Originally Published by Antique Week January 14, 2013
BY CAROLE DEUTSCH
ORANGE, Calif. — The Don Presley New Year’s Auction held on December 30st and January 1st has become a landmark “celebration” auction and the most widely attended for the popular California auction house.
High quality merchandise, a fully catered food court, and eager bidders have characterized the holiday sale for the past 35 years and this year held true to form. “It was fabulous,” Presley said. “There was standing room only, and out the door. It was one of our best auctions and a promising start for the new year.”
A total of 2,000 online bidders registered from 50 countries, plus the “packed house” brought keen competition for the 1,231 lots of exceptional period English, French, and American furniture, fine art, sterling silver, coins, jewelry, porcelains, and Asian artifacts. Foremost makers and artisans were well represented in every
genre. It was the best of the best, with 45-year auction veteran Don Presley characterizing it as a sale “fit for royalty.”
Outstanding furniture was highlighted by a museum quality peitra dura cabinet that was signed Guiseppe Montelatici Fabbricante and dated 1883. The impressive 70 ¼ inch tall piece had 10 interior drawers and a two-door center compartment behind two doors that were decorated with a peitra dura flower vase motif and a top with an elaborate finial accented gallery. This excellent example of late 19th century Italian craftsmanship achieved $39,100. A 19th century ormolu mounted mirrored back vitrine that stood 62 inches tall was signed, “F. Linke,” and sold for $28,750. A bronze ormolu mounted table with a malachite top and a malachite urn situated on the stretcher base achieved $10,350.
Chief among a group of important clocks was an 1860-1920 Lenzkirch Co. tall case clock ornamented with bronze mythological ram’s heads and other elaborate bronze embellishments and singed “LSF.” Lenzkirch clocks were made in Germany between 1860 and 1932 and are among the most highly prized among collectors. This example was 94 inches tall, finished with a superlative gallery topped with an ornate bronze urn finial, as it fetched $10,350.
Presley’s assessment of the auction as “fit for royalty” was confirmed with the offering of a group of fine silver items, including a sterling silver tea set made for the 1829 royal wedding of Princess Pauline Von Wurttenberg and William, Duke of Nassau. The six-piece, 314 troy ounces, tea set, engraved for the occasion, brought an impressive price of $31,625.
Porcelains sold extremely well, while Meissen remained in particular demand commanding strong prices on every lot. A desirable 19th century Meissen 22-piece figural monkey band that was estimated at $3,000-5,000 soared to a realized price of $23,000. A spectacular 19th century Meissen Rococo mirror with an allover floral motif of figural birds and putti had Meissen marks on every element as it brought the handsome price of $17,250.
Sevres also performed impressively. A cup and saucer was made in the classic Sevres cobalt blue background against an allover gold decoration that depicted mythological figures. Bidding on this sought-after item started at $200 and escalated to the surprising price of $23,000 against a presale estimate of $400-600. A Sevres jeweled and ormolumounted three-piece mantel garniture clock set, catalogued as “a magnificent quality, retailed by Ovington Brothers,” measured 28 1/2 inches tall. The clock was mounted with a vase form central element depicting a pastoral scene that was complementary to the candelabras, with the set selling for $27,600.
Among a selection of fine art was an oil on canvas, signed and dated Hans Zatzka 1904. It portrayed a blond-haired maiden holding a tureen of assorted fruit and was mounted in a gilt frame and sold for $17,250. A price of $16,675 was paid for another Hans Zatzka oil on canvas in a gilt frame that portrayed a dark haired woman picking roses in a garden near the sea.
Decorative items of note included a First Empire gilt bronze center piece with crowned and winged goddess figural supports and laurel leaf decorative elements. The piece stood 21 inches tall and realized a price of $13,800. A large carerra marble statue of Pauline Bonaparte posing in reclining position with an apple in her hand sold for $9,488.
Prices reflect a 15% buyer’s premium.