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Tiffany lamp in 'Fruit' pattern sells for $108K at Milestone's Dec. 8 auction
Tiffany Studios ‘Fruit’ leaded-glass table lamp, correctly marked on both 24½-inch shade and base. Top lot of the sale at $108,000.

WILLOUGHBY, OH.- Milestone Auctions’ December 8 Winter Spectacular featuring estate finds and long-held collections turned out to be a lively international event, with energized bidders from all four corners of the Earth taking part online and over the phone. Boosted by competition from a busy gallery, the sale took in $408,000, inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium.

“We’ve been shipping goods everywhere – Germany, France, China – you name it. It’s been our experience that if collectors see something they like, they won’t let distance stand in the way,” said Chris Sammet, co-owner of the suburban-Cleveland auction house.

Many bidders were prepared to battle over a rare Tiffany Studios lamp, a stunning 24½-inch example with a leaded-glass shade in the ‘Fruit’ pattern. Double-marked and estimated at $20,000-$30,000, it was a magnet for Art Nouveau lamp enthusiasts, who kept all of Milestone’s available phone lines engaged as it crossed the auction block. “There was a lot of action on that lamp. Some people even flew in to personally inspect it, then returned home and bid by phone,” Sammet said. It ended up selling for $108,000, a price that made the consignor “very happy – it was three times the amount he had hoped for,” Sammet said.

Another Tiffany lamp from the same consignor, with Tiffany marks on both the 20-inch Poinsettia shade and base, was bid to $28,800 against a $10,000-$20,000 estimate; while an unusual Tiffany Studios cobalt blue Favrile glass paperweight ornately encased in bronze made $2,400.

“We were extremely happy with the way that all of the Tiffany lots performed,” Sammet said. “Tiffany art glass is not a specialty for which we have been particularly well known in the past, but we market our sales widely and aggressively. We feel that whether we are entrusted with one piece or an entire collection, we owe it to our consignors to do whatever it takes to reach both existing buyers and new collectors. It works for us.”

A highly detailed, 45-inch-long model of a 1932 midnight blue Hudson created by engineers at the Hudson automobile factory was executed in ¼-scale expressly for display at the 1932 New York Auto Show. One of only 12 made, it sped off to a new owner – a museum – for $18,000.

All original and beautifully patinated, a 19th-century copper and cast-zinc weather vane in the form of a three-dimensional horse was purchased for $2,520 by an Internet bidder who had spent years looking for just such a form. Measuring 30 inches long by 17 inches high, the vane offered by Milestone had previously occupied the rooftop of a barn in Northborough (Worcester County), Massachusetts. “Its new owner was very excited about winning the piece because he had always admired a similar one owned by one of his family members. Now he has one of his own,” said Sammet.

Mantiques – or antiques that hold special appeal with men – proved to be a popular category. A Mills 5-cent gambling machine sold for $1,920, “a very good price for a model that is not particularly rare but was in very nice, original condition,” Sammet observed. Also, the perfect wall art for a man cave, a dramatically illustrated 1954 poster promoting the sci-fi film Target Earth, rose to $1,080. “The poster came to us from a very knowledgeable collector. He was pleased with the auction result and will be consigning more posters to our future sales. We look forward to that.” Sammet said.

History buffs responded to a magnifying glass that President John F. Kennedy used in the White House Oval Office and also kept in his pocket when attending outside meetings. Accompanied by its original leather case, it came with a letter of authenticity on White House letterhead hand-signed by Kennedy’s personal secretary, Evelyn Lincoln. It finished closed to its high estimate, selling to an overseas buyer for $3,840.

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