Strong results continue at Moran April 27 antique auction

PASADENA, Calif. — John Moran Auctioneers achieved outstanding results for property from several important estates and private collections in their April 27 Antiques, Decorative Arts and Jewelry Auction.

A notable collection of silver in a range of styles came to the auction from descendents of Lucille Mara de Vescovi. Born in Rome in 1893, Countess Mara, as she was known, originally moved to New York City planning to become an opera singer. As a socialite and wife of textile industrialist Malcolm D. Whitman she found another calling as a designer of high-end gentlemen’s neckwear. Moran’s sold all 16 of the items that were consigned from her collection, including an Italian Modernist tea service and swan-form center bowl, both by Zinzi, which realized $5,175 and $2,587 respectively, a Russian kovsh inset with an amethyst and a Peter II Rouble ($3,162), and a pair of asparagus tongs by Tiffany and Co. ($1,035) (all prices include the 15 percent buyer’s premium).

Also selling well, with only one item going unsold, was a group of Continental furnishings and paintings from an important Southern California estate. An elaborate giltwood and gesso Louis XV style floor screen made in the late 19th century realized $13,800, more than three times the presale estimate of $2,000 to $3,000, and a set of six Louis XV style gilt bronze wall lights sold for $3,250 (estimate $800-$1,200).

Of the 84 lots of jewelry or watches in the sale, 30 came from an estate in San Francisco, with all but one of those lots selling, and seven lots came from a private collection that was consigned to benefit the Duarte, Calif., cancer research hospital City of Hope, with 100 percent of that collection selling. These were highlighted by a ladies’ Rolex President watch with a lapis lazuli face that realized $6,900 (estimate $3,000-$4,000) and a 3.95-carat pear-shaped diamond set in an 18-karat yellow gold ring that brought $16,100 (estimate $5,000-$7,000).

More jewelry came from an estate in Tarzana, Calif., which also included a Daum Nancy “Nasturtium” vase that topped the high estimate of $2,500, realizing $2,750. In total, 28 lots were offered from this estate, with all of them selling.

Additional highlights of the auction include:

• Several oils by Russian/American artist David Burliuk (1882-1967). His depiction of a milkmaid with a cow and ducks, offered with an estimate of $5,000 to $7,000, realized $10,925, as did his depiction of two farm girls with a black horse.

• An Austro-Hungarian enameled, parcel-gilt silver intricately set with stones chess set (estimate $8,000-$12,000) realized $20,700.

• A pair of Arts & Crafts brass and shell bookends, unmarked but believed to be made by Charles Frederick Eaton or Elizabeth Burton Eaton (estimate $1,500-$2,500) realized $3,450.

• A pair of Gorham sterling silver floral repoussé tureens (estimate $1,500-$2,000) realized $4,887.

John Moran Auctioneers’ next tri-annual California and American Painting Auction is scheduled for June 15, 2010. All of Moran’s sales are held at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, Calif., and full catalogs are posted at two to three weeks prior to each sale.

For more information call 626-793-1833 or e-mail

Photos courtesy John Moran Auctioneers.

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