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Happy Birthday Mr. Faberge!

30 May

In honor of Carl Faberge’s 166th birthday (after a little reminder from Google) – I thought I would share my favorite piece from his workshop. 

I was at Christie’s when this piece sold in 2002.  The Antiquities department sat between the Russian and Silver departments, so I usually got to see alot of cool things come through. 

Nothing was more fun than the Winter Egg.  It’s stunning.  I’d never seen such workmanship before!  And yes, I got to hold it.  Imagine that – holding a piece that was once held by the last Russian tsar.  What history!  And that history can be traced for almost 100 years, from the Faberge workshop in 1913 to its current location in Qatar.

Enjoy!

 

A HIGHLY IMPORTANT FABERGÉ IMPERIAL EASTER EGG WITH ORIGINAL SURPRISE GIVEN BY TSAR NICHOLAS II TO HIS MOTHER, THE DOWAGER EMPRESS MARIA FEODOROVNA AT EASTER 1913
workmaster Albert Holmström, St. Petersburg, designed by Alma Theresia Pihl, the surprise engraved FABERGÉ 1913

On a rock-crystal base formed as a block of melting ice, applied with platinum-mounted rose-diamond rivulets, the hinged rock-crystal detachable egg held vertically above by a pin and with rose-diamond set platinum borders, graduated around the hinge and enclosing in the top a cabochon moonstone painted on the reverse with the date 1913, the thinly carved transparent body of the egg finely engraved on the interior to simulate ice crystals, the outside further engraved and applied in carved channels with similar rose-diamond set platinum motifs, opening vertically to reveal the surprise – a platinum double-handled trelliswork basket, set with rose-diamonds and full of wood anemones, suspended from a platinum hook, each flower realistically carved from a single piece of white quartz with gold wire stem and stamens, the centre set with a demantoid garnet, some carved half open or in a bud, the leaves delicately carved in nephrite, emerging from a bed of gold moss, the base of the basket engraved FABERGÉ 1913
overall height of the egg 5 5/8in. (14.2cm.); height of the egg 4in. (10.2cm); height of the surprise 3¼in. (8.2cm.)

Provenance

Tsar Nicholas II
Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, Easter 1913
Wartski, bought in the Soviet Union in the late 1920’s
Acquired by Lord Allington in 1934
Sir Bernard Eckstein
Sotheby’s London, 8 February 1949, lot 128
The Late Bryan Ledbrook
Anonymous
Christie’s Geneva, 16 November 1994, lot 464, sold for $5,587,308 (SFR 7,263,500) world record price for a Fabergé item sold at auction
American private collector
Christie’s New York, 19 April 2002, lot 150, sold for $9,579,500
Qatari private collection

 

 

A few of my favorite things…

17 May

The upcoming auction of 20th Century Design on June 13th is shaping up to be my favorite sale of this year.  I want it all!  And it just so happens that I have a birthday coming up….

Here are a few of my favorite things….well my favorites as of today….

A PAIR OF CAT BOOKENDS AND CAT DOOR STOP DESIGNED BY WALTER VON NESSEN FOR CHASE BRASS AND COPPER
Designed by Walter Von Nessen (American, 1889-1943)
Manufactured by Chase Brass & Copper Co., Waterbury, Connecticut, circa 1935
Estimate: $600-900, opening bid $300

Great looking cats!  I love the simplistic forms.

SOLD for $625, including buyer’s premium.

 

A GERMAN AMBER AND SILVERED METAL TABLE CLOCK ATTRIBUTED TO NAUJOKS, MANN AND GEDUK
Koenigsberg, Germany, circa 1940
Estimate: $1200-1800, opening bid $900

The amber in this clock seems to just glow….very elegant and modern!

SOLD for $2,125, including buyer’s premium.

 

A FOUR PIECE MANNING BOWMAN CHROMED METAL AND BAKELITE COFFEE SET
Manning Bowman Company, Meriden, Connecticut, circa 1928
Estimate: $100-200, opening bid $1

A great looking set from 1928 that’s affordable?  Sold!

SOLD for $200, including buyer’s premium.

 

AN AMERICAN WOOD AND CHROME BARTENDER-FORM CIGARETTE DISPENSER AND LIGHTER
Maker unidentified, American, circa 1930
Estimate: $300-500, opening bid $150

How much fun would this guy be at my next cocktail party?

SOLD for $406.25, including buyer’s premium.

 

AN AMERICAN THREE PIECE GLASS MARTINI SET
Maker unknown, American, circa 1935
Estimate: $25-50, opening bid $1

LOVE!  The perfect martini set…..now if I could only convince a colleague of mine to share his martini recipe….they’re lethal!

SOLD for $237.50, including buyer’s premium.

I’m sure I’ll be posting more of my favorite things in the next few weeks.  The sale has a great mix of interesting items in good condition in all price ranges.  I’ve been saving my pennies all year for this sale.  It’s going to be fun!

Fine Silver & Vertu Recap

12 Apr

The Fine Silver & Vertu Auction was a big success yesterday.  Congratulations to Tim Rigdon, Karen Rigdon, and Anne Taylor Tipton for a job well done on a marathon sale in Dallas.  The sale totaled just over $1 million, which is quite strong for a dedicated sale to silver flatware, hollowware, and small items.

633 of 724 lots sold
87% by value
87% by lot

 

The top lot of the sale was the monumental G.J. Dennis silver caviar server – the epitome of modern luxury – created in London in 2002, which sold for $68,500 (including buyer’s premium).  What a stunning piece to anyone’s party.

 

 

Other highlights include:

A PETER MULLER-MUNK SILVER CREAMER AND COVERED SUGAR BOWL
The Peter Muller-Munk Studio, New York, New York, circa 1930
Sold for $31,250

 

 

 

A GORHAM FOUR-PIECE SILVER, EBONY AND FORMICA CIRCA ’70 PATTERN COFFEE AND TEA SERVICE WITH TRAY DESIGNED BY DONALD COLFLESH
Gorham Manufacturing Co., Providence, Rhode Island, 1967
Sold for $30,000

 

A GORHAM SILVER MARTELÉ VASE
Gorham Manufacturing Co., Providence, Rhode Island, 1899
Sold for $22,500

 

 

 

Overall, we are thrilled with the sale.  Strong prices were set for European as well as American silver.  The Chinese Export and silver overlaid glass pieces sold very well, too.  The market is strong for unusual and unique pieces and for designer-driven pieces.  “Everyday” plain silver items are sluggish over the melt value.

Silver Sale Today

11 Apr


All eyes are on the caviar server today….will it sell?  Fingers crossed!

 
 

 

 

 
A MONUMENTAL G.J. DENNIS ELIZABETH II SILVER FIGURAL CAVIAR SERVER
G.J. Dennis Gold and Silversmith, London, England, 2002
Marks: (lion passant), (leopard’s head), (jubilee mark), EE, C, 925
33-1/2 inches long (85.1 cm)
1196 troy ounces

The monumental caviar server on an oval wooden base, stylized waves and shells to the body, liner with two rings supports frame for five glass caviar receptacles, cast sturgeon to the removable lid. Originally commissioned by the Silver Fund, London, England.

Estimate: $70,000 – $100,000.

SOLD!!! $68,500 including buyer’s premium.

Ivory Sales Banned in California

4 Apr

In the April issue of the Maine Antique Digest, David Hewett reports on the recent seizures of ivory consignments at California auctions.

In the past, it’s been ok to buy/sell ivory on the open marketplace, as long as it was antique, i.e. over 100 years.  But recent developments in the state of California have seen all ivory pieces on the marketplace (modern and antique) being seized by Fish and Wildlife.

Rosie DeStories, co-owner of Fairfield Auction in Monroe, Connecticut, sent an email in February to those in the trade as a warning: “The State of California Department of Fish and Game is ACTIVELY raiding auction houses and antique shows, confiscating ivory. It is now illegal to sell or have the intent to sell ANY IVORY within the State of California or to sell it to any bidders within the State of California REGARDLESS OF THE AGE of the ivory. The fine is a minimum of $1000 per violation and a maximum up to $5000 per violation.”

Don’t forget – all ivory is ALL ivory, no matter the age or the size of the piece.  Thus, tiny ivory insulators on sterling silver coffee pots, antique ivory piano keys, and ivory-inlaid furniture may be seized, as well as Asian and Continental ivory carvings.  The ivory and silver gilt bon bon scoop pictured here dates to circa 1895.  It would now be illegal to sell this piece in California, or for a California resident to buy it. 

Ridiculous, right?  But California law enforcement is hoping this crackdown will help stem the mass murder of elephants in Africa today.  Whether it works or not, remains to be seen.  Personally, I don’t see how this helps anyone but the state of California’s coffers….

 

Do you like caviar?

14 Mar

Well, then I have the serving piece for you!

This stunning sterling silver sturgeon (say that 3 times fast) rests on top of a large base with waves and shells.  It holds pounds of caviar…..pounds, not ounces! 

The maker of this piece is Greg Dennis, who started his career as an apprentice with Wakely & Wheeler.  He then worked at Asprey for 12 years before becoming self employed 17 years ago.  His extensive experience is sought by the most prestigious gold and silversmith shops in the country.  His shop is located in Mayfair, close to Bond Street.

A MONUMENTAL G.J. DENNIS ELIZABETH II SILVER FIGURAL CAVIAR SERVER
G.J. Dennis Gold and Silversmith, London, England, 2002
Marks: (lion passant), (leopard’s head), (jubilee mark), EE, C, 925
33-1/2 inches long (85.1 cm)
1196 troy ounces

The monumental caviar server on an oval wooden base, stylized waves and shells to the body, liner with two rings supports frame for five glass caviar receptacles, cast sturgeon to the removable lid. Originally commissioned by the Silver Fund, London, England.

Estimate: $70,000 – $100,000. 

The melt value of the silver in this piece alone is over $36,000….

Spotlight on Frankart

13 Mar

In the upcoming June sale of 20th Century Design, there are a number of lots attributed to Frankart, and honestly, I wasn’t quite sure what that meant.  So I did a little digging…..

Frankart, Inc. was the name of a New York company that manufactured “art moderne” pieces in the 1920s.  The founder and president of Frankart was sculptor Arthur (von) Frankenberg, after which the company was named. 

Frankenberg wanted to create functional, affordable art for everyone’s budget. His designs featured sculptural nymph figures, posed as decorative accents or supports for various objects. Frankenberg prided himself on creating decorative objects that were also highly functional, such as lamps, bookends, vase stands and ash stands.

From 1922 to 1932, less than 100 designs were patented. After only 10 years in production, Frankart closed its doors, but the highly recognizable designs are regularly sought after at auction. 

For more information see David Negley’s article on the history of Frankart by a former employee HERE

A FRANKART PATINATED METAL FIGURAL SMOKER’S STAND WITH ORIGINAL BLACK GLASS ASHTRAY
Frankart, Inc., New York, New York, circa 1930
Marks: FRANKART. INC, PAT. DES. 82197
26-1/4 inches high (66.7 cm)

The smoker’s stand with gunmetal patina, elongated female nude holding hoop supporting ashtray with three cigar rests, figure upon stepped base.

Appears as No. T333 in The Frankart Handbook for Season 1932-1933.

Estimate: $700-1,000

UPDATE: SOLD for $5,313 including buyer’s premium.