A pair of rare English glass decanters brought in on a Tuesday free appraisal day at Kaminski Auctions
soared to a stunning $ 46,215, a record price for a pair of decanters.
The consignor knew little of the history of the decanters, only that they belonged to his grandmother and had been in the family, sitting on the sideboard for years. Harry Morgan, Senior Appraiser for Kaminski, and glass expert, determined they were almost certainly 19th century, due to the sunburst stoppers and possibly Baccarat as they were one of the few companies producing glass of that quality at the time. They also featured a very a very large ground pontil, characteristic of Baccarat.
The most unusual feature of the decanters was the transparent enameling depicting classical woman on each, later determined to represent the continents of Europe and America. Suspecting they were of historical significance, Mr. Morgan continued to research the decanters and found that they were English, not French, most probably the work of William Collins, a London glassmaker circa 1810-1820 who held the patent for the enameling technique in the UK. Uncertain of the attribution they were given a very conservative estimate.
With two determined phone bidders and a third bidder on the Internet, the decanters were finally hammered down at $46,215, including buyers premium. They were purchased by a collector from the UK who had tried to buy what he thought was the same pair in London twenty years ago, that then sold for L15, 000-L20, 000 pounds. Ten years later he tried again, when they came up at auction. This time he was determined not to lose out.
When Mr. Morgan assured him there was no possibility that these were the same two decanters, as they had remained in the Massachusetts family for thirty or more years, he was especially thrilled with the prospect. He said it substantiated the rumor that there were indeed, four decanters made originally as part of a dinner set and representing the four continents for the Duke of Sussex. These were the missing two, representing the continents of America and Europe.