Collectors open pocketbooks for vintage jewelry at Pasadena sale

PASADENA, Ca. – John Moran Auctioneers concluded their 2010 auction season on a high note, with discerning collectors eager for quality estate jewelry, including an Art Deco platinum and natural Burmese ruby ring for $14,400.

The two-session Nov. 30 auction, comprising 586 lots of which half were fine and costume jewelry from private collections and estates, achieved an impressive 90 percent sell-through rate. Buyers hailing from four continents participated, bidding in person, by phone and online.

Bidding for the jewelry was especially brisk, propelling sales for that category to 96 percent (all prices include 20% buyer’s premium). A lot of two Victorian charm bracelets suspending intricately etched watch keys that realized $6,600. An Art Deco sapphire pendant sold solidly at $17,150. Buyers’ appetite for signed pieces was also strong, with pieces by Schlumberger, Erté, Buccellati, and David Webb doubling pre-sale estimates. Diamonds were the top price earners, including a white gold and 3.96 carats marquise-cut diamond ring that realized $18,000 and a pair of old European diamond ear studs weighing 3 carats each that realized $30,625.

Watches included many top makers, such as Rolex and Piaget. A circa 1920 yellow gold Patek Philippe wristwatch with a rectangular face was among the leading items, settling at double its estimate at $13,200. 

Fashion aficionados also found much to covet in Moran’s sale, as prominent design houses were represented in the selections of both costume jewelry and vintage clothing. Excellent results were achieved for items by Chanel, including the label’s iconic strands of faux pearls, wool suits and coats, and for separates and accessories by Hermes. A group of classic Chanel Boutique jackets and suits doubled its estimate, selling for $3675.

One of the strongest sections of the sale was that devoted to European paintings; 19th century works thrived, with the top earnings in this category achieved by Giacomo Mantegazza’s (1853 – 1920 Italian) Schoolhouse Discipline. This amusing work sold well over the pre-sale estimate of $8000 – 12,000, for $18,000, followed by Joseph Bernard’s (1864 – 1933 French) Nymph Before an Arched Garden Trellis with Flowers, which sold for $14,400 (estimate: $7000 – 9000). Competition also centered on a small work by Pio Joris (1843 – 1921 Italian). His exquisite Fortune Teller and Figures at a Table sold for $6,000. A dramatically lit landscape with figures and horse-drawn cart by Andras Marko (1824 – 1895 Austrian) also performed nicely, realizing $9,000.

Several 19th century Continental pieces were among the selections, including a lot of two delicate German silver sleigh-form sweetmeat bowls, marked Ludwig? Neresheimer, Hanau, that tripled their high estimate, selling for $2,700.00; a center bowl marked J.D. Schleissner Sohne that also tripled its high estimate, realizing $3,600; and a set of four candlesticks ornamented with putto-form stems that sold well at $3,300. A small Wang Hing Chinese Export tea caddy charmingly decorated with blossoms and a bird tripled its high estimate and realized $1,560. The top silver lot was an Italian 1930’s Rococo style coffee and tea service that sold for $5,700.

Other sale highlights include:

•    A late 19th century Austrian painted porcelain plaque of Danae and the Golden Rain: sold $16,800.

•    A 19th century Chinese silk embroidered kosu panel depicting warriors: sold $4,375.

John Moran Auctioneers will begin 2011 with another Decorative and Fine Arts Auction Jan. 11 and a California and American Paintings Auction Feb. 15. Jewelry will next be offered at their April 5 auction. For more information contact Moran’s offices at 626-793-1833 or  for more information. All sales are conducted at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA. Full sale catalogues are posted at 2 -3 weeks prior to each sale. Bidding is available from the floor and via absentee, telephone or online through

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