Affordable luxury on offer at Michaan’s Spring Auction

ALAMEDA, Calif. – Michaan’s April 3 auction will feature some of the finest lots of silver, porcelain, furniture, paintings and jewelry ever assembled.

Highlighting the sale is one of the largest set of hand-painted Flora Danica porcelain ever to be offered at auction. The 75 piece service for 12 with serving pieces has a presale estimate of $50,000-$70,000 against an estimated retail value of close to a quarter million dollars.

First commissioned in 1790 by Danish King Christian VII, Flora Danica porcelain is the only pattern from the 18th century Golden Age of porcelain still produced today: it is considered the most luxurious porcelain pattern in the world.

The name and patterns are taken from an 18th century botanical work “Flora Danica,” a book with stunning, minutely detailed copperplate illustrations of 1802 known floral species. The original service for King Christian featured all 1802 species and took over a decade to complete. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe still has over 1,500 pieces from this service.

Floral Danica porcelain is so laborious to produce that Royal Copenhagen estimates that 30 pairs of artists’ hands including molders, painters and glazers have touched each piece before it is sold. Applied florals are each crafted petal by petal and stamen by stamen; it can take artists up to four hours to create just one quarter-inch flower. The special brushes that the painters use are made from either the hairs from the tips of a cow’s ear or hairs from a reindeer’s stomach. A piece near completion is destroyed if it is improperly fired or if the tiniest flaw is found.

If you set your table with the Flora Danica you might consider using an 18th century English sterling epergne (estimate $15,000-$20,000) as your centerpiece and finishing your table with the 145 piece, service for 12, of Tiffany’s English King pattered sterling flatware ($9,000-$12,000). You’d be remiss if you didn’t serve after dinner tea and coffee from a French Cardeihlac 8 piece sterling and ivory service comprising coffee pot, creamer, sugar, chocolate pot hot water urn and tray ($7,000-$9,000 estimate.).

Michaan’s also has fabulous furniture and rugs in the sale. Highlights include a spectacular Chinese red lacquer cabinet ($10,000-$15,000), a Dutch rococo bookcase ($20,000-$30,000), a French buffet a deux corps ($8,000-$12,000), a calamander desk ($4,000-$6,000) and an Italian painted console cabinet ($2,500-$3,500). Rug highlights include a palace sized Fereghan Sarouk at 13-foot 7-inch by 23-foot ($10,000-$15,000), a 14-foot 6-inch by 7-foot 1-inch Malayer ($3,000-$4,000), a 10-foot 11-inch by 16-foot 6-inch Kashan and a 14 foot by 21-foot Kerman.

Landscapes by California painters William Keith, Frederick Ferdinand Schafer, and Angel Espoy will be offered as will a charming reverse glass painted Pairpoint lamp. Contemporary custom made upholstered sofas, club chairs and lounges will also be included in the auction.

Michaan’s Spring Sale will also feature fine jewelry and personal property from the estate of philanthropist Mary Skaggs. Items include English and American sterling flatware and hollowware, Steuben glass and fine porcelain. Some of Mrs. Skaggs stunning pieces of jewelry include an Art Deco diamond, platinum and onyx bracelet ($7,000-$10,000), a diamond and platinum Hamilton wristwatch ($4,000-$6,000), a Patek Phillipe yellow gold wristwatch ($3,000-$5,000), a 2.5 carat diamond and platinum ring ($6,000-$8,000), a 2.3 carat diamond and platinum ring ($9,000-$12,000) and a lovely pair of diamond and platinum earrings.

To learn more about this auction, view online catalog or to register to bid call 510-740-0220 or visit

Photos courtesy Michaan’s Auctions.


*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