Spectacular Tiffany Studios lamp sells for record $541K at Morphy's June 8-10 Fine & Decorative Arts Auction
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Spectacular Tiffany Studios lamp sells for record $541K at Morphy's June 8-10 Fine & Decorative Arts Auction
Tiffany Studios table lamp with 20in conical leaded-glass shade in ‘Poppy’ motif exhibiting the very highest standards of Tiffany artistry. Astounding colorway and complex composition. Exceptionally rare base with 16 iridescent Favrile-glass balls as supports for the telescoping stem. Tiffany stamps to both shade and base. Sold for $541,200 (inclusive of 23% buyer’s premium), a world auction record for Tiffany’s Poppy pattern, against an estimate of $350,000-$450,000. Morphy Auctions image

DENVER, PA.- During the second session of their June 8-10 Fine & Decorative Arts Auction, Morphy’s sold a rare circa 1905-1910 Tiffany Studios “Poppy” leaded-glass table lamp for an astounding $541,200 (all prices quoted include 23% buyer’s premium). Based upon their research, Morphy’s believes it to be a world-record auction price for a Tiffany lamp in the Poppy motif.

Immediately after the hammer fell on the star lot of the opulent $2.8 million event, congratulatory texts and emails started pouring in, said Dan Morphy, founder and president of Morphy Auctions.

“One of the messages mentioned that another Tiffany Poppy lamp with the same rare Favrile-glass base had just sold fifteen minutes prior to our lamp at another major auction house, but its final price there was $214,200 (inclusive of buyer’s premium). Experts are in agreement that the difference between the prices achieved by the two lamps can be directly attributed to the glass selection,” Morphy said.

“We’ve sold other Poppy lamps in the $70,000-$125,000 range, but this one was in a league of its own. Only Tiffany’s most highly skilled artisans could have produced a shade of this standard. It’s a complex masterpiece, unlike any other we’ve ever seen,” Morphy continued. “The design would have been laid out piece by carefully chosen piece, with the addition of intense cobalt blue glass that’s rarely seen in art-glass lamps.”

Throughout the month leading up to the sale, the enquiries and visitors asking to inspect the lamp were nonstop, Morphy said. “Even the most advanced Tiffany lamp collectors marveled at the shade’s superlative colorway and motif. It’s surely one of the greatest artworks ever to come out of Tiffany’s studios,” he said. The lamp was sourced from a longtime Florida collection and is now the property of an American private collector who wishes to remain anonymous.

The auction featured 75 art-glass lamps from various manufacturers of the early 20th century. The lineup included a Tiffany Studios table lamp with a blue Damascene shade, which sold above high estimate for $36,900; and a Wilkinson monumental 31-inch leaded glass table lamp in the Peony pattern. It sold for $28,290 against a $10,000-$15,000 estimate.

Over the years, Morphy Auctions has handled many important pieces of Amphora and other European pottery, securing world-record prices for many forms. The June 9 session surpassed all expectations, with a 40-lot selection of exotic Amphora designs. A 29-inch-tall Eduard Stellmacher horned-dragon vase, of a type shown in the 1905 Stellmacher catalog and illustrated in the references Monsters and Maidens: Collectors Edition (Vreeland) and The House of Amphora (Scott), commanded an above-estimate $34,440. A wonderful mint-condition Paul Dachsel Amphora “Berry Bat” vase adorned with carved images of flying bats around its reticulated top breezed past its high estimate to reach $39,360.

European art glass was led by elegant Daum Nancy creations. A 5-inch by 5½-inch diameter vase in the “Rain” pattern beguiled bidders with its beautifully executed image of windblown trees against a softly frosted white-to-lavender background. With pre-sale expectations of reaching $6,000-$9,000, it rose to $14,760. A second Daum Nancy vase, which was wheel-carved with full-blown cobalt-blue daisies against a frosted martele background, sold above estimate for $12,300.

Many genres were represented in the expansive selection of American, European, Latin American, and Asian paintings, but the favorite turned out to be a classic Pennsylvania scene by Fern Isabel Coppedge (1883-1961). The only female member of the celebrated New Hope school of Pennsylvania Impressionists, Coppedge won acclaim for her appealing winter landscapes of Bucks County’s farms and villages. Morphy’s took pleasure in offering an early 20th-century Coppedge oil-on-canvas titled First Snow. The depiction of a quaint stone home and barn in Lumberville, Pa., 20½ by 19 inches (framed), passed to a new owner for $23,370.

Another all-American lot was a circa-1780 Connecticut Chippendale cherry slant-lid secretary constructed in two cases, with ogee feet, a broken-arch pediment and other features typical of its era, including candle slides. The handsome New England furnishing, estimated at $5,000-$15,000, drew 44 bids before closing at $41,820.

In the world of fine jewelry, the Cartier name is magical. The legendary French brand certainly lived up to its reputation on Day 3 of the auction, in the form of a classic pair of circa-1920s signed and numbered Art Deco platinum and diamond drop earrings. In excellent to near-mint condition with a total diamond weight of approximately 4.68 carats, the Jazz Age sparklers came with their original Cartier upright display-case box. Estimated at $20,000-$30,000, the earrings commanded a stellar $98,400.

Men’s vintage watches aren’t just valued for their quality and precision; they’re also avidly collected. Among the watches worthy of mention from the June 8-10 sale are a men’s steel and 18K gold Rolex Daytona Cosmograph Chronometer Ref. 116523 with a 40mm case, which sold for $18,450; and circa-1893 Elgin 14K gold quartz hunter-case pocket watch with chain, which ended its bidding run at $18,450 against an estimate of $6,000-$12,000.

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