Venable’s Silver Collection Achieves Venerable Heritage Results

Auction action in Dallas

DALLAS – “Oh my God, it’s been an exciting day,” said Karen Rigdon, Director of Decorative Arts and Design, Money and Virtue at Heritage Auctions. “We had a lot of good actions, even in areas that had not generated interest prior to the sale.” She had reason to be happy, as Heritage Auctions’ Nov 16 silver auction has exceeded expectations and totaled $ 1.17 million at the time of publication.

The auction was anchored by more than 100 lots of silver from the collection of silver specialist and former curator, Dr Charles Venable; interest in his collection pushed the results beyond expectations. Venable, author Money in America, 1840-1940: a century of splendor and was a curator at the Dallas Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Speed ​​Museum of Art in Louisville, Ky., and most recently Newfields in Indianapolis, Indiana, assembled his collection with the eye and discipline of a curator. The bidders responded accordingly.

Several lots from Venable’s collection topped the rankings, including a set of 12 Gorham Japonesque silver and mixed metal fruit knives, made in Providence, RI, circa 1800, which made $ 45,000 versus an estimate of 1 , $ 5 / 2,500. Venable included quips with almost every batch; for his entry on these knives, he says he always liked such sets, which appear in several museum collections. Rigdon said a collector in the United States was the top bidder.

“His jokes spoke to both the scholar and the new collection,” Rigdon said, noting that they also highlighted what he valued about each room.

The Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute (MWPAI) in Utica, NY, purchased a two-handled silver tray, made in New York City in 1851 by William Gale & Son, for $ 20,000, the second highest price achieved for a part of the collection of Venable. Venable had tried for over a decade to buy the platter, which had hit the market several times between 1983 and 2014.

Stephen Harrison, deputy director of MWPAI, had worked with Venable in Dallas and Cleveland and was delighted that the museum had acquired the set, further sharing that the museum had acquired a total of seven pieces from the collection.

“The Gale field that we have acquired is really amazing,” said Harrison. “It is part of a small group of very large, fully engraved pieces which is only the quintessential example of the art of the mid-19th century engraver. The sets were meant to impress and often depicted works of art – this set, for example, most of the scenes have been identified with various print sources. It connects this shelf to fine art, which is exactly what we want to represent in our collection. “

“Our strength is in 19th century silver, but we didn’t have a good example of Medallion silver,” Harrison continued, a need met by their purchase of Venable’s Ball, Black and Co., a water pitcher. in silver medallion. The Art Nouveau appeal and organic shape of a Lilypad patterned berry spoon, made around 1900 by Whiting, was another piece the museum bought, as was a Gorham oyster tureen, which Harrison said would help the museum. to tell the story of the popularity of the oyster at the end of the XIX Century Tables.

“We are delighted that these works come from his collection. He was the first American silver specialist in the 19th century; this sale has shown that he has an extraordinary sense for beauty, history and taste. Each of his pieces could enter the museum’s collection; it was very difficult to decide which parts to go on, ”said Harrison.

Other highlights of the Venable collection include a nickel-plated Mügdesprunger Eisenhuette table, made in Mügdesprung, Germany, circa 1870, which was sold to a buyer in Dallas for $ 11,875, and a Tiffany & Co. d soup tureen. Chinese inspiration, covered in silver that once belonged to Martha F. de Bautista, the first lady of Cuba. It brought in $ 11,250 to an American buyer.

“He’s very happy and happy with the sale,” said Rigdon, after speaking after the auction with Venable, who now lives in Florida.

Works consigned by other sellers also obtained the highest marks from the bidders.

The second highest price of the sale, at $ 31,250, was a set of 12 gilded silver plates made by Paul Storr, in London, in 1817. The plates were from a Sotheby’s auction in 2007 and had were estimated at $ 12/18,000. Rigdon said the plates were sold to a buyer in the United States.

Epergnes was well represented, with a mid-18th century example of Thomas Powell achieving the third highest price on the sale and selling for $ 25,000, beyond expectations. A five-piece sponge trim was made in the early 20th century in the London workshop of Horace Woodward & Co. and closed at $ 13,750.

A two-handled covered Gorham silver trophy that was cataloged as “monumental” and measured 27 inches high turned out to be a winner among bidders, ultimately selling within estimate for $ 21,250. It had been auctioned at Christie’s in 2015 and related to a punch bowl illustrated in Charles A. Carpenter’s book in 1997, Gorham Silver. Another trophy, this time made by Woshing Silver in Shanghai in the 20th century, found a new home for $ 13,750.

“Once you get into the dragons it gets a lot of interest,” Rigdon said, noting that all Asian money was shipped through the same seller. Their collection included a wine cooler with dragon decoration by Arthur and Bond, Yokohama, Japan, 1880-1923, which was sold to an American buyer for $ 17,500. A similar aesthetic was seen in a pair of half-gilded silver dragon-shaped two-light candlesticks from the Meiji era, which fetched $ 10,625.

With only 14 lots, Dr James Young’s collection was small but select, with objects of virtue in assorted 14k gold, enamel, hard stone and jewelry, all made in the 20th century in the style of Fabergé. One small box fetched $ 20,000, two free-standing eggs sold for $ 15,000 each, and three clocks ended at $ 10,625, $ 7,500 and $ 5,500, respectively. Rigdon said the quality of craftsmanship on all of the pieces was very fine and the collection has attracted worldwide interest.

The next Heritage Auctions silver sale will take place in May. The prices indicated include the buyer’s premium. For more information, visit

“It was a real surprise. The estimate was in line with how these knives sold, “said Karen Rigdon of the best lot in the sale, a set of 12 Gorham Japonesque mixed metal and silver fruit knives, each bearing the monogram” H ”on the handle. A buyer in the United States pushed interest on the set, which belonged to Charles Venable, to $ 45,000 ($ 1.5 / 2,500).

74194 Paul Storr Gilded Silver Plates

“These plates are absolutely spectacular,” commented Karen Rigdon of this set of 12 silver gilt plates by Paul Storr, London, 1817, sold to a buyer in the United States for $ 31,250, well in excess of its price. estimate of $ 12/18,000.

74186 Thomas Powell Épergne

“We had an exciting auction on this. These ranged between $ 15,000 and $ 20,000, but this one worked remarkably well. He had it all, ”said Karen Rigdon, referring to this reticulated silver thimble, made in London in 1766 by Thomas Powell. He brought in $ 25,000.

74161 Gorham Monumental Trophy Cup

This monumental covered trophy bowl with two silver handles from Gorham Mfg. Co., Providence, RI, 1873, had been offered at Christie’s in 2015 and sold within estimate for $ 21,250 ($ 15/25,000).

74040 Tiffany Birds Nest Coffee and Tea Set

The markings on this Tiffany & Co. partial gilded silver tea and coffee set, Bird’s Nest design had been removed and it sold within estimate for $ 20,000 ($ 15 / $ 25,000 ).

74041 Wm Gale & Son Plateau

The Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute paid $ 20,000 for this large, two-handled silver platter from William Gale & Son of New York. The engraved decoration has been identified with several printing sources and demonstrates not only the skill of the engraver, but also a connection to the fine arts.

74178 Grand Baroque cutlery 269 pieces Wallace

There are so many Wallace Silversmiths Grand Baroque cutlery on the market that Karen Rigdon rarely offers in any of her major auctions, but she was happy to have included this 269 piece set as it fetched $ 20,000. ‘a private collector.

74235 - Fabergé attr box

Dr James Young’s collection of Faberge-style pieces was small with only 14 lots, but it performed well. This 14-karat assorted gold case, guilloche enamel and diamonds, from the late 20th century, was presented in a fitted wooden case and sold for $ 20,000.

74185 - pair of dragon candlesticks

The weight of this pair of Japanese half-gilded silver dragon-shaped two-light candlesticks from the Meiji period was significant at 1898 grams. The pair sold for $ 10,625.

74230 Fabergé attr egg

This standing egg in assorted 14k gold, guilloche enamel, diamonds and cabochon was one of two eggs in Dr. James Young’s collection, both made in the late twentieth century in the Fabergé style / each sold for $ 15,000 .

74183 Woshing Trophy

Woshing Silver Trophy, Shanghai, 20th Century was 18 inches tall and made $ 13,750.

74219 Horace Woodward Epergne trim

This five-piece sponge garnish, made in London in 1905 by Horace Woodward & Co., would look fantastic lined up on top of a long banquet table. It sold for $ 13,750.

74085 Magdesprunger nickel-plated table

“Silver pieces in Aesthetic Movement furniture are very rare,” Karen Rigdon said of this nickel-plated table made in Germany by Mägdesprunger Eisenhuette circa 1870. In all his years of research, Charles Venable noted that it was the alone like her he had ever seen. He will stay in Dallas with a buyer who paid him $ 11,875.

74065 Gorham Oyster Soup tureen

Oysters were a popular delicacy in the late 19th century, and several shapes were created specifically for their presentation and consumption. This oyster tureen, made circa 1870 by Gorham Mfg. Co., in Providence, RI, was purchased by the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute for $ 4,000.

Black ball medallion pitcher

This silver medallion water jug, made by Ball, Black & Co., circa 1865, is identical to a Dallas Museum of Art copy that Charles Venable published in his book, Silver in America, 1840-1940: A Century of Splendor. The Venable pitcher is heading to the Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute, which added it to their collection for $ 3,250.

74102 Water lily spoon of whiting

Charles Venable loved the way the water swirled among the water lilies in the bowl of this water lily-patterned silver berry spoon, made circa 1900 by Whiting Mfg., Co. It had been on display at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and can be viewed in his new home at the Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute, which picked it up for $ 2,000.

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