Morphy's celebrates holiday season with opulent Dec. 18-19 auction of fine and decorative art, luxury goods
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Morphy's celebrates holiday season with opulent Dec. 18-19 auction of fine and decorative art, luxury goods
Antonio Jacobsen (Danish, 1850-1921), marine painting of ‘The Hekla,’ oil-on-canvas, signed/dated 1883. Size: 14in x 24in sight / 23¼ x 30¼in framed. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000.

DENVER, PA.- December is traditionally a time to decorate, entertain and display one’s best heirloom silver, crystal and other antique wares. Morphy’s captures the holiday spirit each year with a glittering pre-Christmas Fine & Decorative Arts Auction of choice and beautiful objects and artworks. All of their most-loved collector categories – from Tiffany Studios art glass to luxury watches – will take the spotlight at this year’s edition, scheduled for December 18 and 19. More than 1,200 lots will be offered, with several highlight collections, including walking sticks and canes; antique maps, art pottery, and occupational shaving mugs.

Those seeking the ultimate in stocking stuffers are sure to find them within the 200+ lots of jewelry, watches and coins. Nearly two dozen Swiss wristwatches await bidders, including 12 superlative models by Rolex. A Rolex 18K white gold 36mm Day-Date watch with a meteorite diamond dial is estimated at $25,000-$35,000; while a circa-2019 Oyster Perpetual 40mm Cosmograph Daytona 18K gold and stainless-steel model with a black dial is entered with a $20,000-$25,000 estimate. Thirty-four pocket watches, with brand names including Hamilton, Waltham, and Elgin, will be ticking with precision during the opening session. Of special note is a 14K William B Miller private label gold quartz hunting-cased pocket watch with chain and fobs, made circa 1885, which is estimated at $10,000-$20,000.

Seventy-seven lots of coins and currency will be auctioned. Highlights include several 19th-century $20 Gold Liberty coins and something extra special: an 1851 US $50 gold coin known as an Augustus Humbert 887, smoothed with VF details. This scarce coin has been PCGS authenticated and comes to auction with a $20,000-$30,000 estimate.

Nearly 100 art glass lamps will welcome auction guests to Morphy’s gallery, with a radiant rainbow of colors emitted from designs by Duffner & Kimberly, Handel, Pairpoint and, of course, Tiffany Studios. Leading the breathtaking lineup is a Tiffany “Peacock” leaded-glass table lamp on its rare, matching “Peacock” base. Undoubtedly one of Tiffany’s most beloved and iconic glass patterns, Peacock’s beguiling motif is inspired by the colorful feathers of Mother Nature’s most flamboyant bird. Both the shade and base are signed and in excellent condition. Estimate: $200,000-$300,000. Another great beauty is a Tiffany Studios 18-inch Nasturtium leaded-glass table lamp. Its stunning pattern is composed of some of Tiffany’s most complex types of glass, including streamer, confetti, ripple and drapery. Both the shade and its wonderfully-decorated library base are signed. In excellent condition, the lamp is estimated at $100,000-$150,000.

A lot that has “star quality” written all over it is the extremely rare and important stained-glass window by Marion Mahony Griffin. The groundbreaking American architect who collaborated with and influenced Frank Lloyd Wright is considered an original member of the Prairie School. Unquestionably, the Prairie School style is reflected in the window, which Griffin designed and installed at the Elkhart, Indiana, farmhouse of her brother, Gerald, and sister-in-law, Hattie, in 1907. The 39-inch by 24-inch window was salvaged prior to the house’s destruction in 1967. It has been extensively vetted and authenticated, and is estimated at $20,000-$40,000.

For many years, collectors have flocked to Morphy’s Fine & Decorative Arts sales to seek out the rarest and most unusual examples of Amphora’s fantasy wares. They will be spoiled for choice on December 18th, with examples like a Dragon vase and Surian & Crab vase, each estimated at $8,000-$12,000; a Gres Bijou Semiramis Butterfly & Web vase, $5,000-$8,000; and a Starfish vase, $2,500-$3,500. Dominating the category, however, is an extremely rare circa-1902 Amphora Crocodile vase, with all of the desired marks. It is actually a book example, appearing in Vreeland’s Monsters and Maidens: Collectors Edition, and stands 16½ inches tall. In mint condition, it is expected to reach $15,000-$20,000.

Two paintings of note are by the Danish artist Antonio Jacobsen (Danish, 1850-1921), the most prolific of all marine artists. Many of Jacobsen’s commissions came from sea captains who admired his attention to detail. His signed and dated (1883) oil-on-canvas depiction of The Hekla measures 14 inches by 24 inches (sight) and carries a pre-sale estimate of $4,000-$6,000. His oil-on-board of the steamship Mohawk, from a Palm Beach, Florida, private collection, carries a $3,000-$4,000 estimate.

Although canes and walking sticks were originally used as practical aids, they grew to become fashion accessories and symbols of prestige during the Renaissance and Victorian Eras. Carved, bejeweled and incorporating ivory and other exotic materials, they reflected their owners’ personalities and social status. Some, known as gadget canes, served a dual purpose, such as concealing snuff boxes, flasks, or even weapons. Antique canes enjoy an enthusiastic following at Morphy’s, where more than 100 tempting examples will be available on December 18th. Just a few of the top lots include canes with a carved-ivory peg-legged pirate, $1,200-$3,000; a nude woman and large-scaled fish, $2,000-$4,000; a double-skull gadget cane with a hidden shaft sword, $1,200-$2,000; and a walking stick with an exquisitely-carved ivory figure of Uncle Sam, $2,000-$3,000.

A fantastic collection of antique maps will be offered in 90 lots. There are Old West and railroad maps, many early rarities from Texas and the Oklahoma Indian Territory, and even an American map published during the War of 1812 that depicts Mexico, or “New Spain,” which includes five other Central American countries subject to the Spanish Crown, $1,000-$4,000. A circa-1794 Robert Laurie & James Whittle (British) map of “The Middle Dominions Belonging to The United States of America” is estimated at $2,000-$10,000.

Occupational shaving mugs were a staple at barber shops of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Each customer’s mug, personalized and embellished to reflect his profession or hobby, would be stored on a barber shop’s rack until the patron’s next visit. Highly collectible, these appealing collectibles have sold for record prices at Morphy’s. The December 18 session includes more than 200 shaving mugs apportioned into 180 lots, showing such occupations as car racer, veterinarian, baseball player, bowler, chauffeur, casket builder, firefighter, beekeeper, and even juggler. A particularly rare mug has a detailed image of a man piloting a primitive single-propeller airplane. Estimate: $1,000-$4,000

The Monday/Tuesday, December 18-19, 2023 Fine & Decorative Arts Auction will be held live at Morphy’s gallery, 2000 N. Reading Rd., Denver, PA 17517, starting on both days at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. Preview M-F from 9-4; preview jewelry and coins by appointment only. All forms of bidding will be available, including absentee, by phone and live via the Internet through Morphy Live. Enquiries: call 877-968-8880, email Visit Morphy’s online at

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