Pair of 19th century tulip vases rise to $14,950 in Virginia glass auction

MOUNT CRAWFORD, Va. — On Saturday, May 22, 2010, Sandy and Larry Mackle of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., were present in the auction gallery when Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates conducted its cataloged auction of Important Early American Glass and Lighting, which featured the Mackles’ outstanding collection as lots 1 through 217. What took 30 years to compile and months to catalog and promote, took owner/auctioneer Jeff Evans less than two hours to sell. Since first acquiring the Mackle collection in early 2009, Evans has repeatedly declared it to be one of the finest collections he has ever sold.

The entire catalog containing auction lots 1 through 620 was presented online at the firm’s website where online absentee bidding (powered by Auction Flex) was available up until two hours before sale time. Live Internet bidding (provided by LiveAuctioneers), and live telephone bidding are viable options for those who wish to bid in real-time without physically attending the auction. Details about the various bidding methods, buyer’s premium, auction terms, etc., can be found at under the “Buying” webpage.

Evans averaged 103 lots per hour during the sale, which lasted from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. The auction was comprised of rare free-blown, pillar and pattern-molded wares, a large and outstanding collection of colored flint vases, whale oil/fluid lamps, candlesticks, compotes, colored cologne bottles, decanters, pressed lacy including rare colored salts, cup plates, cut overlay articles, and much more. In addition to the Mackle collection, a large selection of glass was offered that had formerly been in the collection of Dr. E. R. Eller, long-time curator at the Carnegie Museum (Pittsburgh, Pa.). Among the Eller lots were rare Pittsburgh-area blown, cut and pressed wares, a fine selection of witch balls and whimsies, and early bottles and flasks. Deaccessioned material from the Sandwich Glass Museum and several other choice private consignments added to the significance of this already impressive auction.

Although most of Evans’ auction catalogs are presented online only, a full-color, softbound catalog was created for this important sale. Auction catalogs produced under the direction of Jeffrey S. Evans are historically notable for the professional, full-color images and meticulous item descriptions and condition reports; therefore past sale catalogs paired with their realized price lists make valuable reference tools for collectors, dealers, museums and institutions. To purchase a copy of the May 22, 2010, auction catalog with realized price list, call 540-434-3939, ext. 140 or 141, or go to

The two top selling lots, both from the Mackle collection and each achieving $14,950, were an important pair of circa 1845-1865 pressed Boston & Sandwich Glass Co. tulip vases in brilliant deep teal that stood 11 inches high (lot 7), and a circa 1850-1890 free-blown and lily-pad decorated 8 3/4 inch tall pitcher in blue green, possibly New York or New Jersey (lot 186). All prices quoted are in USD and include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.

Other Mackle-consigned free-blown wares that performed quite well were a circa 1830-1850 decorated South Jersey pitcher that had an applied wave-like shoulder band above the swag-decorated base (lot 182: $6,900), a New York State threaded vase/jar in deep blue green made between 1845-1865 (lot 184: $8,625), and a Pittsburgh-area colorless 15 3/4 inch diameter salver (cake stand) with applied cobalt rim edge and stem collar that stood 10 inches tall (lot 196: $6,325).
A favorite among the auction staff, the monumental salver with the striking blue accents never failed to elicit “oohs” and “aahs” from those who admired it in person.

Jeff Evans continually stresses the importance of maintaining an item’s provenance, and more than 50 pieces in the Mackle collection contained one of the most prestigious provenances a piece of early glass can claim, that of William J. Elsholz. A formidable pursuer of early American glass from 1930 until the early 1980s, Elsholz’ exceptional collection was auctioned off soon after his death at age 93. These now legendary Elsholz auctions, held by Richard A. Bourne galleries in Hyannis, MA in December 1986, May 1987 and November 1987, were one of the Mackles’ first forays into the world of early pressed and blown American glass.

Lots sold by Evans that had been obtained by the Mackles at the Elsholz auctions nearly 25 years before included a pair of 7 inch tall apple green pressed Petal and Loop candlesticks (lot 67: $4,887.50), a pair of free-blown vases in a stunning sapphire blue (lot 190: $3,450), a 5 1/4 inch tall pillar-molded cream pitcher in dull amethyst (lot 193: $5,750), and a 9 1/2 inch tall pressed hexagonal candlestick in an interesting combination of yellow amber and fiery opalescent (lot 64: $4,312.50). All of these pieces were manufactured between 1840 and 1870.

Also memorable from the Mackle collection, and all dating between 1840-1870: an emerald green pressed Boston & Sandwich Glass Co. tulip vase (lot 8: $4,600), a fiery opalescent 8 1/4 inch diameter Sandwich Glass open-work fruit basket on standard (lot 33: $6,900), an 11 3/4 inch diameter Sandwich Star/Triple Dolphin compote, unique in canary yellow but displaying a significant crack to the bowl (lot 34: $6,325), a pair of 9 ¾ inch tall pressed Loop/Leaf lamps in golden amber (lot 21: $6,900), and an emerald green 9 7/8 inch tall blown-molded quart decanter (lot 105: $3,450).

The Eller collection produced some noteworthy prices as well, including a circa 1750-1775 English 5 1/2 inch high free-blown enamel-twist stem wine glass (lot 525: $2,875), a free-blown 7 3/4 inch bright yellow green funnel-form utility bottle (lot 366: $2,300), and an important bound volume of five 1893 United States Glass Co. trade catalogs (lot 227: $2,990) that was purchased by the Museum of American Glass in West Virginia.

Two items commanded substantial prices despite their diminutive sizes, and both were sold from the same prominent private collection. The first, a circa 1830-1845 Peacock Eye Pedestal (PP-4) extremely rare pressed master salt in an unlisted deep violet blue (lot 302: $3,335), and second, a Lee/Rose No. 148-A cup plate in soft blue that had “impeccable provenance” according to the catalogue notes (lot 556: $1,955). Before the current consignor obtained the near proof specimen at Jeffrey S. Evans’ 2003 auction of the Robert W. King cup plate collection, the 3-inch diameter plate had formerly been in the distinguished collections of William J. Elsholz, James H. Rose and Louise S. Esterly. In 1948 Mr. Rose co-authored American Glass Cup Plates with Ruth Webb Lee, and the 900-piece collection of Louise Esterly’s lacy glass is contained in The Corning Museum of Glass in New York, the world’s most comprehensive collection of glass.

In light of the current economic conditions, Evans was pleased with the ultimate auction results which brought within the overall presale estimate. “The glass market has pretty much followed the same path as other antiques and collectibles markets,” he said. “Certain pieces that are hotly contested by two or more serious collectors are bringing record prices, while other material, some of which is just as desirable, is selling for 25 percent to 50 percent less than it was five years ago.”

As cited by Evans, two major contributing factors to this price decline are the reduction of many collectors’ discretionary purchasing funds and the noticeable absence of dealers who are buying for inventory. “It’s a great time to add to your glass collection or start a new collection,” he surmised. Several bargains that Evans illustrated from the May 22 auction were lot 33, the fiery opalescent open-work fruit basket that sold for $6,900, and the Sandwich tulip vases that brought between $2,185 and $4,600 as lots 8, 9, 10, and 11, and $1,265 as lot 230; all except lot 230 carried the Mackle provenance. Previous examples of the open-work basket have brought as much as $18,000 and similar tulip vases have sold in the $3,000 to $8,000 range in years past.

After the auction, Larry and Sandy Mackle indicated that they were pleased with the general outcome and expressed their gratitude to the entire Jeffrey S. Evans staff for the efficacious manner in which their collection was handled. The second half of the Mackle collection featuring their Early American Pattern Glass will be included in the JSE&A Sep. 25-26, 2010, 16th annual EAPG auction, which will be held in conjunction with the Early American Pattern Glass Society’s Eastern Regional Meeting hosted at the Evans gallery.

Firm believers that education is the key to continued success in the world of antiques auctions, owners Jeff and Beverley Evans sponsor periodic free public lectures on Virginia Decorative Arts and American Glass at their auction gallery. Featuring expert guest speakers, the presentations are scheduled to complement specific auctions and are typically held at 6 pm ET on the Friday preceding the auction. Mary Cheek Mills of the Corning Museum of Glass lectured on Friday, May 21; past speakers have included New York glass-blower/artist Art Reed, Alexandria, Va., pottery expert and author Eddie Wilder, and Jeff Evans has shared his extensive knowledge of Shenandoah Valley chairs. Two special lectures will be presented in conjunction with the Nov. 13, 2010, auction featuring decorative arts of Virginia and the South.

Upcoming 2010 sales at Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates include Americana & Fine Antiques (Nov. 13), Miniature Lamps, Victorian & Early Lighting (July 31), Antique Sewing (Aug. 28 and Dec. 4), Early American Pattern Glass (Sep. 25-26) and Early American Glass and Lighting (Oct. 23). Catalogs are posted online about two weeks prior to the auction.

A buyer’s premium applies to each auction lot won and certain terms and conditions apply. Call 540-434-3939 for additional information or visit where you can purchase past auction catalogs and hard-to-find antiques reference books, sign up for email notification, check auction schedules, view past auction results, etc.

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