Green Valley hosted its sixth annual winter auction of glass and lighting on January 25, 26 and 27, selling more than 3,500 pieces in 1,804 lots over four sessions. The sale was conducted at the firm’s auction galleries in Mt. Crawford, Virginia, located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, and was also available on the Internet via eBay Live. The auction grossed over $375,000 and resulted in more than 320 successful absentee, telephone and Internet bidders.
Throughout the galleries, the various glass styles and forms rested on the tablecloths like paint on an artist’s canvas; with colors of red, blue, green, brown, yellow, gold, pink, purple, apricot, peach, mauve, coral, and amber bringing the scene to life. Beautifully arranged and featuring iridescent, opalescent, cased and satin glass, the fine assortment of glass and color resulted in a truly stunning presentation. Merchandise included large groups of deaccessioned material from the Fenton Art Glass Co. Museum, the Currier Museum of Art, the collection of Gerry and Molly Berghold of Winchester, Virginia, the collection of the late John W. Greenburg of Crawfordsville, Indiana, a 40-year collection from Minnesota, a New York City collection, plus other collections from across North America.
Company president and senior auctioneer Jeffrey S. Evans reported that the sale drew bidders not only from 40 states within the continental USA, but also from Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Malta, Holland, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom. Of the 1,255 total registered bidders, 75 percent of them were prepared to watch the auction and/or bid from the privacy of their own computers. For the bidders who bid directly with Green Valley Auctions, Evans’ staff processed over 1,500 absentee bids and handled more than 125 telephone bids. While Evans personally and confidentially executes all absentee bids submitted directly with the auction house, he stressed that all bids placed through eBay are processed entirely by eBay, so that even he has no knowledge of what lots hold absentee bids or who has placed bids.
At 4 p.m. on Friday, as a prelude to the official cataloged auction, Green Valley first offered 128 uncatalogued box lots of miscellaneous pattern and other glass, including salts, syrups, tumblers and lamp parts, as well as related reference books. The lots sold for prices ranging from $5.65 to $283 per box (all prices include the buyer’s premium), which generated over $9,000 before the catalogued auction began at 5 p.m. with Session Two.
Featuring 450 lots of milk glass, historical and novelty glass, children’s glass, EAPG, flint, and carnival glass, Session Two included three top lots that were all manufactured during the fourth quarter of the 19th century – an opaque white/milk glass Steer’s Head covered dish manufactured by Challinor, Taylor & Co. in remarkably undamaged condition with the exception of a very minor base flake ($3,955), an amber 9 3/4 inch high Riverside Glass Works Cabbage Leaf water pitcher that had been deaccessioned by the Currier Museum of Art ($1,695), and one of Green Valley’s most consistent performers, the ruby stained Heart with Thumbprint goblet (a reasonable $1,582). Before this sale, Green Valley had previously sold three other examples of this highly sought-after goblet, which achieved $2,500 in 1999, $2,640 in 2006, and $2,860 in 2007. Evans attributed the decline in price to multiple examples coming to the market in a relatively short period of time, but added that even this recent price astonished some auction participants. “Many collectors and dealers refer to a 2002 price guide that lists this goblet at $550, so we usually field a few questions when people see our pre-auction estimate. Obviously there are other ways to keep up with the market, like attending shows and researching past auction results; a price guide is only going to provide one piece of the puzzle.”
On Saturday, settled in behind the microphone with a full eight-hour day ahead, Evans addressed the crowd promptly at 9:30 a.m., signaling the start of Session Three. Some of the categories represented in this session included Greentown Glass, Opaque Glass, Condiment Containers, Toothpick Holders, Victorian Glass, Kerosene Lamps in standard and miniature sizes, Barber’s and Perfume Bottles, and Art Glass.
As usual, Saturday was reserved for some of the auction’s most desirable pieces, and in the fifth hour of the sale, the auction’s prized lot gracefully emerged from the Art Glass category. The early 20th-century Gallé wheel-caved marquetry vase with Autumn Crocuses decoration had an engraved “Gallé” signature, the Alapaix Paris retailer’s label under the base, and eleven eager telephone bidders. The vase was undamaged, but Evans made it clear to all interested bidders that the front of the vase had a small cut-open bubble surrounded by a beveled area. He explained that the beveled area would not show up in the photo and that it was only evident when viewed at an angle with the naked eye. One of the pieces deaccessioned by the Fenton Art Glass Museum, the 8 1/4-inch vase broke through the $3,000 high estimate and reached $20,340. Although the autumn crocus normally flowers between September and November, this late bloomer was well worth the wait for New York dealer Eric Streiner who paid to have the vase sent to him in Florida, in time for the 2008 Miami Beach Antique Show that opened later that week.
Another sleeper, and the auction’s next highest achiever, was an unassuming 16 1/4-inch diameter hobnail library kerosene lamp petticoat shade in pink to dark rose all-over satin finish. The $500 to $800 pre-auction estimate didn’t seem to faze this 19th-century shade, which lit up the gallery and brought $9,040 as a result of a battle between two phone bidders.
Absentee bidders are now the new owners of the sale’s next two highest lots, both art glass vases made by the Mt. Washington Glass Company during the latter part of the 19th century. First to sell was a Mt. Washington Peach Blow No. 145 vase with rich decoration No. 30 (“Lace Embroidery, Queen’s patt.”) that was manufactured between 1886-1890. The 7 3/4-inch-high vase with its original dark red painted top rim and in excellent, undamaged condition sold for $6,215 – more than twice the high estimate. A few lots later, a virtually opaque black amethyst Lava/Sicilian glass square-rimmed vase with multicolor inclusions came to the auction block. According to the catalog, this 3 3/8-inch-high vase, in perfect condition, was only produced between 1878-1880. The diminutive vase’s unique, contemporary style helped it quadruple the $1,200 pre-auction estimate and finally sell for $4,802.
Four of the top ten lots from the entire three-day sale surfaced from the art glass category, including yet another 19th century vase. Thomas Webb and Sons probably produced this 9-inch-high white cut to yellow English Cameo footed example with intricate floral decoration on the body and stylized scrollwork on the neck. Also deaccessioned by Fenton, this exquisitely detailed vase sold to a phone bidder for $3,673.
Other art glass lots that performed very well were a former Fenton-owned smoky amethyst Moser-type Persian-style urn with bright polychrome enamel decoration ($2,147), a white cut to peach shading to yellow Stevens & Williams cameo inkwell with overlapping leaf decoration and silver hinged lid hallmarked for London, 1902 ($1,808), a signed 6 1/2-inch-high Gallé cameo vase in brown cut to yellow green cut to peach with landscape decoration ($3,120), and another Fenton piece, a Schneider “Le Verre Francais” cameo-etched ewer in colors described as “mottled mauve overlaid with plum.” The 12 1/2-inch-high ewer with its stylized floral design and engraved signature still retained a partial Maude B. Feld paper label. Although the condition report indicated that the handle tail had an annealing crack and an open bubble, the ewer still surpassed its $800 high estimate and closed at $1,130.
Several highlights from the Saturday session came from the Opalescent category, including a cranberry 8 1/4-inch-high Stars and Stripes water pitcher with matching tumbler and a blue Stars and Stripes water pitcher, both produced by Hobbs, Brockunier & Co. that brought $2,880 and $2,938 respectively; a “very rare” 12-inch-high Chrysanthemum Swirl bar bottle in cranberry ($2,260), a 13-inch-high, H. Northwood Co. cranberry Poinsettia tankard water pitcher ($1,921), a 7-inch-high sapphire blue Hobbs’ No. 326/Windows Swirl water pitcher consigned by Fenton ($1,582), and a Phoenix Glass Co. Zig-Zag Optic/Herringbone water pitcher in vaseline ($1,582). Another water pitcher that held its own was a 7 7/8-inch-high Inverted Fan and Feather example in pink slag opaque glass. The Northwood Glass Co./Dugan Glass Co. pitcher had a minor base flake, but its excellent color and Fenton provenance no doubt contributed to its final sale price of $1,680.
Cruets, sugar shakers, syrups and pickle casters were among the Condiment Containers offered. Holding the best prices in this category were a Mt. Washington Fig sugar shaker with polychrome pansy decoration ($1,469), and two cranberry opalescent pieces from the Greenburg collection – a Chrysanthemum Swirl cruet ($1,130) and a Herringbone Opalescent cruet ($1,356). Two other notable lots from the auction’s third session were a kerosene period footed finger lamp with a cranberry opalescent Reverse Swirl font ($2,486), and a pair of medium green, 19th century European cut panel cologne bottles with ornate gilt and enamel decoration, also from the Fenton consignment ($1,200).
Sunday’s third and final auction day began at 10 a.m. with Session Four, which was reserved for 350+ lots of salt shakers and open salts. Among the standouts were a pink slag/opaque pink Inverted Fan and Feather salt shaker from Northwood Glass Co./Dugan Glass Co. ($1,243), and a brightly colored pair of salt and pepper shakers that were most likely 20th century European. The Rainbow Bulbous shakers, with stripes of yellow, rose and blue, were opal cased with a satin finish and had their original two-part lids. Despite the $400 to $600 estimate, the pair ultimately sold for $3,390 to an Internet bidder. Once again, Sunday’s top two lots were part of the Fenton Museum’s consignment.
Pieces formerly in the collection of the Fenton Art Glass Museum made up nearly half of the sale’s top twenty prices realized. Jim Measell, Fenton’s representative, said that they were extremely pleased with the results and pleasantly surprised by the Gallé vase. They were also very pleased with the cataloging and promotion of their collection. Evans expressed that he was equally pleased and confirmed that Green Valley Auctions will be selling more material for Fenton in the near future.
Green Valley Auctions’ next catalogued sale of glass and lighting will be held on May 16-17, and will feature the 50-year collection of Alice Lenker, Long Grove, Iowa, the lighting collection of Faith J. Meyer, Boothbay Harbor, Maine, the second half of the collection of the late Anne and Leon Powell, Celebration, Florida, and the Blown Three Mold collection of Richard D. Sheaff, Scottsdale, Arizona. Select highlights of this auction will be available for early preview at the Westchester Glass Club Show in Old Greenwich, Connecticut on April 12-13 and at the Eastern National Antiques Show and Sale in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on April 25-26. The detailed catalog for this auction will be posted on the firm’s Web site by May 5. For more information, call (540) 434-4260, e-mail inf[email protected], or visit www.greenvalleyauctions.com.