March 12 and 13 brought a weekend punctuated by back to back auctions at Dan Ripley’s Antique Helper and loaded with opportunities for collectors, dealers and aficionados to take part in some of the most exciting art and antiques events to hit the Circle City in a long time. A much talked about auction, receiving plenty of presale attention nationally, the Saturday March 12 sale was one of Antique Helper’s finest. Grossing nearly $200,000, the sale presented fine examples of rare Tiffany, European bronzes and Victoriana, including consignments from several notable collections. The showroom glowed with promise as a near record-breaking crowd, including plenty of newcomers, gathered to bid, watch and learn. In addition to the in-house crowd, sales were strengthened by a brigade of absentee and telephone bidders, as well as countless bidders and observers watching the action on eBay Live.
Presented at the heart of the sale was a pair of much-talked about Durand art glass ginger jars. Bearing provenance from the collection of Greg and Patti Gluck, talk of the impending sale stirred interests early on, focusing national attention on this rare pair (Est. $9,000-$12,000); the jars closed within estimate at a glistening $10,500. Long-awaited Tiffany pieces received similar attention. A Tiffany bronze and Favrile glass candlestick, a paw-footed version of rare form, nearly doubled high estimate of $8,000, closing at $15,000. Another Tiffany offering, a decorated yellow Favrile art glass vase (est. $5,000-$7,000) saw $6,000, while a Tiffany dore bronze tripod stick and ball table candle lamp with Favrile glass shade closed at $1,500. Three Tiffany Studios bronze harp lamp bases all closed above estimate with prices ranging from $1,050 to $2,500, and a Tiffany Studios Candlestick with Queen Anne’s Lace base and blown out green glass candle cup and beaded bobeche also exceeded high estimate of $2,000, closing at $2,900.
Three Tiffany Studios Favrile glass and bronze student lamps, from a private collector and previously from the Victoriana collection of Martin M. May (see “Victorian Décor,” Schiffer, 2002) were the centerpieces of this auction. The first lamp, supporting a Damascene Favrile glass shade, closed at a comfortable $7,500. The second student lamp, with bronze adjustable base with wire filigree decoration, supporting a brilliant blue and green Damascene Fravrile glass shade, sold within estimate at $9,500. The third lamp in this offering, a Favrile glass and bronze double student lamp, ended at $13,000.
Other Tiffany Studios items offered in this sale included a “Pine Needle” gilt bronze pen tray with opaque glass insert and ball feet, stamped “Tiffany Studios, New York, 1004”, which brought $350, and an accompanying “Pine Needle” gilt bronze inkwell, stamped “Tiffany Studios, New York, 845” closed at $325. Meanwhile, a Tiffany “Grapevine” match holder and ashtray with green favrile glass inserts (est. $200-$300) more than doubled high expectations, closing at $675, and a pair of Tiffany Studios “Zodiac” bronze desk blotter ends with original polychrome enamel closed at $325
Other antique art glass offered at this sale included a Paul Nicolas cameo glass, vase, circa 1900, signed “P. Nicolas Windeck” (est. $1,400-$1,800), which saw $1,500, and a Galle French Cameo scenic art glass vase, circa 1910 (est. $4,000-$5,000) that ended at $4,750.
But, there was plenty of other excitement throughout the auction as well. Starting the sale with a high note was a rare Lenci Italian doll catalog. Possibly the retail or original printed version of the 1927/28 “Playthings” consumer catalog, this rare book (est. $400-$800) closed well above high estimate at $1,450, to a New York telephone bidder. Next on the auction block was a collection of 51 individual lots of antique cast iron door stops. Garnering attention from local and national collectors, these door stops (est. $100-$300) typically sold within estimate, giving novices an opportunity to start their own collections. But, a few seasoned collectors battled it out for the lots they considered most savory, most impressively a 13” tall Hubley Victorian cast iron flower basket doorstop with tulips. Impressed with “Hubley” and showing no apparent damage or repairs, this doorstop nearly tripled high estimate, closing at $875, to a floor bidder.
Among offerings representing the Victorian Aesthetic Movement was a Meriden Company silver plate on copper napkin ring mounted on a goat cart with rolling wheels selling for $475; a Victorian card holder, impressed with “Derby Quadruple Plate, 1433” selling for $225, and a James Tufts Victorian quadruple plate holder with enameled floral cranberry, closing at $375.
Several sets of antique skittles and ten-pin game sets were offered, from a New York City collector, including a set of ten-pins comprised of 10 enameled composition frogs, selling for $1,950. Carrying the same price tag was a set of antique African American “band” skittles game set of 8 pins, while an 11-piece set of antique African American “Choir” skittles (est. $2,500) managed $2,700, all going to the same East Coast collector. Going to another collection was an antique “Mikado” skittles game of 9 pins (one missing), possibly by Ives and decorated with Aesthetic Victorian period lithographed paper over painted wood figures, which closed at $2,900.
Sales of bronzes, many consigned from the Farber Gallery of Art, Indianapolis were strong for animals and nudes, with many sales ending within or above estimate. A small bronze howling puppy by Edith Bartetto Stevens Parsons (American 1878-1956), inscribed “EB Parsons” copyright, and stamped, “Gorham Co” (est. $500-$700) closed at $850, while another EB Parsons Puppy (est. $500-$700) closed at $750. A bronze pointer dog sculpture by Pierre Jules Mene (French, 1810-1979) (est. $600-$900) closed at $1,050, while another P.J. Mene pointer hunting dog, with hare also closed at $1,050. A small bronze pair of bloodhounds by Alfred Dubacand (French, 1828-1894) closed within estimate at $825, and a large Barbedienne bronze Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc) by Henri Michel Antoine Chapu (French, 1833-1891) closed at $1,100. An antique French School nude in repose, illegibly signed, but bearing a foundry stamp “cire perdue A.G. Paris” (est. managed more than high estimate, bringing $2,300, and another P.J. Mene offering, depicting three hunting dogs at a den closed precisely at high estimate of $2,500. Rounding up the pack of top-selling bronzes was an enameled, silvered and gilt bronze figure of a semi nude “Dream Girl,” cast from a model by Erte (est. $2,000-$3,000), which ended above high estimate at $3,750.
Following Saturday’s excitement, the staff at Antique Helper quickly transformed the showroom into a reading room, as they put on their first-ever Books and Ephemera Auction. Spearheaded by AH’s newest staff member, DeWayne Butler, this sale had a few fireworks of its own. “Pictorial Battles of the Civil War,” an 1885 volume by David Porter sold for $250 to an eBay bidder, and a 1907 ledger detailing the Nancy Lincoln Memorial closed at $120. A 12-volume leather bound collection by Indiana author James Whitcomb Riley closed at $180, to an eBay bidder, and a copy of “Raintree County” signed by author Ross Lockridge Jr. closed at $300, also going to an eBay bidder. But the highest-selling item of the day was an antique, Bible, dating from 1613, including Old and New Testaments, closing at $775, to an eBay bidder.
The month of April promises to be full of new findings at Antique Helper. Scheduled auctions include a Modern Design auction scheduled for Sunday April 3, an Art and Antiques auction taking place on Sunday, April 10, and a Costume, Bakelite and Estate Jewelry sale on Sunday, April 24. As always, there will be plenty of non-eBay discovery items for local buyers to bid on, as well as a treasure-trove of newly catalogued lots offered at each of these sales.