Computer monitors, across the country, were lighting up blue. Passionate mouse clicks from Bidsquare drove over 1.3 million dollars in bids during James D. Julia Auctioneers, Extraordinary Rare Lamps, Glass & Fine Jewelry Auction on June 16th with a total of $306,100 winning bids against the crowded floor. In what is being regarded as one of the most important Tiffany auctions in the past 25 years, online bidders appear to have sent a high voltage signal of, 'we are here' for the auction market to see.
James D. Julia set a new division record grossing a total of 4.3 million dollars as well as breaking item based records; this was no exception for Bidsquare. Tiffany topped our roster in the form of an $86,800.00 Lotus Table Lamp - an iconic design that now graces our records. We decided to reach back out to Mike Fredericks, Department Head in Rare Lamps, Glass & Fine Jewelry (see previous article: Tiffany Studios: Illuminating Insights; Q & A with Mike Fredericks) to learn more about these stellar results and the unexpected stars that emerged.
BSQ: Bidsquare drove $1.3M in total bids with $306k in winning bids! On top of the flurry of live floor bids - we would love to hear if there were any unexpected and/or exciting moments in the sale generated by our online bidders. Was Bidsquare’s presence felt during the sale?
MF: With nearly 200 registered bidders on the platform, it was a very active day of bidding and a positive contribution to the auction. Our Fine Jewelry offering generated a great deal of online views and bidding activity which helped drive the results 40% over low estimate for that segment.
BSQ: This table lamp (Lot 1104) was definitely one of the more extraordinary examples to be admired. The shade has a thin and delicate flare that speaks to its title ‘Lotus’ as well as an impressive cosmic web of framework. Is this ‘Lotus’ style particularly rare? What else is worth noting about this top selling item?
MF: The Lotus pattern, also referred to as ‘Mandarin’, is one of the most complex of Tiffany Studios geometric shade designs. The scarcity of this design, the amount of geometry involved in the shade, and the number of glass tiles used to construct the shade make it a very desirable model.
BSQ: There are so many different design elements that make up this Tiffany chandelier and it sold for well above the high estimate. You mentioned in our previous Q & A that Tiffany clients had the ability to ‘build their own’ lighting fixtures. Is this an example of that? Did that include chandeliers?
MF: Similar to the lamp bases that we spoke about in the Q&A, the fixture itself is a specific Tiffany design, and there were a limited number of customizable options available to the customers with the glass shade selection. While the majority of lily shades found are gold iridescent Favrile glass like these, there were other colors, for example, green and white pulled feather decorated shades. There were also stylistic details such as ribbed shades vs. un-ribbed shades that could be decided by the consumer in chandeliers such as this.
BSQ: This sale featured 7 leaded glass windows, the most anticipated being Lot 1375 (Wisteria Window) which sold for an impressive $257,850. Lot 1408 is another intricate example of the windows offered in the sale. Is the ‘Dogwood Flower’ scene a popular design at auction?
MF: Dogwood flowers are a common theme found in Tiffany Studios lamp applications, and Tiffany also made windows in many different floral styles, including Wisteria, Dogwood, Apple Blossom, Magnolia and others. Our June 2017 auction had six examples of Dogwood from Tiffany Studios, ranging from a small 14” table lamp selling for $15,730, to the window shown here selling at $49,600, and finally, the 32” Dogwood floor lamp selling for a phenomenal $406,600 which we believe is a new World Record for the Tiffany Studios Dogwood pattern sold at auction.
BSQ: Both of our top selling chandelier’s have intricate, “bronze twisted wire” adorning the top; is this an indication of authentic Tiffany? Was this in tune with Art Nouveau designs of the time?
MF: As a young artist early in his career, Louis C. Tiffany traveled extensively in Europe and North Africa and was heavily influenced by Etruscan, Egyptian and Moorish design styles. Many of his later designs for Tiffany Studios metalwork and lamp fixtures carry these influences, and this Moorish-style detailing is a great example of this.
BSQ: This blue iridescent desk lamp soared in price! We would really enjoy to hear your thoughts about this and how to generally read the elements of this interesting and surprising top seller.
MF:This was a very strong, authentic example of this model, and performed very well. The Texas Estate that the lamp came to us from was very conservatively estimated, and was sold without reserve. These two factors tend to create a great deal of excitement in the marketplace, and when you combine these with high-quality, fresh-to-market product, great results happen. This is exactly what happened with this lamp. The turtlebacks illuminated a beautiful bright blue with strong iridescent highlights, the finish and patina of the base was very strong and the price reflected the enthusiasm of our audience. The results speak for themselves!
Mike Fredericks, James D. Julia's Department Head in Rare Lamps, Glass & Fine Jewelry
The results certainly do speak for themselves; click here to view all results from James D. Julia Auctioneers, Extraordinary Rare Lamps, Glass & Fine Jewelry Auction on June 16th. Read more about the record breaking auction on Antiques and the Arts Weekly.