Several years ago, my friend Henry in Los Angles told me to study up on Italian Glass, but I was to busy.
What a mistake that was! And looking at Maine Antique Digest this month really brought home to me what a huge mistake I had made.
Indianapolis, Indiana was the locale, back in September, for a sale of Italian Glass that was listed as the most important sale of its kind in this decade. About $700,000worth of glass was sold, and there were only 250 hand picked pieces represented. We are talking about big money here.
Henry has offered me several pieces of Italian Glass over the years, and to tell the truth, I was a little skeptical at the time. However I did venture out and purchase a couple of Lino Tagliapietra pieces. These were sold by my friends at the Cincinnati Art Gallery, and I did quite well with them. I wish that I had bought all of the pieces he offered, but I just didn't know enough then. You see, I need to continue my education as well as you. Learning is a lifelong process.
If this interests you, then call or write the Maine Antique Digest. I feel sure they will send you a free copy of the January paper. You may also be able to email them. The title of the article in the paper is “Fifteenth Anniversary Premier Italian Glass Auction." I would suggest that you mention me and 31 Club, and that we suggested that you contact them.
Here are some of the results of that sale: A Venini vase designed by Fulvio Bianconi, 14 inches high brought $25,300. This was only one of the many pieces that exceeded $10,000.
What really caught my eye was a figural candlestick by Venini and designed by the same artist as the vase I mentioned above. It is a double candelabra with a man sitting in the middle of the piece. This wasn't a very large piece, standing only 9 ½ inches but the price it achieve made it a giant. I have seen this piece at a garage sale or house sale in my travels, but didn't have the slightest idea that it had the value that was obtained at the auction: $18,400. You can bet I will be putting in some hours of study on Italian Glass in the future.
One thing to watch for are fakes. Remember, when anything becomes popular, the fake masters slither out from under their rocks. Also many of the makers didn't sign their pieces, so you must be able to identify them or know an expert that can.
The more I write on this story the more sick I am becoming. Yes, there were these other two pieces that I saw at a house sale and they had the from of a woman's head in clear glass with a cap upon them in colored glass. If I remember right, the asking price was a little over $1000 each, and in this Indianapolis sale two like them sold for over $14,000 each. Oh, well. Better luck for me next time. Some things we'll just have to learn together.
Take a look at some of this fine art glass and the realized prices here.
Learn more about Italian Glass here.
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