|By Carole Deutsch
HARRISBURG, Pa. – A Tiffany & Co. five-tube tall case clock from the late 19th century commanded the top lot of the day when it sold for $11,400 at an auction conducted by Cordier. The two-day auction saw a number of outstanding items by iconic makers cross the block.
The clock had an ornately carved oak case with full figure musicians on the hood and a tavern scene on the base. The clock was further embellished with side columns that had lion heads and putti depictions, scrollwork on the door, and a flower and satyr head. It had a moon phase dial and three-bell chime and stood 102 inches tall. “Given that tall case clocks are a hard sell in today’s market, the fact that this was the auction topper is impressive,” said auctioneer Erika Kelly. “No doubt the pedigree of the piece carried it.” Walter Durfee began making clock tubes in 1877 and is renowned for making a superior product, suitable for Tiffany’s high bench mark quality.
The comprehensive sale offered 327 lots of silver, jewelry, and Asian and ethnographic arts on Aug. 11, and 357 lots of furniture, fine and decorative arts, ceramics, glass, clocks, rugs, and lighting on Aug. 12. “We were extremely pleased with the interest and results of the sale,” said Kelly. “There was a great deal of interest prior to the auction, so it was not surprising that the preview and both days of the sale were strongly attended.” Kelly, whose dedicated field of expertise is jewelry, commented that that segment of the sale was, in one word, “fantastic.”
A 1785 Pennsylvania German painted blanket chest, that was made for Johannes Blecher (1780-1859), who is buried in Witmers Cemetery in Mastersonville, Lancaster County, had the Lebanon Selzer Ranck School designs of arched ovals with central floral motifs coming from small decorative urns. The 52 inch long chest was in all original condition, including the original hinges, and realized $4,200, more than doubling the high estimate.
Jewelry sold exceptionally well. Kelly noted that the collection was composed of items from several consignors, but much of it was consistent in style in that the pieces had an antique aesthetic with a contemporary edge. Additionally, it was all in excellent wearable condition.
Top lots included a Victorian cameo brooch made of moonstone with diamonds that was set in 14K gold and bore a depiction of four busts of military and regal figures. The oval moonstone was surrounded by 42 bead set old European and old mine cut diamonds. It sold with an official appraisal of $2,700, but the brooch went far beyond that mark when it commanded $3,720.
Rolex is always a popular seller and this sale offered an excellent Rolex Oyster Perpetual wristwatch, with date, and a stainless case and band. It sold in the original case and box with paperwork for $3,480.
A stunning pair of rose cut diamond earrings, made in a flower form with a 3 carat total diamond weight, were set in an 18K gold mounting. An oval center diamond was surrounded by 10 diamonds with an additional diamond situated at the top. The pair sold well past the high estimate of $1,000, realizing $3,240.
Decorative arts had its standout items that sold well past expectation. One of particular note was a Lladro #1350 figurine, titled “In The Gondola.” The glazed finished piece was a delightful portrayal of four people in a gondola, with a young girl playing a mandolin to entertain a lady and gentleman while a young woman stood paddling the boat. It was signed by sculptor Francisco Catalá and painter Julia Ruiz. The piece stood on a wood base and came with a framed certificate of authenticity in Spanish dated May 19, 1982. The work was estimated at $500 to $700, but more than doubled the high end when it achieved $1,800. Accounting for the strong price, Kelly remarked that it was a large piece that was particularly charming and appealed to even those who are not dedicated Lladro collectors.
From a collection of fine violins by renowned makers came one that was labeled, “Francescus Geissenhof fecit / Vienna Anno 1808.” It was modeled after Stradivari with a top of fine grain spruce. The catalog noted that the consignor stated the violin was played by Sam Shaffron of the Dallas Symphony and acquired from the Shaffron’s estate in 1973 by David Stanton of Mayville, N.Y. The consignor purchased it from David Stanton in 1990 and had it restored in 1996 by Ed Campbell. It sold with a modern case for $2,520.
For more information visit the firm’s website at www.cordierauction.com or call (717) 731-8662