Tiffany lamps highlight New Year's Day sales

| Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, 8:39 p.m.

Auction Watch

While most of us are running out the clock on 2012 and seeking antidotes to the day after New Year's Eve, the folks at BHD Auctions and Constantine & Pletcher are prepping for their annual Jan. 1 sales to ring in 2013. So, while you draw up that list of resolutions for the coming 365 days, you might just put attending a New Year's Day sale in the top spot — and stick to it for at least a day.

BHD Auctions

As BHD owner Brian Detch welcomes the New Year, he'll bid farewell to the old J.S. Dill Auction building in Zelienople, where he's conducted Jan. 1 sales over the past few years.

For the back story on this sale, about 60 percent of the merchandise traces its roots to a weekend-retreat log cabin in the mountains near Somerset. With that kind of provenance, the sale packs a strong emphasis on primitive and country goods.

Furniture from the cabin provides a strong foundation for the sale. The highlights of the group are a circa-1850s primitive stepback cupboard, a pie safe showing its first coat of paint and a tall, two-piece corner cupboard with a blind door. These early pieces display plenty of well-earned, age-appropriate wear that infuses them with authentic character.

A passel of primitive paintings are from an attic in Waterford, Erie County. According to the consignor, the disarmingly simple, yet enchanting, oil-on-board and -canvas works are in the public eye for the first time in many decades. Though the works are unsigned, the quality is such that bidding could deliver a few surprises at hammer time.

Tiffany lamps continue to be a hot commodity locally, with several table models from the famed New York studios fetching hammer prices in the low to mid five-figure range. BHD could start 2013 with an electrifying jolt if a Tiffany table lamp with a 16-inch, emerald-green, leaded-glass, acorn-pattern shade follows that trend. In decent shape, the lamp comes with its original light-bulb socket and heat cap. And, yes, it is signed.

Another glowing find is an Arts and Crafts lamp from the Charles Limbert Co. Less ornate than the Tiffany, the understated elegance of this sturdy oil lamp and its caramel-color leaded-glass shade holds a timeless appeal. Though Limbert was born in Pennsylvania in the mid 1850s, he migrated across the Midwest to Grand Rapids, Mich., where he established his furniture-making company and radiant reputation.

Slightly out of the sale's rustic Americana flavor is a collection of Asian rugs. Hailing from the Middle to the Far East, the floor coverings come in a variety of styles and sizes from hall runners to room-size carpets measuring nearly 11 feet by 18 feet.

Outside the main categories, bidders will discover treasures of all types, including a 2-gallon stoneware jug bearing a freehand stenciled advertisement for the D.S. Osgood Wholesale Liquor Dealer of “Pittsburg,” Pa. Among the other quaint and sometimes jarring finds are a spongeware hotel chamber pot, military garb and gear from the U.S. Civil War to World War II German army equipment. All sorts of old-time kitchenware from butter presses to a hand-forged, wrought-iron fireplace toaster are perfect for cooking a home-style breakfast your great-grandma might have made. And a stash of old-fashioned metal toys are perfect gifts for those kids who never grow up.

The sale is at 2341 Evans City Road, Zelienople. The preview starts at 9 a.m., with opening bids at 11 a.m. Details: 412-816-0683

Constantine & Pletcher

Ladies and gentlemen, Constantine & Pletcher is ready to start your engines on New Year's Day with a sale that features a large selection of antiques and collectibles that includes a group of high-end Tiffany lamps and a trio of luxury cars.

First up, those Tiffany lamps, which seem to be a staple of C&P sales over the past year or so. With the company almost routinely realizing hammer prices in the mid to high five figures, the trend should continue when three more lamps from the Tiffany Studio go up for bid. One of the prettier lamps to hit the scene of late is a flowery model that features a dozen lily-shape shades gracefully drooping to provide a soft halo of light below. Another table lamp features a leaded-glass shade decorated in a geranium motif atop a bronze oil-burning vase. Finally, a green-and-yellow iridescent, leaded-glass, turtleback shade on a floor lamp delivers the classic Tiffany look. In addition, a Tiffany chandelier will be up for bid.

Sure, some folks say they're too big and that they use too much gas, but a Cadillac of any color still ranks as one of America's sweetest rides. So, Caddy collectors might want to check out a 1997 Deville with 53,000 miles or a 1985 Seville commemorative model with 40,000 miles. If a little foreign number is more your style, a red-hot 1998 Mercedes SL 500 coupe will certainly ratchet up your RPMs. Decked out with a slew of luxury options, this German-made classic checks in with 90,000 miles.

With two significant estates contributing to the bulk of the sale merchandise, the auction features a strong second line of goods to follow the Tiffany lamps and autos. One particularly robust category is jewelry, where a 5.5-karat diamond solitaire ring sparkles brightest. Also sure to attract attention are an 18-karat white-gold and diamond bracelet, 14-karat gold-and-diamond omega pendant necklace, a Tiffany — there's that name again — gold-and-sapphire brooch and a 14-karat Cartier gold-and-aquamarine broach. A nice selection of Native American silver jewelry provides a subtle, yet elegant, alternative to the shiny baubles.

The big names in silver are all here, including Tiffany and Gorham, in the form of flat and hollowware.

A 14-karat gold cigarette holder lights up images of long-gone sophistication. Victorian style reigns in the furniture group, where a triple bookcase and washstand from the era retain their regal stature. Decorative stoneware makes an impressive showing with pieces from Moorcroft and Royal Copenhagen. Asian and African ivory figures carved from tusks bring an exotic touch to the proceedings. Other art includes several bronzes by Norm Fugeues, watercolors by several Italian painters and prints by Picasso and other notables.

Befitting the passing of the old year, a collection of clocks includes two Mission Oak grandfather models, a Black Forest three-piece carved set, eight-day clock and an Oswald skull clock.

The bill of miscellaneous goods features a large collection of Asian and Turkish rugs, cast-iron toys and bisque dolls, Native American pottery and fur coats.

Along with starting the New Year, the sale marks C&P's annual Customer Appreciation with free food and beverages and a special raffle with prizes that include one no-buyer's-premium pass that can be used at the sale.

The sale previews are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday and 9-11 a.m. Tuesday, followed by the auction, at 1306 Pittsburgh St., Cheswick. Details: 724-275-7190

John Altdorfer is a contributing writer to Trib Total Media.

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