Q. Last month we talked about Morton Kuehnert’s Collection Auctions. I’d like to take that a step further and ask about specific collections that potential consignors, or sellers, might want to auction at Morton Kuehnert.
A. Families who have collections of Art Glass will find a lot of interest in the marketplace. For instance, last year we auctioned a 100-piece collection of Renee Lalique Art Glass from the early 20th century that averaged $10,000 an item on the auction block. It included his exquisite vases and perfume bottles. We had bidders from all over the world. More recently, we auctioned some of the mid-century American art glass by master glassblower Doug Merritt that proved to be popular. Families who have art glass by Tiffany, Stueben, Baccarat, Blenko such as vases, lampshades, bowls, bottles, paperweights and figural works will be pleased with the interest at auction.
Q. When I was growing up I remember the value my mother placed on her silver tea set and flatware. Is silver still important to American collectors?
A. Yes, let’s start with sterling silver. This is flatware, candlesticks, candelabra, teapots, tureens and the like that is made from 92.5 percent pure silver and 7.5 percent alloy. Sterling silver flatware was first produced in Sheffield, England, in the 1200s. In the mid 19th century, major deposits of silver were discovered in Nevada and then we saw a lot of production from companies such as Gorham, Tiffany & Company., Unger Brothers, Oneida and Shreve & Company.
Silver plating, that is sheets of sterling fused to a sheet of copper creating a metal sandwich, that could be formed to look like sterling, was first done by Sheffield in 1770. This was done at a fraction of the cost of sterling production. Then in 1840, electroplating was introduced and it required less silver and nickel as the base metal. This basically put the Sheffield silver industry out of business. There are several eras and styles of silver collections from Rococo to Federal style by silversmiths such as Paul Revere, Victoria, Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts and Art Deco.
Q. What about paintings? This seems like such a huge universe. There are antique paintings, modern, contemporary, etc., etc., etc. Can I sell my art collection at Morton Kuehnert?
A. Yes, first and foremost, artworks by popular artists sell like hotcakes! To be considered an antique painting, it must be at least 100 years old. I would recommend that collectors who are ready to sell their paintings go online and look at art gallery websites who represent the work of the artists they own.
You want to be sure if you’re representing it as an original that it can hold up to the research. A lot of information is on the back of the painting—gallery labels, auction stickers, and museum inventory numbers can help you discover the provenance of the painting. Of course, Morton Kuehnert appraisers will work closely with you as well.
Q. Next year Morton Kuehnert is making a big move; can you share with us when and where that will be?
A. Yes, in the first quarter of next year, targeting February, we are moving to 4901 Richmond Ave. in the building now occupied by Parvizian Rugs. We are looking forward to being a part of the Galleria area shopping district and we are now a member of the Galleria Chamber of Commerce.
Photo: A painting by Diego Rivera.