John Moran May 17 Antiques and Fine Art Sale Auction Results

John Moran Auctioneers’ May 17th Antiques and Fine Art Sale, in which half the lots consisted of vintage and antique estate jewelry, achieved an impressive $1.4 million in sales. The global audience, representing thirteen countries, displayed a strong appetite for the jewelry, buying up 94% of the lots offered. Their enthusiasm was apparently infectious, as the early momentum gathered strength and spread to several other sale categories, with many lots of the highest quality and rarity soaring above presale estimates.

The top lot was a ring mounted with a rare natural Kashmir sapphire measuring 5.5 carats. Intense bidding between multiple floor bidders and fifteen phone bidders took dramatically large leaps up to the $200,000 mark, at which point three bidders remained. At $270,000, a new phone bidder jumped into the fray, adding new energy to the already electric atmosphere. The new bidder was unable to withstand the intense competition, however, dropping out a few minutes later, and another phone bidder won with a final bid of $336,000 (all prices realized include a 20% buyer’s premium).

A signed Cartier perfume bottle also caused a sensation. The diamond-shaped rock crystal bottle with a platinum top embellished with diamonds and sapphires measured a mere 2 inches high and was assigned a pre-sale estimate of $1000 – 1500. Another episode of heavy phone bidding propelled it to $33,000.

Victorian and Edwardian jewels were very strong sellers, with an 1880’s 9.90 carats, oval-cut natural Ceylon sapphire and pearl brooch, estimated to bring $8000/12,000, realizing $16,800. A circa 1900 2.50 carats Columbian emerald, set alongside a 2.6 carats H-I color diamond in a crossover-design ring, was another outstanding piece (estimate: $20,000/30,000). It brought $33,000. A stunning, and strikingly modern-looking, pair of Edwardian sapphire, seed pearl and diamond ear pendants, circa 1915, each suspending an oval-cut sapphire totaling 2.50 carats, sold well over the estimate of $2500/3500, at $10,800. A floral garland platinum-topped diamond necklace, in a delicate lacy design typical of Edwardian pieces, doubled its median pre-sale estimate, realizing $12,000, while an elaborate circa 1825 demi-parure, of multiple seed pearls strung and loosely sewn onto a mother-of-pearl frame, sold many times above the estimate of $300 – 500, realizing $2400.

Other jewelry highlights, among many, include:

• A single stone 3.54 carats E-color diamond and platinum ring (estimate: $25,000/35,000) that realized $45,000.

• A platinum and diamond ballerina ring centering a 2.55 carats round-cut G-color diamond (estimate: $15,000/20,000) that realized $24,000.

• A pair of platinum, carved jadeite and diamond ear pendants (estimate:
• $3000 – 5000) that sold for $16,800.

• An 18K yellow gold and ruby wide cuff, by Buccellati (estimate: $5000/7000) that brought $14,400.

• A circa 1960 18K yellow gold evening purse, by Van Cleef & Arpels, one of a number of mesh purses that all sold above estimate, that realized the highest price of the group: $16,800 (estimate: $9500 – 11,500).

The selection of European paintings included some impressive 19th century works, led by a large oil by Vittorio Reggianini (1858-1938 Italian) titled Fowl Play (estimate: $70,000/90,000). The depiction of a laughing woman reclining in a sumptuous interior, with a bird alighting on her shoulder, was undeniably appealing for both its light-hearted subject matter and beautiful technique. It sold to a floor bidder for $84,000. A meticulously detailed watercolor by Orientalist Carl Friederich Werner (1808-1894 German), The Jews’ Wailing Place, Jerusalem, realized $42,000.

In the many high-achieving categories of decorative arts, including glass, metalware and bronzes, silver had the best sell-through rate, at 100%. An interesting 1733 William Boys (English) tankard engraved with an inscription commemorating a 1727 nautical disaster, the destruction by fire of the Luxborough Galley en route from Jamaica to England. It sold for $5400, well over the estimate of $1000 – 1500.

19th century items showed great strength across a number of sale categories. Metalware was led by a large pair of Louis V style ormolu candelabra (5000 – 7000) that sold at $13,200 (estimate: $5000 – 7000) and a magnificent pair of late 19th century Louis XVI style ormolu jardiniere urns, stamped ‘’Masselotte 78’’, which sold well above estimate at $7,800. A late 19th century Louis XV style ormolu-mounted porcelain sleigh-form center bowl, was subject to protracted floor bidding, resting only when the price reached $10,000 dollars more than the high estimate of $3000. Some particularly good examples of Meissen porcelain from a private collection found an enthusiastic reception as well, led by a tureen-form box modeled after J.J. Kandler’s Kronung service. Offered for $3000 – 5000, the exquisite piece sold to a floor bidder for $11,400.

A Russian silver and cloisonne enamel kovsh was one of many small Russian metal objects featured. All performed well, with the Kovsh excelling its pre-sale estimate of $1000/2000, bringing $5,100.

Rugs have lately had a very successful run at Moran’s. Leading lots in the May sale were a rare Caucasian Shirvan wool portrait rug that sold for $6,600 (estimate: $5000 – 7000) and two late 19th century Caucasian Daghestan wool prayer rugs that realized $6,000 and $6600 (estimates: $1500 – 2000 and $3000 – 4000 respectively).

Moran’s next auction, scheduled for Tuesday June 14th, will be entirely devoted to California and American fine art and will feature 200 paintings, prints and sculptures from the 19th and 20th centuries. Of particular interest is an important oil by acclaimed Austrian/American Realist Henry Koerner (1915 – 1991), whose work is held in the collections of the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others. Under the Overpass, dating from 1948 – 49, relates to his parent’s deportation to a Nazi concentration camp and eventual murder. It arrives at auction from a private collection and will be offered for the narrative work will be offered for $100,000 – 150,000. Other artists represented in the sale include Birger Sandzen and William Trost Richards (with three works each), John Gamble, Edgar Payne and Maurice Braun.

All of Moran’s auctions are held at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA. The June Auction will begin at 6:30 pm. Previewing will begin at 12 noon the same day. Private previews are available by appointment. Bidding for this sale is available from the floor, by phone and absentee as well as online via For more information on this sale, or to order a printed catalogue, please call the offices of John Moran Auctioneers at (626) 793-1833 or visit their website at

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