Finely carved English cameo art glass vase by Thomas Webb soars to $260,000 at Woody Auction, May 29 A museum-quality, finely carved English cameo art glass vase by Thomas Webb, 9 ½ inches tall and boasting a figural rendering signed “G. Woodall 1887,” soared to $260,000 at an auction held May 29th.
News-Antique.com - Jun 09,2014 - WICHITA, Kan. – A museum-quality, finely carved English cameo art glass vase by Thomas Webb, 9 ½ inches tall and boasting a figural rendering signed “G. Woodall 1887,” soared to $260,000 at Part 2 of the sale of the lifetime collection of porcelain and fine art glass gathered over the course of five decades by the late Dr. Ernest Rieger and his wife Karin, held May 29th.
The auction took place at the Double Tree (Airport Hilton) in Wichita and was conducted by Woody Auction, based in Douglass, Kan. It was the highest price ever paid for a single item at a Woody Auction sale – no small feat considering the firm has been conducting auctions in the Midwest for decades. The firm also conducted the Part 1 auction, which grossed $1.3 million.
Part 2 did even better, grossing $1.8 million, helped along, of course, by the Thomas Webb vase, which carried a pre-sale estimate of $50,000-$100,000. “We knew we had something special, and we fully expected it to reach and surpass $100,000, but when it climbed as high as it did, we were just astounded,” said Jason Woody of Woody Auction. “But it truly is a remarkable vase.”
Thomas Webb & Sons was founded in England in 1842 by Mr. Webb. It was known for the high quality of its cameo glass. The example in the auction had been pictured in the book English Cameo Glass by Grover. Woodall’s figural depiction was titled The Origin of Painting. The vase was signed by both Webb and Woodall. The buyer was a serious collector from West Virginia.
“Even though the top lot was a piece by Thomas Webb, it was the Tiffany people who really drove this sale,” Woody said. “They hadn’t seen such high quality glass come available in a long time. And the audience was literally worldwide. We had a Japanese man and his secretary fly in just for the auction, and he ended up spending $50,000. Many bids poured in from the UK, too.”
By day’s end, 432 lots had come up for bid and found new owners (it was an absolute auction; everything sold, regardless of price). About 150 people attended the event in person; around 95 of those held bidder numbers. Another 850 registered to bid online, via LiveAuctioneers.com. Bids were fielded from as many as 45 countries, and many absentee (or left) bids were recorded.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted are hammer. There is no buyer’s premium at a Woody Auction.
Two lots tied for runner-up honors, at $45,000 each. One was another Thomas Webb & Sons English cameo art glass vase, signed “G. Woodall.” The 8 ½ inch vase had a blue background with carved white opal overlay featuring a young lady and a bird. The other lot was a 17 ¼ inch tall signed Tiffany art glass vase with a beautiful red body and green iridescent decorated neck.
Right behind, at $44,000, was an outstanding 13 ¾ inch