American Brilliant Cut Glass to be auctioned May 31st Four important collections of American Brilliant Cut Glass will be sold at auction on Saturday, May 31st, at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Mo., by Woody Auction of Douglass, Kansas
HUNDREDS OF PIECES OF AMERICAN BRILLIANT CUT GLASS FROM FOUR IMPORTANT COLLECTIONS TO BE SOLD AT AUCTION ON SATURDAY, MAY 31, BY WOODY AUCTION
Sale's top lot promises to be a solid apple green “White House” wine glass, cut in the “Lincoln” pattern
(St. Charles, Mo.) - Four important collections of American Brilliant Cut Glass – the rare and often colorful decorative glass pieces made mostly in this country between 1876 and 1916 and highly sought after by collectors – will be sold at auction on Saturday, May 31st, at the St. Charles Convention Center, starting at 9:30 a.m.. The sale will be held by Woody Auction of Douglass, Kansas.
One collection in particular figures to stand out from the rest -- that of Bill and Alta Barnett of Colts Neck, N.J. The couple has been collecting American Brilliant Cut Glass (ABCG) since the late '80s, he because he considers each piece “an artistic technical marvel” and she as someone who appreciates the art form. The Barnetts' collection comprises over 200 pieces, in a variety of categories.
One piece especially is expected to attract intense bidder interest, both for its rarity and beauty as well as for its historical significance. It is a 4-1/2” solid apple green “White House” wine glass, cut in the “Lincoln” pattern. Seven re-orders were issued for this item after the initial order was submitted by Mrs. Lincoln, in 1861. The “Lincoln” wine glass will be sold with a modest reserve price.
“I can't stress enough the importance of this glass,” said Jason Woody of Woody Auction. “First, its lineage can be traced to the Lincoln White House, making it a true piece of American history. A letter indicates the glass was purchased from the estate of a high-ranking Naval officer who fought in the Civil War. Also, the glass is green, not the customary red. I know of only one other such example.”
Four companies have filled cut glass orders for the White House. Dorflinger is believed to be the cutter for the “Lincoln” wine glass. A red version sold at auction in March 2004, for a reported $22,750 (less the buyer's premium), through Christie's. The green glass is so rare, Woody Auction and the Barnetts had to refer to the book “White House Glassware” by Jane Spillman of the Corning Museum to research its provenance.
American Brilliant Cut Glass enjoyed a 40-year reign, until right around the outbreak of World War I. In her book “Antiques Roadshow Primer,” Carol Prisant wrote, “The finest moment for American cut glass was the period from 1880-1915, when large, elaborate and brilliantly sparkling punch bowl sets, odd-shaped relish trays, mustard jars, bowls, lamps and novelty items were made.”
The audience for these decorative beauties was “a newly wealthy and innocently ostentatious middle class,” Ms. Prisant wrote, adding, “How better to reflect those nouveau riches, after all, than to spread one's tabletop with glassy diamonds?” America led the way in the