The Gilded Age may have passed but it was not forgotten as Heritage Auctions
' presentation of the best of American silversmiths led its $1,465,902 Silver & Vertu Auction Nov. 17 in Dallas, Texas. The sale is the most successful auction of its kind in the history of the house.
Leading the auction was the majestic Tiffany & Co. Silver Goelet Cup for schooners dated 1893. Boldly designed in form and scale, the American presentation and trophy cup is formerly from the Collection of J.D. Parks. Parks who hunted for 20 years to find this specific cup, the very best of Gilded Age American silversmith art.
"J.D. Parks' collection of Presentation & Trophy silver brought great excitement to the auction room," said Karen Rigdon, Director of Fine & Decorative Arts at Heritage. "Bidders vied for some of the greatest examples of Gilded Age silver presented in recent days. The highlight came as five bidders competed for the magnificent 1893 Goelet Cup for schooners. Bidding started at $120,000 and quickly surpassed the estimate with a result of $300,000. We are very excited that the trophy will now reside at the Yale University Art Gallery."
The Parks collection was on every bidder's lips as the auction offered one breathtaking example after another. A spectacular Tiffany & Co. Partial Gilt Silver Punch Bowl and Ladle Driving Trophy sold for $118,750. The spot-hammered body and design of a horseshoe cartouche flanked by engraved images of trotters pulling a sulky is attributed to Charles Osborn. The bowl features an acid-etched portrait of Alexander Taylor, who was presented the trophy "by his friends of the Gentlemen's Driving Association" of New York in 1881.
Tiffany & Co.' 1892 Golet Trophy for Sloops, designed by James H. Whitehouse, sold for $62,500. The remarkable urn-form trophy with an acid etched depiction of a victory scene of war ships and in the foreground, Triton blowing a conch shell surrounded by mermaids rising from the waves. Goelet commissioned two cups for the races that would be held during New York Yacht Clubs Annual Cruise in 1892. This cup was deemed such a masterpiece of American silversmithing by Tiffany & Co., that Tiffany borrowed the trophy for their exhibit at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, in 1893.
The Astor Cup, a yachting trophy created for Tiffany & Co. in 1893 ended at $50,000. The story behind the trophy is just as thrilling as its masterful design. The trophy is one of two cups commissioned by John J. Astor for a three-day race held for American contenders of the America's Cup. On August 17, the day after the New York Yacht Club annual cruise, "the America's Cup candidates raced fifteen miles to the windward and return from Brenton Reef Lightship in "a good whole-sale southeaster, somewhat of a lumpy sea, the beginning of a two-day series for two $600 cups presented by John J. Astor," according to the lot's description.
Also seeing $50,000 was a Tiffany & Co. Silver Yachting Trophy: Newport Citizens Cup, dated 1887. The heavily decorated trophy was spared no detail as its boat-form cup featured a mask below a ribbed bowsprit. A hawsehole to either side supports hawsers or ropes swaged to an undulating cartouche with sprays of seagrass on its front and back and set on domed base with four dolphin masks with wave-like plumbs, upon rope above seagrass. Another Tiffany & Co., creation, the Partial Gilt Silver Footed Nautical Bowl, circa 1881-1891, from the Parks collection, saw a frenzy of bidding, selling for $32,500.
Outside of the Parks collection, a monumental and unusual Peruvian Silver Eucharistic Vessel, circa 1900 ended at $41,250, and five bidders vied for a 163-Piece Tiffany & Co. English King Pattern Silver Flatware Service for 12 from New York, designed in 1885, sold for a surprising $15,000.
Additional highlights include, but are not limited to:
· A 32-Piece Reed & Barton Partial-Gilt Silver Punch Service from Taunton, Massachusetts, 1933, from the Parks collection sold for $27,500
· An Austro-Hungarian Silver Figural Stein with Mythological Scene, 1872-1922, sold for $15,000.
· Ten bids pushed the sale price of a 121-Piece Tiffany & Co. Chrysanthemum Pattern Silver Flatware Service to $13,750 against a pre-sale estimate of $8,000.
· A mid-century, 60-Piece Sanborns Aztec Rose Pattern Silver Stemware Service from Mexico City, ended at $9,687.