formerly in the William J. Elsholz collection ($6,325), a powder blue opalescent 9 1/2-inch tall vase with extravagant and well-preserved gilt decoration ($3,737), an 8 5/8-inch tall vase in brilliant sapphire blue that was also ex-Elsholz ($4,312), a 9 /12-inch high cobalt blue pint-size syrup can ($2,990), and a pair of 12-inch high colorless candlesticks with elongated teardrop stems ($4,312).
Fifteen lots of pillar-molded bar decanters made from 1850-1890 were offered in a variety of different colors including blue, cobalt, amethyst, ruby, and puce, with four performing especially well. A 10 1/4-inch high quart-sized amethyst decanter brought $2,415, as did a sapphire blue pint-sized example that was just ¼ inch taller, and a quart-sized decanter in deep steel blue, one of the tallest at 12 inches high, sold for $3,335. The best selling of the group was a seldom-offered canary-tinted, fiery opalescent example. The unusual color combined with the fact that it had been exhibited at the Huntington (W.Va.) Museum of Art in 1993 helped this decanter’s final price reach $3,450.
An additional 755 lots of early glass and lighting immediately followed as Session No. 2, and before the sale was two hours old, Evans had auctioned off the first non-Layton piece, another pillar-molded quart-size bar decanter. This 9 7/8-inch tall example had been acquired earlier in the year at an antiques mall for a nominal sum, and its unusual color combination created a lot of pre-auction interest. With a black amethyst lip and neck ring setting off its creamy opaque white form, this little gem had six telephone bidders waiting to do battle, with one ultimately successful at $6,900. Two very different articles that each brought $3,737 were a 3 ½-inch tall free-blown toy candlestick and an Early American Pattern Glass beverage dispenser that at 21 inches high overall, was six times the height of the toy piece. The circa 1850-1890 aquamarine candlestick had only recently been discovered in Pennsylvania, and the 1865-1875 Boston & Sandwich Glass Co. EAPG dispenser in the Magnet & Grape with Frosted Leaf pattern, retained its original brass spigot and tulip-form open-top stopper. Two similar beverage dispensers are currently in museum collections.
Three colored pressed Loop pieces that were manufactured from 1840-1870 commanded good prices, including a 5-inch tall, 7 3/8-inch diameter nappie on a free-blown base in deep plum purple ($4,025), a pair of 10 1/4-inch and 10 1/2-inch tall vases in deep peacock green ($4,312), and a single 9 ¾-inch tall peacock green vase ($3,450). Two other notable lots were a 4 5/8-inch tall pressed Sandwich Glass Chained Bear pomade jar in translucent starch blue that despite some chips still brought $2,990, and a 7-inch high free-blown and pressed whale oil lamp with sapphire font and colorless base ($3,105).
Lacy pressed glass salt cellars from the 19th century have historically been a very popular auction category for Jeff Evans. The manageable small size and wide array of possible patterns and colors make this an ideal form for collectors of early glass. More than 100 lots of pressed salts were offered for sale, most manufactured between 1830 and 1850, and the heavy competition resulted in several standout pieces. The two highest achievers were both BT-2 “Pittsburgh” Steamboat salts attributed to the Pittsburgh, Pa., Stourbridge Flint Glass Works, one in medium to dark blue ($7,475) and a purple blue example ($5,175). Other top selling colored glass salts included an amethyst OL-14 Star in Diamond ($4,312), an LE-3 Lyre in opalescent medium blue ($3,105), a deep purple blue SL-14 Shell and Hairpin ($4,887), a BF-1F Basket of Flowers pressed salt in opaque violet blue with slight mottling ($3,220), and a deep cobalt blue DI-17 (B) Divided example ($3,105). Two colorless salts that sold very well were a CD-1 Peacock Eye, the only covered salt offered, and an HL-4 “H. Clay” Steam Locomotive. Despite a crack in the cover, the seldom-seen Peacock Eye still reached $2,185, and according to the catalog, the HL-4 “H. Clay,” which brought $2,645, was the “first intact specimen of this salt” that Evans has ever sold.
Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates has contracted with Artfact Live to provide access to Internet bidders around the world. At www.artfact.com, those with appropriate Internet capability can follow the bidding in real time and approved bidders can bid “live” with the click of a button.
Auction catalogs are generally online-only, posted on the firm’s Web site and on Artfact, although occasionally a special collection or sale will warrant a full color softbound catalog as in the case of the recent Layton collection. Once the catalog is posted online, registered bidders place absentee bids through the firm’s Web site using the absentee bidding platform powered by Auction Flex.
The Auction Flex bidder registration process involves selecting a unique user name and password that can also be used for subsequent auctions. Bidders may choose to receive e-mailed confirmation of each bid placed as well as outbid notifications. Artfact Live also provides an absentee bidding option with a 3 percent online transaction fee added to each lot won.
The next sale at Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates is the Nov. 14, 2009, cataloged auction of Americana, Fine Antiques & Decorative Arts featuring Virginia and the South. The online-only catalog will be posted at www.jeffreysevans.com and on Artfact.com, the week of Nov. 2.
Photos courtesy Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates.
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