Allan Adler sterling service realizes $15,525 at auction A 132-piece modern hammered sterling flatware service for 12 by California silversmith Allan Adler sold for $15,525 at a multi-estate sale held June 13-14 by Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd.
News-Antique.com - Jun 22,2009 - (HILLSBOROUGH, N.C.) – An important and complete 132-piece modern hammered sterling flatware service for twelve, by the renowned California silversmith Allan Adler sold for $15,525 at an Historic Hillsborough Auction held June 13-14 by Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. It was the grand opening event for the firm in its new gallery location, at 620 Cornerstone Court in Hillsborough.
Allan Adler honed his craft in California in the 1930s, and developed a strong following among many Hollywood celebrities (he once hosted Katharine Hepburn at his workbench as an apprentice), as well as presidents, museum curators and silver collectors. He once described his work as “clean lines with a bent toward the unconventional,” and that was evident in the large service that changed hands.
The silver service was the top earner of the more than 800 lots that crossed the block during the two days. About 250 people packed the showroom for the Saturday session, while around 150 bidders were counted on Sunday. A little less than 1,000 pre-absentee and phone bids were recorded going into Saturday. Internet bidding was brisk via LiveAuctioneers.com, with 450-500 registered online bidders.
“There was a great deal of anticipation leading up to the premiere event at our new gallery,” said Leland Little of Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. “The results exceeded our expectations. The auction was a hit, and everyone was favorably impressed with our modern, 10,000-square-foot facility. It’s a great environment for buyers and sellers to view items from our collections that come to market.”
The sale was preceded by a week-long preview, highlighted by an Opening Night Gala on June 11, at which the noted antiques expert Albert Sack had kind words to say about Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd.; and a special lecture presentation on June 12 by Johanna M. Brown, director of collections and a curator at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA). Another MESDA curator, June Lucas, will be the guest speaker at the firm’s cataloged auction scheduled for Dec. 5-6.
Following are additional highlights from the sale. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
The runner-up top lot was a French mid-19th century Raingo Freres figural mantle clock that served as cover art for the auction catalog. Featuring a porcelain signed dial and unmarked time and strike brass movement set within a gilt bronze urn on a matching acanthus footed base, the clock brought $9,775. Also, an ornate German wall clock made in 1880 and with nice color and patina realized $2,990.
A signed Tiffany Studios counterbalance desk lamp with heavy patinated bronze construction throughout and a webbed damascene shade lit up the room for $8,912; an Irish sterling silver soup tureen with cover (Georgian, 1821), with figural engravings, soared to $8,050; and a Staffordshire historic blue plate (circa 1820s), commemorating Gen. Lafayette’s 1824-25 tour of the U.S., hit $2,530.
Fine art was offered in abundance. A 19th-century American still life theorem (watercolor on velvet) rose to $8,625; a