Heavy metal: Tiffany silver, antique armor shine at Morphy's Feb. 24-25 auction There was strong competition for Tiffany silver and antique armor at Morphy’s
Feb. 24-25 auction. Tiffany bowls served up a $134,400 winning bid; candelabra followed at $111,600.
News-Antique.com - Mar 05,2012 - DENVER, Pa. – The hammer came down decisively on several prized auction lots at Morphy’s Feb. 24-25, 2012 sale of antiques, art and vintage collectibles, which drew 1,800 unique bidders in the gallery, over the phones and via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com. The 1,404-lot offering grossed $1,620,000 (inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium), with two consecutively auctioned lots of Tiffany silver ringing the register at $246,000.
“We knew the silver was special and of fantastic quality. There was great interest in all of the antique silver prior to and during the auction,” said Morphy’s CEO Dan Morphy. “Even when the bidding on each of the Tiffany lots reached $80,000, there were still four active players, and at $90,000, there were three.”
A New York bidder prevailed on both of the Tiffany headliners – a pair of circa-1882 sterling center bowls with wavy rims and footed, domed bases, which sold for $134,400 (est. $40,000-$60,000); and a pair of nine-arm candelabra that garnered $111,600 (est. $60,000-$80,000). All four pieces were richly chased and embossed with rocaille work and a marine motif that included seaweed, tritons, seahorses and mermaids.
After the auction, Morphy received several calls from silver aficionados who told him that the candlesticks had outperformed an identical single example that had appeared in a high-profile auction last year. “Apparently one candelabrum exactly like those in our auction sold for around $20,000 at one of the big New York auction houses several months ago. They’re obviously much more desirable as a pair.”
Another outstanding lot in the silver section was the 1899 Gorham silver martele (hammered) water pitcher with chased, embossed finish. The baluster-form vessel had been created for the Chicago firm Spaulding & Co., and was extensively hallmarked and identified in a cartouche under the base. Estimated at $10,000-$15,000, it made $27,000.
Morphy said the silver results did not go unnoticed by collectors who monitor silver prices through auctions. “In fact, we’ve already received phone calls from other people who want to consign their silver to one of our future sales,” Morphy said.
An admitted white-knuckler for Morphy was the lifetime antique armor collection consigned by renowned Hollywood animator and film director Frank Andrina. “Armor is very much a European-based collectible, and we were anxious to show that Morphy Auctions could tap into a European-based market. As it turned out, our targeted marketing was very successful. Remote bidders – many of them from European countries – kept our staff very busy throughout the armor section of the sale.”
A circa-1580 German two-handed sword, 75 inches long with a flambé edge and embossed markings, handily surpassed expectations at $21,600; while a circa-16th-century mace constructed entirely of hand-forged steel more than doubled its high estimate at $16,800. An Italian or German Savoyard-style helmet made to cover the warrior’s entire head and neck, with cut-out holes for the eyes, was expected to reach $4,000-$8,000 but went the extra mile to $15,600.
Frank Andrina’s wife, Barbee, was present at the sale, along with daughter Michelle, son-in-law