An important American copper urn designed by Frank Lloyd Wright from the Edward C. Waller house in River Forest, Illinois sold for $772,000 on Monday at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers
. The urn, estimated at $400,000-600,000, sold to a Florida private collector. It is not clear how many urns were produced or have survived, but only five others are known to exist in public collections. The urn came from the collection of Ralph Esmerian, bankrupt former owner of Fred Leighton jewelers and a collector of folk art, arts & crafts and art nouveau. Mr. Esmerian was sentenced in July to six years in prison for financial frauds totaling more than $210 million. A pair of ivory and silvered bronze lamps depicting Leda and Ganymeade, also from his collection, realized $158,600 at the auction against an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. A pair of Wharton Esherick oak side chairs and a pair of armchairs realized $43,920 and $67,100, respectively. Mr. Esmerian also owned two Frank Lloyd Wright maquettes on paper in crayon and pencil. Executed in 1927 as studies for the cover of Liberty Magazine, the drawings sold for $51,240 and $21,960. This November and December Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will offer addition Property from the Ralph Esmerian Collection including jewelry, fine books and paintings.
In addition to Ralph Esmerians collection, the two-day Fine Furniture and Decorative Arts auction featured property from the Estate of Ruth Regenstein. The Regenstein family is well known in Chicago for their numerous philanthropic gifts. Ms. Regensteins collection of 17th and 18th century needlework and enameled etui cases drew attention from textile experts worldwide, who traveled to Chicago to see the material in person. Rarely are single objects seen that employ such a variety of techniques, worked in high relief with stumpwork, beadwork and crewel work. A 17th century table casket from Ms. Regensteins collection sold for $85,400 in the room after more than twelve phone bidders vied for it. The bead-worked lid of another dressing box sold for $31,720 to the same floor bidder. Ms. Regensteins estate also included fine Georgian and Edwardian furniture that achieved extraordinary prices.
In total the October 2nd and 3rd sale brought $3.17 million against a pre-sale estimate of $2.07 million. Consignments are now invited for Leslie Hindman Auctioneers next Fine Furniture and Decorative Arts auction, planned for February 12, 2012.