Vase from 1893 Chicago World’s Fair soars to $135,000

A monumental 8-foot Japanese cloisonné vase created by Japan for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair was auctioned for $135,000 by Clars Auction Gallery in February 2019.
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OAKLAND, Calif. – On Sunday, Feb. 17, the energy in the sale room at Clars Auction Gallery was electrifying as bidders waited for many historic lots to be presented for sale. And phone bidders were poised from around the world.

Yellow diamond ring

This rare 34.28 carat Old Mine Cut fancy light yellow diamond and platinum ring from the historic Spenger Collection sold for $530,000.

This rare 34.28 carat Old Mine Cut fancy light yellow diamond and platinum ring from the historic Spenger Collection sold for $530,000.

An attention-grabbing 34.28 carat fancy light yellow old mine cut diamond and platinum ring that boasts both rarity and rich history came to the sale from the historic Spenger Collection of the San Francisco Bay Area. Bidding on this extraordinary diamond opened at $200,000 and the sale price quickly escalated to $530,000, ultimately selling to a bidder in the saleroom.

This diamond ring’s provenance purportedly dates back to King Kalakaua of Hawaii who reportedly purchased this ring in 1887. In 1890, the King took out a loan on the ring from Crocker Bank in San Francisco but passed away shortly after and the ring remained held by Crocker Bank.

The bank later sold the ring to a private collector in Texas who held it until 1950 when it was acquired by Frank Spenger, owner of Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto in Berkeley, California.

Japanese cloisonne vase

This historic Japanese cloisonné vase exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair more than doubled its high estimate selling to a private buyer in New York for $135,000.

This historic Japanese cloisonné vase exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair more than doubled its high estimate selling to a private buyer in New York for $135,000.

The monumental 8-foot Japanese cloisonné vase created by Japan for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair gained international attention prior to this sale.

Believed missing for over 100 years, it had been hiding in plain sight in the main dining room of Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto in Berkeley, California.

Numerous museums, private institutions and collectors were poised to bid on this vase, which was estimated to sell for $30,000-$50,000.

The bidding opened at $15,000 but that number was quickly surpassed as the battle from the floor and phones began driving the final sale price to $135,000, ultimately selling to a private buyer in New York.

New record set for artist

The highest auction price achieved on a work by Tadeusz Brzozowski outside of Poland, was set at Clars on Sunday, Feb. 17, when his oil on canvas titled Stancja, 1961 sold for $159,000.

The highest auction price achieved on a work by Tadeusz Brzozowski outside of Poland, was set at Clars when his oil on canvas titled Stancja, 1961 sold for $159,000.

The highest auction price ever achieved on a work by Tadeusz Brzozowski (Polish, 1918-1987) outside of Poland, was set at Clars on Sunday Feb. 17, on his oil on canvas titled “Stancja, 1961.”

This work was originally exhibited at the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle, Washington. Known for his surrealistic paintings, he is regarded as one of the most colorful artists of the Krakow Arts Community.

This painting was offered with an estimate of $20,000–$30,000 and 12 phone bidders were on the line to vie for this work.

Once the bidding opened, the estimate was in the dust as the sale price escalated to the new record price of $159,000.

For a complete list of prices realized during Clars Auction Gallery’s Feb. 17 auction, and information about upcoming sales, visit www.clars.com or call (510) 428-0100. 

Additional lots sold at auction:

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