In carrying on the legacy of James D. Julia, the venerable New England auction house it acquired last year, Morphy Auctions will present a Dec. 5-6 sale featuring exquisite fine and decorative art from the highest echelons of 19th- and early 20th-century American and European production.
Among the 1,539 lots to be auctioned over two days are exceptional rarities by Tiffany Studios, Daum Nancy, Galle, Martin Brothers, Thomas Webb, and many of their revered contemporaries. Paintings and other artworks are led by such widely collected artists as Jasper Cropsey and Alexander Calder, while the extensive fine jewelry section is topped by an 18K gold Rolex Daytona Ref 6241 “Paul Newman” wristwatch in the rare John Player Special black-and-gold color variation.
Shining brightly above the art glass are several very special Tiffany Studios lamps. One of them, having a signed leaded-glass shade in the Poppy pattern with lush purple and maroon flowers against a mottled blue background, stands atop a signed, decorated bronze base. Another standout features a leaded-glass shade with an intricate pattern of gentian blossoms and a single band of emerald-green chunk “jewels” encircling the skirt. It is similar to an example in the book Tiffany Lamps and Metalware. Also not to be missed in the Tiffany lineup are a Dragonfly lamp with a very rare mosaic-tile base, and a lovely red and pink floral-pattern Peony lamp.
Other fine lamps include examples by Duffner & Kimberly, Handel and Wilkinson, but perhaps the most unusual of all is a 27-inch Daum table lamp with images of spread-winged bats carved into the shade. A magnificent Galle mold-blown Rhododendron lamp with matching shade and bulbous base is double-signed and similar to an example appearing in the book Galle Lamps.
Morphy’s gallery will also showcase the elegant palettes of Tiffany, Loetz, Galle and Daum Nancycameo glass. Highlights include a Tiffany paperweight vase in the orange Nasturtium pattern, a Tiffany cameo vase, and a signed Daum Nancy vase with applied dragonflies.
Collectors of rare Martin Brothers stoneware bird tobacco jars can double their collecting pleasure on December 5. The session includes a very scarce form that combines two individually signed birds, both with removable heads.
The session is replete with 140 lots of fine jewelry and luxury timepieces, none more attention-grabbing than the most coveted of all men’s Rolexes: the 18K gold Ref 6241 “Paul Newman” Daytona Chronograph. However, the example in Morphy’s sale has the added distinction of a black dial with gold subdials, denoting a very rare variation known as the “John Player Special.” The suite of features corresponds with the black and gold brand colors of the John Player (UK) tobacco company’s 1970s-era Le Mans racer.
“It’s a one-owner watch that was manufactured in 1969 and purchased in Zurich on the Bahnhofstrasse – one of the world’s most exclusive shopping avenues – in 1970,” said Ron Ciarmello, Head of Morphy Auctions’ Watch Division. “Every Daytona watch bound for the United States had a three-letter export code stamped on its movement. This one does not, because it was not made for export. It remained in Switzerland, making it even more desirable to today’s collectors.” Auction estimate: $400,000–$800,000
There are many pieces of estate jewelry and luxe accessories in the sale, including signed examples by Tiffany & Co., and Tiffany/Jean Schlumberger; and a rare and important Faberge gold-mounted guilloche enamel cigarette case by workmaster Henrik Wigstrom, St. Petersburg, 1908-1917.
Day two will showcase fine art, antiques, silver and furniture, as well as Asian art and an estate collection of silver trophies.