Mar 132015


October 28, 1893. A clean, crisp autumn day. Cocksure young bucks take to the track for the 880 Yards Run . . .  A pistol crack, and they’re off! It’s Yale against Harvard against all the other Ivy League schools, and it’s neck and neck to the finish, one break’s from the pack, and the trophy goes to Yale!

Awarded by the Yale Athletic Association to Samuel Scoville (grandnephew of Harriet Beecher Stowe, celebrated author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin), first prize is this fabulous silver-plated loving cup — so-called because the two handles allow lovers to pass it back and forth to each other — but toady it’s just the lads, best friends raise a toast together after the race.

Beautifully designed by renown silversmiths Wilcox Co. of Meriden, Connecticut, this trophy is absolutely magnificent: a great bit of collegiate history, and a fine addition to any collection of sports memorabilia!

status: sold

 Posted by at 5:43 AM
Jan 212015

To think that this tiny teapot is over 300 years old is remarkable; crafted near the end of the reign of the Chinese emperor Kangxi (1662-1722), this very pretty piece of porcelain has crossed continents, sailed the seas aboard Dutch merchant ships, and certainly steeped countless cups of tea. Yet, it has retained its buxom beauty throughout — even displayed in someone’s front-yard amidst the detritus of more modern, disposable knickknacks, this diminutive teapot declared itself as something special.

Just four inches tall, the pot features a ribbed octagonal compressed balustrade form, a straight spout, “C” shaped handle. and beautifully delicate, hand-painted Imari decorations of cobalt blue underglaze with iron-red and gilt gold overglaze.

Now rescued from obscurity, it will soon be appreciated by a new collector, almost assuredly someone in China. It’s time for this little beauty to return home . . .

status: sold 

 Posted by at 7:24 PM
Sep 042014


From the Late Middle Ages to Louis XIV to Martha Stewart, the sunburst mirror has been a favored decorative accent for over 500 years. One if its earliest sightings is in Jan van Eyck’s 1434 painting Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife which features a strikingly similar mirror. Two centuries later, Louis XIV, the fabled Sun King whose chosen emblem was the radiant Sun, gave the Venetian Republic a run for its money by establishing the first Northern European glass and mirror factory at St. Gobain, France. However, Louis didn’t think to combine his love of bright mirrors and golden suns ― that innovation came from industrious craftsman working with the detritus from the looting of the French Revolution. Flash forward to 1940s Paris, and artists like Gilbert Poillerat and Line Vautrin began producing modern examples like the one you see here. And now they’re still popular with modern designers;  regal accents much admired for their timeless style and sunny disposition.


status: sold

 Posted by at 5:06 PM
Sep 022014

The Los Angles Biltmore Hotel in downtown LA was opened in 1923, and it quickly became the meeting place for Hollywood’s elite―so much so that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was actually founded just a few years later at a luncheon in the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom!

Of course, the hotel’s rich opulent style was the key to its charm and success, and this Gorham silver-plate creamer dating from 1924 (just one year after the Biltmore’s grand opening) is a wonderful example. The silver now tarnished black and its regal body battered, its patina speaks of decades of sterling service. This unassuming little object has felt the hands of countless beautiful starlets and handsome leading-men―and has probably overheard some of the juiciest gossip ever uttered! In fact, this creamer may even have been the one that tumbled to the floor when, in that legendary first meeting of the Academy, MGM’s art-director, Cedric Gibbons reached for Louis B. Mayer’s linen napkin to sketch on it the preliminary design for the now-famous Oscar statue!

Classic Hollywood Regency style steeped in Silver Screen history!


status: sold 

 Posted by at 7:46 PM
Aug 162014

Here’s yet another fantastic vintage pepper mill designed by the incomparable Jens Harald Quistgaard. Fitted with the famous, flawless Peugeot mechanism, this model is one of his earliest designs (made for Dansk before they brand-named their goods; this one is simply stamped “Danmark”). Wonderfully collectible, this is a quintessential example of artistic form combined with effortless functionality: perfectly Danish Modern.

status: sold

 Posted by at 12:11 AM
May 272014

Magnificent and elegant. this hammered copper tray by Empire is a true statement piece that will command attention amidst any decor. Measuring nearly 14″ in diameter, this bold object embodies the very best qualities of the Arts & Crafts movement: earthy materials; rich patination; raw, hands-on craftsmanship; and striking design elements. Empty, it’s reminiscent of an ancient warrior’s shield; full, it’s a powerful vessel of protection. The hammered textures and raised, riveted motifs give this piece a timeless beauty that only a one-of-a-kind, handmade antique can offer!

status: sold



 Posted by at 7:30 PM
Apr 132014

In the late 13th century, the city of Venice, fearing the outbreak of fire, declared a nearby island as the official sector for its glassblowers; and ever since, the greatest glassworks of Italy have taken that island’s name: Murano.

When you think of Italian art glass, you almost certainly hold in your mind the fine and filigreed forms first produced on this fabled isle: swirling multicolored vases, scintillating chandeliers, the famed “thousand flowers” bouquets of millefiori paperweights… Less well known, but much more accessible―and collectible―is beautiful Venetian beadwork. Using a small table-torch, a technique known as lampwork transforms glass into stunning and sparkling jewels.

First developed amidst the creative bloom of the Renaissance, fiorato (flower) or “wedding cake” beads (as they are known to collectors) are the ultimate example of this art-form . Each bead is exquisitely and delicately handmade; as many as six layers of molten glass are twirled and fused together to combine opaque, iridescent, and metallic materials in an effect that’s entirely reminiscent of cake-icing decoration―and every bit as tasty! 

Dating from the 1920s, this necklace and earrings set combines the ancient glassmaking technique of fiorato with Art Deco accents to create a timeless confection that’s both elegant and bold!

status: sold

 Posted by at 5:08 PM
Oct 282013


After a long day of photographing the stoic splendors of the Yosemite Valley, Ansel Adams would have, without doubt, repaired to the comparative comfort of his rustic cabin and the inner-sanctum of his den and desk to make notes about his day’s work—and an inkwell precisely like this would have looked right at home there amongst the tidy jumble of pinecones, books and proofs!

Now beautifully patinated, this lovely little box is elegantly fashioned from rolled and riveted copper, overlaid with genuine sterling silver in true Arts & Crafts style. Inside sits the original glass inkwell, blue-black with a century of history and ink residue… Although the piece has no maker’s mark, it’s almost certainly designed by the famous Art Craft Shop of Buffalo, NY.; it perfectly matches, in both shape and form, those produced in the early 1900s.

So lyrical and lovely, it makes one long for the pre-digital days of fountain pens and the long-lost art of writing proper, pen-to-paper letters!


status: sold

 Posted by at 9:39 PM
Aug 152013

America. 1880-ish. Civil War brewing down South… Meanwhile, somewhere someone is having a soothing after-dinner cigar and fortifying his spirits with a little snifter of something special poured from one of an elegant pair of leaded cut-crystal decanters made by that most famous and fabled of American craftsmen: Tiffany & Co.

The whole experience satisfies the soul: the glint of the sterling silver tags in the glooming gas-light; the heavy weight and heft of the stopper in the hand; the golden elixir splashing into glass. Of course, the wealthy would only have scotch or bourbon, and perhaps brandy—but never gin! (Far too common a spirit, that gin.)

So, pick your poison… Soda? No. Neat? Certainly!

status: sold


 Posted by at 7:39 PM

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