What was billed as the grandest auction event in the history of Michaans Auctions
proved to be just that, making over $4 million in sales in just under three hours. Anticipation for the Treasures of Louis C. Tiffany from the Garden Museum, Japan Auction had been building since August, as distinguished collectors from around the country came to learn of the event. Held on Saturday, November the 17th of 2012, the auction was composed of some of the finest works ever created by Tiffany Studios; works that brought Michaans Auctions its highest sales total to date.
Private collectors as well as representatives from renowned institutions flew in from around the country to attend the auction live. International interest was largely represented online and via phone bids with sixteen people fielding calls. Interest for Tiffany items of extraordinary caliber remained strong in all markets, as was seen across the board in the various artworks available in the sale. The highest grossing lot of the day was seen in 134, a parakeet and goldfish bowl ornamented tea screen. The piece features an opaque and plique-à-jour enamel screen of finely detailed workmanship, held by an 18 karat gold frame. Bidding came down to a floor and a phone bidder, with the floor bidder securing the screen at a selling price of $324,500.
An undeniable force of the auction was found in the selection of flower form vases. One such vase was seen in lot 090, with a final selling price of $236,000. The piece of remarkable form features a broad undulating mouth as well as fine vein work. Two additional flower form vases followed suit in producing sales success, as lots 094 and 110 both sold for over two times their projected high values, at $64,900 and $38,350 respectively.
Rounding out the top figures of the day was an alamander chandelier of abundant lemon yellow blooms against a background of mottled confetti glass (lot 023, $212,400) and a magnificent window depicting a flowering magnolia tree in a serene landscape at sunset (lot 093, $177,000).
A range of Tiffany masterworks surpassed estimates, reflecting the excellence apparent in the artistic disciplines of Tiffanys repertoire. A Louis Comfort Tiffany painting titled Beach Scene, Sea Bright, New Jersey sold to a private California collector for an impressive $165,200 (lot 088). Highlighting the lamp sales is a Venetian table lamp sold as lot 006 for $112,100. Also noteworthy is a dragonfly table lamp sold as lot 158 for $70,800. A pair of claw foot andirons with turtleback tops saw strong floor and telephone bidder interest, driving the 18th century Colonial Revival inspired pieces to a final selling price of $82,600 (lot 054). A delightfully unique turtle back tile clock of iridescent blue, green and purple tiles set in bronze sold over the high estimate of $60,000, for quite a respectable $76,700 (lot 009).
Allen Michaan was the driving force in bringing the museum collection pieces to the United States, as well as in presenting them to the world market. His passion for Tiffany glassworks made the auction a particular labor of love. It has been an honor to have these masterworks grace our venue. Every step of the process has been an amazing journey, unfolding into the largest grossing auction we have ever conducted. I am also quite proud of the massive auction catalog we produced, which will become an important reference work for years to come.
Complete results for the Treasures of Louis C. Tiffany from the Garden Museum, Japan Auction as well as future sale information and bid submission is available online at www.michaans.com. Michaans follow up sale of additional Tiffany selections from the Garden Museum Collection, along with consigned lots from other sources, is scheduled to be auctioned on May 11, 2013.