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Cameo glass Sphinx lamp settles at $19,200

A cameo-glass Sphinx lamp, with a finely formed bronze-on-marble base and a domed shade with hues of orange, yellow and terra cotta, took top lot honors during an autumn auction presented by John W. Coker, Ltd.

NEW MARKET, Tenn. – “From day one, I thought it might end up being the top lot, and that’s exactly what happened,” said Tennessee auctioneer John W. Coker, describing a cameo-glass Sphinx lamp in his Oct. 18 onsite sale.

One of 19 reverse-painted and scenic glass lamps from the estate of the late Elizabeth


This Arsall cameo glass Sphinx table lamp with bronze on ivory base was auctioned for $19,200. Photo courtesy John W. Coker Auctions, Ltd.

and Donald Bates of Seymour, Tennessee, the lamp is impossible to miss. Atop its finely formed bronze-on-marble base replicating an elephant is a domed shade executed in vibrant shades of orange, yellow and terra cotta, with the central figure being the Great Sphinx of Giza. In its background and encircling the shade are images of pyramids and an Egyptian village at sunset, amid towering palms and other trees.

The 18-inch-tall lamp is signed “Arsall” on its shade, referring to a French manufacturer best known for its designs of the first quarter of the 20th century.

Coker cataloged the lamp with a conservative $1,000 to $2,000 estimate. Bidding was fierce from the get-go, with absentee bids quickly upping the ante to $5,500.

The action settled down to a bidding battle between a LiveAuctioneers bidder against a participant on the floor. With the 70th bid, the onsite competitor prevailed, paying $19,200 (inclusive of 20 percent buyer’s premium).

Cameo-glass lamp

The brass-on-marble base of the cameo-glass lamp includes an elephant figure. (Photo courtesy John W. Coker Ltd.)

“The buyer was a private collector from the South who had known about this lamp for more than 35 years,” said Coker.

“She had actually seen it in the Bates’ home in Pigeon Forge (Tennessee). She had always wanted it, but the Bateses, who were lifelong antique dealers, would never sell it. It was the first lamp they had ever purchased for their own collection, and even dealers have things they prefer to keep and live with.”

For more information, contact John W. Coker Auctions at 865-475-5163 or, or visit

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