December estates auction will feature fine jewelry, decorative arts

PASADENA, Calif.—John Moran Auctioneers will present fine silver, glass, porcelain, furniture, rugs, clocks, and European paintings as well as their largest and finest offering of jewelry and watches of the year at their two-session Dec. 8, 2009, Antiques and Decorative Arts Auction at the Pasadena, Calif., Convention Center. The 80 lots of jewelry carefully chosen from private collections and estates for the Evening Sale include exceptional quality diamonds and other gemstones, Art Deco jewelry, pieces by Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, and watches by Rolex, Patek Philippe, Tiffany, and LeCoultre. Fresh-to-market and conservatively estimated, the jewels offer an attractive buying opportunity.

The array is led by a platinum ring centering a 5.79-carat pear-shaped diamond of J color and VS1 clarity, flanked by two tapered baguette-cut diamonds. It will be offered with an estimate of $65,000-$75,000. Other diamond pieces include a four-stone diamond ring ($10,000-$15,000), a 3.70-carat heart-shaped diamond ring ($5,500-$7,500), a pair of diamond studs at 1.85 carats each ($10,000-$15,000), a whimsical bird brooch ($2,500-$4,000) and a striking Art Deco platinum ring with an old European-cut diamond weighing 1.51 carats, surrounded by 16 single-cut diamonds, estimated at $4,000-$6,000. Numerous other gemstone pieces, including rubies, sapphires and emeralds, and Art Deco rings, bracelets and pendants will be offered with estimates starting at $500.

The evening’s 150 other lots of fine and decorative arts also include a number of very fine items, highlighted by French items ranging from Louis XIV to Art Nouveau. A pair of Louis XIV ebonized torchères with tortoiseshell and brass premiere-partie marquetry in a foliate design in the manner of André Charles Boulle (1642-1732, French) is offered for $20,000-$30,000. Another example of fine craftsmanship, an early 20th century Louis XV style commode crafted from rare woods with a Breche Violette marble top and ormolu caryatid mounts, is expected to bring $8,000-$12,000. Appropriate accompaniments to this piece and the many other Louis XV and Louis XVI style pieces are a large, early 20th century Sèvres-style cobalt porcelain covered vase with ormolu mounts, possibly by Bloch & Co., Paris, offered at $3,000-$5,000, and a patinated bronze bust of Marie Antoinette signed “E. Aizelain, Sc” (Eugene Antoine Aizelain, 1821-1902, French), offered at $800-$1,200.

French Art Nouveau has historically performed very well at John Moran. December will feature a gilt-bronze-mounted porcelain vase, signed “F. Bellanger” ($3,000-$4,000), and a Daum Nancy glass and metal lamp marked Edgar Brandt is expected to earn $1,800-$2,200. Another piece of Daum Nancy, a richly colored, 23 1/4-inch high cameo art glass vase, is decorated with red-orange lily sprays and yellow-green leaves issuing from an aubergine foot, and carries an estimate of $4,000-$6,000. Glass collectors should also look for the blue L.C. Tiffany Favrile bowl offered for $1,000–$1,500.

Continuing to expand their presence in the modern design market, John Moran will offer fresh from the estate of the original owner a set of 12 walnut low-back dining armchairs by the recently deceased master craftsman Sam Maloof. Signed by Maloof and dated July 1971, these chairs are a re-interpretation of his original 1952 design. As Maloof’s sculptor’s sensibilities grew more refined he often re-worked designs with a more graceful line, while maintaining their utilitarian qualities. The set is estimated at $18,000-$25,000. Also offered are a Frank Lloyd Wright oak side chair reputedly from Los Angeles’s Hollyhock House and a Le Corbusier LC3 style chair and ottoman.

Yet another example of fine craftsmanship is on display in an unusually large Italian micromosaic panel made in the Vatican City workshops, founded in 1576. Depicting a Baroque era man and woman in a wine cellar, the minutely detailed piece is offered for $20,000-$30,000 by the family of the original owner who purchased it from the workshop in the 1950s.

December at John Moran also brings an abundance of sterling silver, including a Buccellati ‘Rigato’ flatware service for eight ($2,500-$3,500), a Towle ‘Old Mirror’ flatware service ($1,500-$2,000), a Gorham ‘Plymouth’ coffee and tea service ($2,000-$2,500), and a set of 12 Kalo plates ($1,200-$1,800). One of the more unusual finds in the sale is a 20th century Christofle silver-plated roast beef wagon of the type used tableside in grand restaurants. It’s expected to bring $5,000-$10,000.

Also on offer will be rugs including Aubusson and Savonnerie style, Ferahan Sarouk, Isfahan and Kirman; bronzes, including Jean-Louis Gregoire’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’, Austrian cold-painted figures and a Tiffany Studios gilt-bronze and enameled ‘Zodiac’ letter rack; and porcelain including Paris, Meissen, K.P.M. and Royal Worcester.

Prior to the fully cataloged Evening Sale, 150 other select items will be offered in the afternoon Discovery Sale, an uncataloged, no-reserve auction of jewelry, silver, porcelain, glass, furniture and California, American and European paintings sold to the floor only.

The Discovery Sale will start at 3 p.m., followed by the fully cataloged Evening Sale at 6:30 p.m. Previewing starts at noon.

All John Moran Auctions are held at the Pasadena Convention Center at 300 East Green St, Pasadena, Calif. A fully illustrated catalog of the evening sale will be available on Moran’s Web site at Bidding for this session is available from the floor, by absentee, phone, and Internet via

For more information about this sale or to consign, please call the offices of John Moran Auctioneers at 626-793-1833 or visit their Web site at

Photos courtesy John Moran Antique and Fine Art Auctioneers.


*Great Books, CDs, Price Guides & More
*Share YOUR Thoughts in the Antique Trader Forums
*Check out our FREE Online Classified Ads
*Sign up for your FREE e-mail newsletter
*Visit the Antique Trader blog for the latest news and views from the Antique Trader editors
*Enter the Antique Trader Treasure Hunt Sweepstakes