John Moran Auctioneers Report Outstanding Results for Jewelry, Rugs and Antiques

Superb, fresh-to-the-market Persian rugs, silver, bronzes and Continental paintings and furnishings comprised a large part of the sale, but jewelry was the biggest draw, making up about half the offerings. The majority of the several Art Deco bracelets, watches, earrings and necklaces performed well, selling at or well above the high estimates. Single-stone diamond rings also drew healthy competition, with Lot 1062, a 3.70 cts, J-K color and VS clarity heart-shaped diamond ring realizing $10,925 on an estimate of $5500 – 7500 (all prices include actual buyer’s premium paid, 15 or 17.5%). An unusual diamond and emerald necklace with a pendant shaped as a pair of hands suspending a miniature necklace, signed Carrera Y Carrera, doubled its high estimate, realizing $2587.50. Two handsome gold and diamond snuffboxes, one in Neoclassical style, probably dating from the late 18th century from Geneva and estimated at $1000 – 1500 (Lot 1082), the other with a foliate-design tortoiseshell and black enamel lid, estimated at $900 – 1200 (Lot 1083, realized $2875 and $2070 respectively.

Another big draw for the John Moran sale was the trove of Persian rugs, which came from an important estate in Orange County, CA and included some very fine examples. Lot 1032, a 24’ x 13’ Lavar Kirman woolen rug dating from circa 1930, estimated at $3000 – 5000, sold for $9,200, while a circa 1900, 7’ x 4.5’ Mohtasham Kashan, woven from Manchester wool and estimated to bring $4000 – 6000, realized $9775.

Continental furnishings remain a starring category in Moran’s market, as always. Lot 1050, a miniature Louis XV style vitrine cabinet measuring only 14 inches high (Photo 1), was exquisitely detailed with bronze mounts and tortoiseshell veneer. It surprised the room by fetching $4600 on an estimate of $700 – 1000. A Louis XV style commode masterfully crafted from rosewood, thuyawood and bois satine with ormolu mounts and a marble top, Lot 1188, sold comfortably within its estimate of $8000 – 12,000, as did a pair of early 18th century pewter and tortoiseshell marquetry torchieres in the manner of Boulle. Doubling its high estimate with a sales price of $2587.50 was a Flemish Baroque style ivory and tortoiseshell-inlaid, parcel-ebonized vitrine.

A Chinese hardwood altar table, Lot 1103, believed to have been made in the 19th century, was the sole piece of Asian furniture in the sale, but managed to find a very competitive market, surpassing its estimate of $1000 – 2000 many times over by selling at $7050.

Among the selection of bronzes, a very nicely cast depiction of Romeo and Juliet after Jean-Louis Gregoire (Jean-Louis Gregorie 1840 – 1890, French) dating from the late 19th century, was mounted on a marble pedestal. Competitive bidding brought the sales price of Lot 1147 to $10,925, more than double the high estimate.

Silver is also a perennially strong category at John Moran, and the top sellers in December included Lot 1090, a fabulous and rare silver-plated roast beef serving cart, such as those used in restaurants of an era
when service was elevated to a grand ceremony. Made by Christofle, Paris, and outfitted with a warming tray, removable pails, burner and utensil well, the cart captured several bidders’ imaginations and sold well over the high estimate of $10,000, for $14,460. Buccellatti remains a popular name: a 61-piece sterling “Rigato” flatware service, Lot 1087, realized $4887.50 on an estimate of $2500 – 3500.

Continental paintings are showing renewed strength, with several lots exceeding their high estimates. Lot 1116, a nicely lit Dutch interior with figures by Evert Pieters (1856 – 1932 Dutch) sold for $3737.50, and a lushly painted oil sentimentally depicting girls rescuing a doll from a country stream by Carl von Bergen (1853 – 1933 German), Lot 1131, also exceeded the estimate, bringing $6,325. Lot 1160, a small but lovely portrait, “A Daughter of Venice,” by Leo Malempre (fl. 1887 – 1901 French/British), realized $1840. A whimsical scene of boys and schoolmaster in a schoolroom, Lot 1166, by Vincenzo Loria (1849 – 1939 Italian) also did well at $2300.

In addition to the Evening Session, John Moran conducted their afternoon Discovery Sale, an un-catalogued, no-reserve auction open to floor and absentee bidding only. With the same types of items as in the Evening Sale, the Discovery sale has proven very popular with the local audience. The December 8th Discovery sale achieved a sold rate similar to the Evening Sale, and offered several pieces of gold and gemstone jewelry, watches, silver including Tiffany flatware and Mexican silver, Meissen and KPM porcelain, and several more Persian rugs.

John Moran Auctioneers’ first auction of 2010 will be their February 16th California and American Art Sale. A marquee event held three times a year and attended by private collectors as well as top dealers, this auction features over 220 works of California Impressionists, pre-1950’s American art, Regionalist watercolors and Western works. Already consigned to the sale are works by Alson Clark, Granville Redmond, John Gamble, Joseph Kleitsch, Edgar Payne, Jules Pages, Frank Tenney Johnson, Marjorie Reed, Edward Borein, August Gay, Emil Kosa, Jr., and many more. Consignments for this important sale will be accepted until January 18th, 2010.

John Moran Auctioneers’ next two-session Antiques and Fine Decorative Arts Sale will be held on Tuesday, March 16th, 2010. All John Moran auctions are held at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena (CA). For more information sales or for information about consigning to John Moran, please call their offices at (626) 793-1833 or visit their website at www.johnmoran.com

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