DENVER, Pa. – When Keats wrote, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever – its loveliness increases,” he unwittingly created a tagline for Morphy Auctions’ $3.3 million Fine & Decorative Arts sale held June 18-19. The array of European and American antiques, glass and ceramics inspired prices on many items to reach unexpected if not astounding levels.
The selection included a dark horse that would shock even the experts as it raced to the top of prices realized. The sale’s big winner, a Russian pottery vase [shown at right] dated “1903” and bearing multiple impressed marks, had the unmistakable look of expert craftsmanship.
The vase’s elaborately designed metal overlay depicting helmeted warriors on horseback was set with jeweled cabochons and further embellished with a medley of notched, engraved and repousse adornments.
The 7 1/2-inch vessel, which was cataloged with a $600 to $900 estimate, was off to the races from the first bid and didn’t end its run until 66 bids later when it hit $141,450 – 157 times its high estimate. Its new owner, who bid via the internet, wishes to remain anonymous.
The competition for high-end European design continued unabated with the introduction of an array of antique lamps and glass. Leading the group was a rare and important 18-inch-tall Galle mold-blown Rhododendron lamp similar to an example shown in the Duncan/de Bartha reference book Gallé Lamps. It surpassed expectations at $98,400.
The Tiffany name worked its magic in the auction room repeatedly and across several categories. A 10 7/8-inch Tiffany glass paperweight vase in an overall swirl pattern incorporating shades of red, maroon, lilac, orange, green and brown was signed on its base and identified as a “Favrile Exhibition Piece.” Estimated at $6,000-$8,000, it climbed to $43,050.
Similarly estimated, a 7 1/2-inch Tiffany paperweight vase designed in an upright egg shape with a marbled motif was bid to $36,900.
For complete auction results, visit www.morphyauctions.com.
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