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Numbers Stack Up Quickly at Auction of American Brilliant Cut Glass

Barbara Kevles | December 14th, 2013


Even without an advertised pattern, a signature on a desired shape can edge bidding way above the highest estimate, as was the case with this signed Hawkes 6" tall and 11¾" wide punch bowl without stand from the collection of the Reverend Young. However, an ACGA member later identified the pattern as the Hawkes Alpine pattern, in production by 1896 and published in a Hawkes catalog circa 1900, an assessment with which Jason Woody agrees. Under a scalloped, serrated rim, two parallel chains of 16-point hobstars divided by overlapping vesicas form clear diamonds encasing deeply mitered crosses—the telltale mark of the Alpine pattern. A California collector, attending Woody Auction for the first time, offered the final $1700 bid—almost twice the $1000 high estimate—for the Hawkes signed punch bowl in the unadvertised Alpine pattern.


Despite damage and defects publicized in the auction catalog and on line, bidders still opened their wallets and credit cards for certain signed rare patterns or ones with a book reference. Two misshapen teeth on lot 20, a signed J. Hoare bowl in the rarely seen Trellis pattern, didn’t deter a collector who bought it in a minute of bidding for well over its estimate. One of the most desirable patterns of the Brilliant age, the signed J. Hoare Trellis pattern on this really exquisite 4¾" tall and 10" wide bowl shows interwoven deeply carved clear channels. These channels form a wonderful lattice of squares in which sit almost three-dimensional four-sided hobnails topped by hobstars which protrude sharply on the outer surface of the bowl, making it prickly to touch. In spite of two teeth with slight inwardly slanted chips, a collector on the floor bid up the price of the coveted signed J. Hoare bowl in the exceptionally cut Trellis pattern to $7000, almost twice its high $4000 estimate.


Signatures by cutting houses and rarity of patterns influenced what buyers were willing to pay for clear Brilliant cut glass pieces. A Hawkes signed mayonnaise bowl and matching plate in the gorgeous exceedingly rare Panel pattern brought $6750, more than double its $3000 high estimate. The 7" wide underplate displays no fewer than 16 narrow, evenly spaced, clear cut channels that create panels of gradually increasingly larger hobstars radiating out from a center hobstar like a big sunburst. A 5½" wide bowl in the matching Panel pattern sits on the underplate for a 3½" combined height. Rows of triple miters outline the edge and mid base of the bowl and underplate. Before the auction, an ACGA member predicted, “They will get the $750 starting price because the plate alone is worth that. People collect 7" plates because they show the complete pattern.” The set was bitterly contested, forcing a collector present up to a $6750 closing bid for the Hawkes signed Panel pattern mayonnaise set. Jason Woody said, “It’s a rare pattern, and then to see it on a different shape, it just struck a good chord with a lot of people.”


A sought-after pattern without a signature or book reference can also excite interest, as did an 11½" diameter Pairpoint tray in the Myrtle pattern from the Reverend Young’s collection. In this rare pattern, an eye-catching 32-point center hobstar is encircled by a smaller row of 13 hobstars separated by side-by-side notched prisms between which reside unusual fields of hob diamond hexads. Pairpoint used the hob diamond hexad motif in only one pattern—the Myrtle pattern, according to The Eye for Minutia: The Research Notes of Leigh Emmerson (published by the Family of Leigh Emmerson, 2007, pp. 62-63). A row of 13 larger hobstars repeats near the rim accentuated by fans. An absentee together with nearly half a dozen bidders from the floor vied for this round tray in the hard-to-find size Myrtle pattern by Pairpoint. Bids climbed by $100 after a $1000 bid till a collector surpassed them all with a final price of $1600, twice the tray’s high estimate.


Some lots were in a class of their own. The rare 1¾" deep and 8" wide five-section demonstration bowl from the Reverend Ellsworth Young’s collection displays the prodigious effort behind this art form. It shows the clear blank, outlined blank, rough cut, fine cut, and polished cut together with a value-enhancing engraved “T.G. Hawkes & Co.” signature. Said Woody, “We’ve had demonstration bowls before, but not with a Hawkes engraved signature.” In one section, a designer marked with red lead the outline of a hobstar, miter, rim, and motifs on the smooth crystal blank. In the adjacent section, a cutter roughed the deep major miters and notches of the rim. In the next section, another cutter finely cut the hobnail of the hobstar, step-cutting of the extended hobstar point, and the rim notches. In the last section, a polisher has applied a pumice to smooth the rough and fine line work to bring out the brilliance of the glass. A deeply carved miter crosses two other miters and protrudes slightly into a fifth pocket. But this abridged miter stops short to allow space for the engraved scripted “T. G. Hawkes & Co.” signature to be displayed in all its fullness in the clear fifth section. Bidding proceeded at a ferocious pace. It took just a minute for a dealer to submit a $2000 closing bid—two and a half times the $800 high estimate.


Collectors avidly pursue an unsigned piece if the pattern was created by a highly respected cutting-house designer, as with a two-part punch bowl and cup set in the Libbey Anne pattern by Anderson. The Reverend Ellsworth Young had purchased the punch set at Tumbleson, a Princeton, Illinois, auction house, which was selling the long held set for a local family. This exquisite 14" tall x 13" wide punch bowl resides on a matching base with five punch cups; all display the fairly rare intricate Anne pattern designed by William C. Anderson, who for years had worked for the Libbey Glass Company and its predecessor, the New England Glass Company, until he founded his own firm in 1897. Beneath this ample punch bowl’s sawtooth rim, large hobstars with flat stars on center hobnails alternate with vesicas outlined by zippers and flashed fans. The vesicas enclose large and small hobstars with plain button hobnails separated by crosshatching. Within a minute after the lot opened, a collector submitted the final $1600 bid for the punch set with the Anderson-designed pattern—double the low estimate of $800.


The sides of this 4" tall x 9" wide bowl feature large prominent hobstars with miniature hobstars cut on the hobnails alternating with smaller hobstars with center rayed stars. Both motifs are encased by patterns of crisscrossing miters and crosshatching above which an elegant sawtooth rim presides over repetitive crossing miters. In a note, collector the Reverend Ellsworth Young identified the pattern as Valencia, designed by Walter Egginton for T.G. Hawkes, “patented in Washington, D.C. in 1890.” The Woody Auction catalog gives “1893” as the patent date. Hawkes never patented the Valencia pattern. Thomas G. Hawkes was granted a pattern patent June 3, 1890, for Venetian, not Valencia. Walter Egginton received a patent January 17, 1893, for his Valencian pattern while working for T. G. Hawkes & Company. Master Index of Brilliant Cut Glass Patterns, Book Three, compiled by Judy Northup, Cindy and Price Chandler, Don Kosterman, Lynda Carrigan, Rich Encelewski, and others, edited by Val and Rob Smith (V-R Information Systems, 2011, p. 348), calls the pattern “Valencian, variation.” Without attribution to the Egginton design, the auction piece would be of less value. It sold for $13,000.

Woody Auction LLC, St. Charles, Missouri

Photos courtesy Woody Auction LLC

Woody Auction LLC held its largest 2013 auction of American Brilliant cut glass on December 14 at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Missouri, 30 minutes northwest of the port city of St. Louis.

Recognized as the country’s premier auction house for American Brilliant cut glass (dating 1876-1914), Woody Auction didn’t disappoint. This 50-year-old midwestern auction house offered 250 lots from over 2000 pieces amassed by American Cut Glass Association (ACGA) life-member the Reverend Ellsworth Young of Illinois. The Young selections, along with three small collections and special consignments, brought the sale catalog listings to 408 lots. The auction achieved a 100% sell-through rate.

The highlights of the Reverend Young’s decades of canvassing auctions and collectors in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Indiana, while a pastor for the Waltham Presbyterian Church near Utica in northern Illinois, attracted top collectors and dealers from all over the country. An exceedingly rare bluish-turquoise cut-to-clear bowl elicited an astonished “unbelievable color” from a veteran West Coast dealer. Another find by the Reverend Young, a signed Fritchie exquisite lime green wine bore a scripted “G” for the table service of Elbert Gary, president and board chairman of U.S. Steel, America’s first billion-dollar corporation.

It was an East Coast silver collector, however, who provided the two-color ewer that Woody Auction co-owner and auctioneer Jason Woody heralded in the weeks prior as the lot that might break the record. Found at a wealthy family’s estate sale, the 1890s dark cranberry over clear over pale rose ewer, attributed to J. Hoare & Company, exhibited a richly decorated hand-hammered repoussé Gorham sterling spout, collar, and handle. The ewer’s starting bid was set at $10,000.

Asked what price this lot might command, Gray Sexton, the attorney for the ACGA and collector for 40 years, who bought a sister piece ten years prior at the first ACGA Dallas convention for $18,250, said, “When a top piece comes up for sale, it could go through the roof. This is a top piece, and I don’t know what the roof is anymore.”

Nowadays, Woody Auction is listed as the seller for collections in estate wills, but when founder John Woody, Jason’s father, put on his first auction in 1963, he didn’t have that kind of renowned and steady stream of inventory. However, he came from a family of successful risk-takers. When his great-grandfather, who fought in the Civil War on the Union side, returned home to farm in Rocky Point, North Carolina, he started teaching blacks to read and write. His neighbors burned his barn. So in 1877, this man of strong convictions moved over a thousand miles to homestead in Kansas, 16 years after Kansas was admitted to the United States as a slave-free state. Under the Homestead Act of 1862, applicants were awarded 160 acres of unappropriated federal land within the boundaries of public land states.

John Woody grew up on that original 160-acre land grant farm on the outskirts of Douglass, Kansas, a half-hour from Wichita. His dad, Milton Woody, scratched out a living with wheat, corn, and alfalfa crops, supplemented by mule trading. Milton Woody also ran auctions of farm land and equipment anywhere within a 25-mile radius of Douglass. “The cardinal rule my dad taught me,” said John Woody, “is keep your word. Once you make a deal, you can’t back up,” a professional ethic that permeates Woody Auction today.

From an early age, John Woody showed an uncanny talent for securing undervalued items and selling them for profit—as a serious horse trader at age eight and as a reseller of car parts at age 12. In the summer of 1962, at age 20, he was hired to help auction everything “to the walls” in Case tractor dealerships, which were going bankrupt in the face of newer, more improved John Deere tractor models. That same summer, he also worked for an antiques auction in Hutchinson, Kansas. The following spring of 1963, he quit college to go into the auction business. “It just happened,” he said. He bought a carnival glass collection from a Kansas lady, and bidders from 25 states came to his first auction.

At the start, Woody Auction concentrated on high-end antiques. During his travels to inspect collections before the invention of the Internet, John Woody never stopped asking at filling stations, drugstores, and diners for names of “anybody who wanted to sell old glass.” Despite the occasional business disappointment, the reputation of Woody Auction grew. It became known as the go-to house among buyers and sellers for American Brilliant cut glass, quality art glass such as Daum Nancy (French cameo), Gallé, iridescent Loetz glass, and R.S. Prussia and Royal Bayreuth china. But Woody never instituted a buyer’s reserve—a pre-auction price decided by seller and auctioneer that a piece will bring or it won’t sell. “We have none of that,” said John Woody. “It’s against federal law to do reserves unless you disclose it, so we don’t get involved with that.”

For years, Woody Auction didn’t allow phone bids. After 9/11 grounded airlines, customers asked for Internet bidding. So Woody did a live trial run of limited lots and then a full auction with Proxibid, an on-line auction site featuring real-time bidding. As a result, the auction house adopted Internet bidding. “We wanted to perform the best we could for our sellers,” said current co-owner Jason Woody. “The way to do that is to get the most people interested in our auction.” Woody eventually switched from Proxibid to LiveAuctioneers.

In 2007, after over 40 years at the helm, John Woody retired at age 65 from day-to-day management and turned the family business over to his youngest son, Jason, who started at eight catching bids, then moved up to clerking, auctioning, and accepting and identifying collections for sale. During that ownership transition, the company name changed from Woody Auction to Woody Auction LLC.

Biting cold rainy winter weather greeted travelers who checked in at their hotels for the Friday preview a day before the auction. In the plush carpeted, high-ceiled Grand Ballroom B, lots sat numerically arranged on rows of shelf units or stocked tables to the right of the entrance and 110 thickly cushioned banquet chairs. One L-shaped row against a long wall displayed clear American Brilliant cut glass on well-lit, black, reflective shelves resting on red aproned tables. The color cut-to-clear pieces occupied their own center section on a white acrylic shelf unit to better show off their sparkling colors. Across a small aisle, another shorter row of cloth-covered tables showcased the remaining glassware. Buyers could pick up lots up for closer examination, and many did.

Dealers and collectors who braved nasty winter weather gained not only the chance to inspect prospective buys but also guaranteed themselves a financial advantage at the auction. Bidders from the floor paying with cash or checks got the buyer’s premium waived. By contrast, absentee and Internet bidders would pay a buyer’s premium mandated by their payment method. Absentees receive a surcharge of 10% of the sale price if using a check or 15% with a credit card. Similarly, Internet bidders are charged a 15% premium on the sale price for checks and an 18% premium for a credit card. All pay applicable taxes. (All prices in this report include buyer’s premium if charged.)

A heavy snowstorm that had been predicted late that night didn’t curtail top dealers and top collectors, not only from the East, but from all over the country, from attending the preview. During the event, dealer Saied Hosseini of Upland, California, who had made the record-setting $75,000 bid in March 2013 for a turquoise cut-to-clear claret jug with an embossed Gorham sterling silver spout with lid attributed to J. Hoare & Co., deliberately kept a low profile. “People watch me like a hawk,” said Hosseini.

Because of the weather, the 96-year-old Reverend Ellsworth Young decided not to drive the over 200 miles to the St. Charles auction.

Before the auction’s start, Jeanine Cody, who oversees on-line bidding, took a seat along the left wall with a bidder’s card in hand ready to indicate to her brother Jason Woody any on-line bid visible on her laptop screen or to punch a button to indicate accepted bids to alert viewers and registered Internet bidders following the auction on the LiveAuctioneers Web site.

Sitting beside Jason Woody was his son Justin, a college freshman, who, as many times before, would serve as the auction clerk, recording each lot’s final sale price and bidder number on a computer so any buyer could quickly pay the cashier, his mother and co-owner of Woody Auction, Melinda Woody, without waiting for the receipt of the clerk’s sheets. Close to the appointed hour, a message appeared on line for “Bidding in Sale 47528.” It read, “Thank you for joining us. Getting ready to start.” The Woody auction began promptly at 9:30 a.m.

The auction was periodically punctuated by relics of luxurious living of America’s Gilded Age, namely curios like an American Brilliant cut glass pedestal hatpin holder, butter pats, knife rests, tazza, finger bowls, a ramekin, and a dinner bell. But the auction show-stoppers were the colored pieces, some of which commanded the highest bids, the silver-mounted pieces, and pieces with rare patterns, which created delightful surprises and heart-rending disappointments alike for sellers.

Over 50 years ago when Woody Auction began selling Brilliant period glass, the bulk of collectors eschewed colored glass for clear. In the last decade, color pieces have become popular, commanding prices in the $5000 to $10,000 range. At a November 15, 2008, Woody Auction, that changed. A cranberry cut-to-clear Tiffany sterling silver-mounted water pitcher in the Dorflinger #99 pattern was bid up to $49,000. 

A two-color ewer in this sale could have set a new record for American Brilliant cut glass if it had been fashioned in the rarer turquoise rather than the more frequently seen cranberry. This 13¾" tall dark cranberry over clear over pale rose ewer, attributed to J. Hoare and Company, was cataloged as “Identical” to a sister piece owned by collectors Gray and Suzanne Sexton, pictured in Glass of Gorham (published by the American Cut Glass Association in collaboration with John Hay Library, Brown University, and Rakow Research Library, Corning Museum of Glass, 2012, p. PC-24). The book reference enhanced its value. The ewer carried a $20,000/40,000 estimate.

A repoussé hand-hammered sterling collar and spout of exquisite floral design attach to a candy cane- shaped filigreed sterling handle with a beautifully crafted wreath. The handle curves downward linking to a narrow four-rung sterling band with applied button flowers midway up from the bottom of this vase-shaped pitcher. The silver marks on the band next to the toe of the handle read “Sterling” next to the Gorham trademark of the lion, the anchor, and the initial “G.”

Typical of the cane zipper and swirl filler design, a lattice of cane with clear button hobnails alternates with ribbons of curved double miters with channels of smooth cut pillars surrounding lanes of zippers. Though the East Coast silver collector found it hard to give up a piece of such beauty, he said, “It really belongs in a fine glass collection.”

Lot 50 opened with the bid increment set at $500. In the last row, Upland, California, dealer Saied Hosseini waited. An Internet bidder made the ask of $10,000. Hosseini raised his bidding card to his shoulder, just high enough for the auctioneer to see it. Someone from the crowd standing behind him bid against him. Hosseini didn’t look back. Bids were coming every second or less. “Every raised bid, I countered,” said Hosseini. In just over a minute Hosseini had secured the two-color ewer with elaborate silverwork with his winning $30,000 bid—nearly double the price paid ten years ago by collectors Gray and Suzanne Sexton for an identical ewer pictured in Glass of Gorham. Hosseini said, “It doesn’t take very long to stack the numbers when you know what you want.”

Asked the reason, Hosseini said, “It was cased cranberry glass with a unique sterling handle and top.” He alluded to the method by which the blower dips his pipe into colorless glass and then a compatible color to blow out the desired object so that cutting allows the colorless glass to show for contrast. Hosseini said, “Multilayered cased glass is more difficult to blow and valued more than regular cut glass.”

During the preview, lot 25, the extremely rare turquoise cut-to-clear bowl, provoked great interest not only because of its color, but also because of the long history typed by the Reverend Young accompanying it. Accordingly, the bowl had come from the estate of famed collector of Brilliant period glass Minnie Figi of Monroe, Wisconsin, whose father had purchased it at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair for his little girl. Asked why the provenance wasn’t advertised in the catalog listing, Jason Woody said, “There wasn’t a lot of documentation, except for the note. People like to have photos of an item at a location.”

The sides of this 4" tall, 9" wide bowl feature large prominent hobstars with miniature hobstars cut on the hobnails alternating with smaller hobstars with center rayed stars. Both motifs are encased by patterns of crisscrossing miters and crosshatching above which an elegant sawtooth rim presides over repetitive crossing miters. In his note, the Reverend Young identifies the pattern as Valencia, designed by Walter Egginton for T.G. Hawkes, “patented in Washington, D.C. June, 1890.” The Woody Auction catalog also lists the “Valencia Pattern By Hawkes Designed By Walter Egginton” but gives “1893” as the patent date.

At the preview, a longtime Texas collector, who owns nearly 100 color pieces, realized he lacked this color in his collection. In fact, he’d never seen that turquoise, which veered from the normal blue-green toward a rarer blue. Three veteran dealers agreed it was an Eggington pattern. If it wasn’t, the bowl would be valued less than the $5000/15,000 estimate.

With research, the Hawkes and Eggington attribution proved correct, but the facts didn’t support the pattern named or patent date given by the auction house and seller. Hawkes never patented the Valencia pattern. Thomas G. Hawkes was granted a pattern patent June 3, 1890, for Venetian, not Valencia. Walter Egginton received a patent January 17, 1893, for his Valencian pattern while working for T.G. Hawkes & Company.

So which pattern—Valencia or Valencian—decorates the bowl? Louise Boggess, who coauthored with her husband Bill Boggess Reflections on American Brilliant Cut Glass (Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1995, p. 187, color plate L 782), displays a replica of the Reverend Young’s bowl that she labels “the Valencia pattern by Hawkes.” However, in the book The Complete Cut & Engraved Glass of Corning (Crown, 1979, p. 113, fig. 402), Estelle S. Farrar and Jane S. Spillman reproduced an archived Hawkes catalog blueprint of a vase in the Hawkes polished Valencia pattern that looks nothing like the turquoise bowl. Nor is the patent for Valencia listed in their catalog of Hawkes patents from 1822-1914 (ibid., p. 59).

However, in Albert Christian Revi’s book American Cut and Engraved Glass (Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1965, p. 180), a tray pictured with the patent design for “‘Valencian’ pattern; patented Jan. 17, 1893, by Walter Egginton for T.G. Hawkes & Co.” bears a striking resemblance to the bowl. Its motifs match the split vesicas, hobstars, and crosshatching on its sides, but the tray’s center displays more themes than evident on the bowl bottom. Nonetheless, Revi’s example of the Valencian pattern reinforces the bowl’s true identification found in the monumental Master Index of Brilliant Cut Glass Patterns, Book Three, compiled by Judy Northup, Cindy and Price Chandler, Don Kosterman, Lynda Carrigan, Rich Encelewski, and others (edited by Val and Rob Smith, V-R Information Systems, 2011, p. 348).

Book three, which indexes Brilliant cut glass patterns starting with “V” on nearly 1700 pieces in numerous publications, calls the pattern found in the Boggess illustration “Valencian, variation.” The correctly named pattern by Eggington on the bowl supports the bowl’s auction estimate.

Six seconds after the lot opened, an Internet bidder met the $2500 ask. The bids rose quickly at $250 intervals. In less than a minute, they reached $10,000. Knowing the Texas collector was watching to see where the bids went, a nearby seatmate whispered softly, “You’re going to miss out.” At $12,000, the Texas collector entered the fierce floor fight with a $13,000 bid. Nobody tried to outbid him, perhaps because he paid $65,000—the second- highest price for American Brilliant cut glass to date—for a three-color cut-to-clear Dorflinger bowl in the Montrose pattern the previous year at Woody Auction.

The right bidders on lot 48, a gorgeous signed Fritchie rock crystal wine, from the Reverend Young’s collection, pushed the sale price to near the top of its $1000/5000 estimate. The unusual 6 5/8" tall wine displays a rich green bowl where deep cuttings made to resemble actual rock crystal combine with shallow, finely detailed copper wheel engravings to create varying shades of celery, lime, and grass green. The rim’s ribboned swag pattern and the bowl’s floral design punctuated by a dragon motif repeat with variations on the clear stem and sawtooth petticoat base. Sporting a monogrammed-scripted “G” on the bowl, this wine was part of an extensive table service made for Elbert H. Gary, a chief organizer of U.S. Steel. Jason Woody said, “We’ve sold Fritchie from the Gary service in the past, but never a colored one. That made it special.”

While a Bohemia-trained engraver named Fritchie worked in America in this period, glass historians debate whether the “Fritchie” signature on the Gary service is fake because the Gary set was ordered through Tiffany & Company, New York, and made in England. According to the book The American Cut Glass Industry: T.G. Hawkes and his Competitors by Jane Shadel Spillman (published by the Antique Collectors’ Club in association with the Corning Museum of Glass, 1996, p. 253), surviving pieces from the set are signed by the British engravers “Fritsche,” “Hall,” and “W. Kny.” After 311 pieces from the superbly carved crystal Gary dinner service were sold in 1934, a letter appeared in Sotheby's files a year later mentioning that some pieces were signed by Fritsche. Yet a goblet from this service in the National Museum of American History was gifted by Sarah Hawkes Thornton, inherited from her father, Samuel Hawkes, former president of T.G. Hawkes.

Former Corning Museum of Glass curator and author Jane Spillman believes the signature by the American engraver Fritchie to be authentic. Spillman said, “I believe the wine glass is part of the Gary service since the Gary set was ordered between 1900 and 1910 when H.W. Fritchie was already working for T.G. Hawkes and Company in Corning. It could be the wine with the engraved Fritchie signature is a replacement for damaged items in the set. Or it’s possible the signature was added later, which I couldn’t verify without inspecting it with a loupe to check whether the signature is on top of any wear. I can’t see the signature, but I doubt it was added.”

“I didn’t buy it because it was signed,” said Hosseini, who picked up the wine in two minutes of bidding for $4200. “I bought it because of the workmanship. I like rock crystal and particularly this one because it was colored green to clear. And the stem widens under the bowl as it descends and ends in a raised scalloped foot in typical petticoat fashion. A petticoat is always a plus because they only put it on special pieces. I have no problem with the Fritchie issue.”

In the end, all 408 lots sold during the five-hour auction. Buyers hailed from the U.S. and Egypt. Without premiums or taxes, net sales totaled slightly under $170,000. The room bought more. Thirty-six percent of sales came from the Internet, and the majority, from absentees and attendees, who drove away with their glass or had it mailed. Dealer Saied Hosseini carefully wrapped three lots worth nearly $36,000 in his carry-on and stored them in the overhead bin of the plane home.

Dealers and collectors of Brilliant period glass eagerly await the late July American Cut Glass Association Convention in New Orleans. Its four-day dealers’ show opens to the public August 2. For more information, see the American Cut Glass Association’s Web site (www.cutglass.org).

Woody Auction has announced its next auction of American Brilliant cut glass will take place on Saturday, August 23, at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Missouri. It will feature Brilliant period glass drawn primarily from a Nebraskan collection as well as from smaller Illinois, Alabama, and Florida collections. See the Web site (www.woodyauction.com).

Asked for a market snapshot, Jason Woody said, “The market for American Brilliant cut glass hasn’t changed from last year. The more common pieces have hit a rough patch and aren’t doing as well as they used to. But the high quality pieces have been performing exceptionally well for the last three years.” He added, “In a time of disposable tableware, people have a craving for true American craftsmanship of Brilliant period glass.”

This stunning 1890s 13¾" tall dark cranberry over clear over pale rose ewer attributed to J. Hoare and Company displays a repoussé hand-hammered sterling collar and spout of exquisite floral design attached to a candy cane- shaped, filigreed sterling handle with beautifully crafted wreath. The handle curves downward and links to a narrow, four-rung sterling band with applied button flowers midway up from the bottom of this vase-shaped pitcher. The Gorham silver marks on the band next to the toe of the handle read “Sterling.” The word is coupled with the Gorham trademark of the lion, the anchor, and the initial “G.” Typical of the cane zipper and swirl filler design, a lattice of cane with clear button hobnails alternates with ribbons of curved double miters with channels of smooth cut pillars surrounding lanes of zippers. In just over a minute, dealer Saied Hosseini of Upland, California, secured the two-color ewer with elaborate silverwork with his winning $30,000 bid. Hosseini said, “It doesn’t take very long to stack the numbers when you know what you want.”

This rare cranberry cut-to-clear vase from the Reverend Young’s collection sold for many times its $1600 high estimate. A jubilant engraved floral pattern of delicate white, pale, and dark cranberry stems, leaves, and blossoming flowers with exquisite finely cut petals covers this 12" vase. A nipped waist above the bulbous bowl under a long, narrow neck flared at the top endows the vase by C. Dorflinger & Sons with an elegant shape. The pattern was later identified by an ACGA member as the rare No. 2 pattern. Bidding proceeded at a rapid pace. Following a final $9750 bid, underbidder California dealer Saied Hosseini dropped out. “This was my top number. I didn’t bid higher after that for resale.” He explained, “I was just playing with it for my client. I didn’t think it was a good investment for the two of us.” Within seconds, a collector bid $10,000, capturing the exuberant Dorflinger vase for over eight times its high estimate. Jason Woody explained, “The gentleman who bought it had an identical vase in a different color and really wanted this one. Another gentleman there served as the underbidder. The right combination of people and piece helped drive a strong price.”

The right bidders on this gorgeous signed Fritchie rock crystal wine from the Reverend Young’s collection pushed the sale price to $4200, near the top of its $1000/5000 estimate. The unusual 6 5/8" tall wine displays a rich green bowl where deep cuttings made to resemble actual rock crystal combine with shallow, finely detailed copper wheel engravings to create varying shades of celery, lime, and grass green. The rim’s ribboned swag pattern and bowl’s floral design punctuated by a dragon motif repeat with variations on the clear stem and sawtooth petticoat base. Sporting a monogrammed-scripted “G” on the bowl, this wine was part of an extensive table service made for Elbert H. Gary, a chief organizer of U.S. Steel. Jason Woody said, “We’ve sold Fritchie from the Gary service in the past, but never a colored one. That made it special.”

 “I didn’t buy it because it was signed,” said California dealer Saied Hosseini, who picked up the wine for $4200 in two minutes of bidding. “I bought it because of the workmanship. I like rock crystal and particularly this one because it was colored green to clear. And the stem widens under the bowl as it descends and ends in a raised scalloped foot in typical petticoat fashion. A petticoat is always a plus because they only put it on special pieces. I have no problem with the Fritchie issue.”

A stunningly tall 16" cobalt blue cut-to-clear trumpet vase attributed to Val St. Lambert exceeded its $200/800 estimate. The vase displays beautifully cut Brunswick stars, fans, strawberry diamonds, crossed miters, notched prisms, and punty motifs. A St. Louis collector present outbid an Internet bidder to purchase it for $1300—over one and a half times its high estimate. The price didn’t surprise auctioneer Jason Woody, who considered it “a nice strong vase in a beautiful color.”


Originally published in the May 2014 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2014 Maine Antique Digest

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