A celebration of expert silversmithing, Heritage Auctions
Nov. 15 Silver & Vertu Signature® Auction soared to $1,808,011, exceeding its presale estimate by more than $360,000.
Featuring works by American masters like Gorham Mfg. Co. and Tiffany & Co., as well as pieces by English greats such as Charles Johnston Hill and John Bridge, the auction teemed with exquisitely detailed examples from some of the most notable names in silver and bidders took notice.
Collectors, dealers and institutions competed vigorously for the best silver available, says Karen Rigdon, Vice President of Fine Silver & Decorative Arts at Heritage Auctions. This was a great silver auction bookended by two large collections amassed in the 20th century. Between them laid treasures untold with results that far exceeded expectations.
Leading the auction was a circa 1880 Tiffany & Co. Silver and Mixed Metal Tray, which sold for $52,500, surpassing its presale estimate of $30,000-$50,000. From the Property of a Southern Gentleman, the hand-hammered tray features a finely chased gold-winged dragonfly and a tomato vine embellished with copper and brass details.
Other well-performing Tiffany & Co. lots included an 1877 Silver Walrus Ice Bowl that realized $51,250, a circa 1865 Silver Bacchanal-Themed Punch Bowl that realized $37,500 and an 1893 Silver Yachting Trophy that sold for $43,750. The trophy is one of two cups commissioned by John J. Astor for a three-day race held for American contenders of the Americas Cup.
The two large collections that bookended the sale featured material long off the market. From the estate of Fort Worth philanthropist Mildred Hedrick Fender granddaughter of Ross S. Sterling, founder of Humble Oil and the 31st governor of Texas came an extensive collection of English silver. Highlights included a pair of Charles Reily & George Storer Silver Candelabra that sold for $35,000, a Charles Johnston Hill Silver Reticulated Jardinière that realized $28,750 and a John Bridge Silver Covered Tureen that sold for $27,500.
The other collection belonged to Mrs. D. Wayne (Janice) Calloway, Dallas, whose husband was chairman and CEO of PepsiCo from 1986 to 1996. The couple were known for lavish gatherings where they played host to American and international dignitaries. Calloways wide-ranging assemblage included Reed & Barton Francis I lots that realized $263,000, including a seven-piece Silver Tea and Coffee Service that sold for $25,000.
Other highlights included two Gorham Mfg. Co. lots that were exhibited at the 1893 Columbia Exhibition: a Partial-Gilt Silver Rectangular Centerbowl that realized $16,250 and a Partial Gilt Silver Covered Butter Dish that sold for $9,375, as well as two lots that show continued interest in the best late 19th-century American flatware servers: a rare Tiffany & Co. Japanesque Multi-Color Partial Gilt Silver Fish Serving Set that sold for $9,687 and a Gorham Mfg. Co. Narragansett Pattern Partial Gilt Silver Shell-Form Ladle that realized $15,000.