Market Remains Strong For Tiffany, Fine Goods At Fontaine’s Auction Gallery’s $2.5 Million Fall Sale
PITTSFIELD, MASS. — Fontaine’s Auction Gallery’s two-day auction on September 24 and 25 was bursting at the seams with fine and luxurious items. There are certain iconic brands that make buyers take notice. While there were many impressive offerings during the auction’s first day alone, ranging from American and European silver to decorative art objects, Tiffany Studios was the star of the show and went on to propel the auction.
Going by the numbers, Tiffany made a strong showing with over 100 lots presented. All but one of the top 30 lots in the first session — a Handel “Poppy” table lamp at $18,750 — were Tiffany items. Nearly all were lamps and lighting fixtures but the list also included a “Zodiac” desk set, a fine vase, and a silver tea and coffee service. In total, the Tiffany lots realized $1.175 million in an auction that overall attained $2.5 million dollars.
John Fontaine, owner of Fontaine’s Auction Gallery, has long achieved success with Tiffany and art glass lamps. He was pleased by the current market for these items, noting they continue to thrive and attract new fans. “Tiffany lamps are like the blue chip art of the antiques world — they hold their value and their timeless look ensures that they fit well into both traditional and modern decor,” he said. “Overall, we were delighted with the results of not just the Tiffany lamps but the auction overall which saw robust results across the board in the furniture, jewelry and silver categories to name a few.”
The top lot of the auction came early in the first day with a Tiffany Studios “Poppy” table lamp, circa 1905, featuring vibrant red poppies surrounded by blue and yellow background glass, that made $93,750. It was followed closely by a “Peony Border” chandelier, circa 1910, having a 24-inch diameter, that made $87,500.
The parade of Tiffany lamps across the block continued for hours with highlights such as a “Dragonfly” table lamp, circa 1910, in sky blue and spring green leaded glass, selling for $81,250; another “Dragonfly” lamp, this time in yellow and amber glass, $62,500; and a “Woodbine” table lamp, circa 1905, made with high-end confetti glass and having an unusual “Crutch Oval” base, $75,000.
Tiffany Studios made more than just lamps and represented here was a circa 1910 pair of its popular leaded glass windows in the Gothic Revival style, decorated with leaves and grape clusters, selling for $53,125.
The second day of the auction was far-ranging, featuring traditional American furniture, jewelry, fine art and even more decorative objects. Shining the brightest and achieving top lot status of this session was a platinum bracelet set with over 45 carats of diamonds that sold just over its high estimate at $81,250.
Flouting the oft-repeated warning in the antiques trade that furniture is soft, several pieces here did well over their estimate, including an American figural carved oak library table that more than doubled its high estimate to hit $15,000. The table was in fine refinished condition overall and featured a carved nude woman on each end, acanthus leaves and scrollwork. Topping the furniture category was an exuberantly-carved Eastlake walnut four-piece bedroom set, circa 1880, that attained $27,500, which included a two-door armoire, bed, marble-top dresser and marble-top commode.
Fontaine’s is also well known for clocks and a standout in this sale that brought the same price as the Eastlake set above was an R.J. Horner & Co. oak grandfather clock with caryatids and winged griffins. The circa 1895 clock, standing 103 inches tall, had a silvered metal dial marked “Joseph Jennens / Skinner Street / Clerkenwell, London.” The Horner name came across the block a few more times with an oak 12-piece dining room set with griffins bringing $13,750.
The fine art offerings were led by an Ernst Karl Eugen Koerner (German, 1846-1927) oil on canvas, “Sunset Cityscape of Iraq” signed and dated 1907, that made $9,375, and a Louis-Ernest Barrias patinated bronze and marble sculpture, 24 inches tall, “Nature Unveiling Herself Before Science” that sold for $8,750. Fontaine’s is usually spot-on with its estimates so there are few surprises here but every so often, a particular lot will strike bidders or an eagle-eyed buyer who might see something special about an item. Such was the case with a pretty but average-looking Hudson River School oil on canvas landscape featuring a mill, which soared over its $600-$800 estimate to fetch $3,750. The painting was signed and dated “G.L. Burnside, Hudson, N.Y., 1875.”
Rounding out the auction were an Aesthetic Movement gilt brass stand that realized $9,375, well over its $600-$800 estimate, lavishly decorated with a scene of a bird amid flowers and leaves; Joseph Gustave Cheret (French, 1838-1894) bronze grouping of playing children at $8,750 and a Victorian silver tray, John Hunt & Robert Roskell, London, circa 1881, on four claw feet with animal heads having berry cluster below, $10,625.
Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is the oldest operating auction gallery in Western Massachusetts. It has earned the trust of collectors, investors and gallery owners worldwide. All cataloged lots receive nationwide exposure to the firm’s database of more than 27,500 select buyers. Fontaine’s Auction Gallery has been voted “Best Antique Auction Gallery” eight times by the public.
Consignments are currently being accepted for the winter and spring auctions. Fontaine’s is actively seeking quality items for all upcoming auctions, to include furniture, lighting, art glass, clocks and watches, paintings, porcelains, bronze and marble statuary, Asian items, art glass and cameo glass, Russian objects, silver, musical, coin-op, advertising, toys, banks, gaming and carousel items.
The firm will buy outright or accept on consignment. Call (413) 448-8922 and ask to speak with John Fontaine, or you can send Mr. Fontaine an email to [email protected] For more information about the company and the upcoming auction schedule, visit www.fontainesauction.com. Updates are posted frequently.
Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is located at 1485 West Housatonic Street (Route 20), Pittsfield, Mass. For more information, visit www.FontainesAuction.com or call 413-448-8922.