Auction Advice: Decorative Arts

The wisdom of investing in furnishings

Many buyers are seeing the wisdom of investing in furnishings. At Christie’s, a bronze Tiffany lamp that was estimated to sell for $3,000 went for $27,500. Sotheby’s wove magic when a rug sold for more than $30 million, making it an auction record for this category. “Design offers the unique tactile collecting experience of living with art,” says McGinnis. “Unlike [looking at] a painting or a photograph, sitting in a Prouvé chair or writing on a Marc Newson desk is a phenomenally gratifying, interactive experience. Every one needs a place to sit and I highly recommend doing it in style.”

Limewood and parcel gilt mirror, probably Roman, 19th century
Estimate: $3,000-$5,000
Sold: $17,500

PIERO FORNASETTI “Giardino Settecentesco” wardrobe from his master bedroom
Estimate: $50,000 – $70,000
Sold: $179,000

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JEAN PROUVÉ, pair of doors designed for the Maisons Tropicales, circa 1949
Estimate: $80,000 – $120,000
Sold: $149,000

Sotheby’s New York
17th century sickle-leaf, vine scroll, and palmette carpet, from William A. Clark Collection, Southeast Persia
Estimate: $5M – $7M
Sold: $33,765,000

Seven signed books from George Washington’s Mount Vernon library
Estimate: $1M – $1.5M
Sold: $1,205,000

 PAUL LOBEL, c. 1934 silver-plated coffee service
Estimate: $75,000 – $100,000
Sold: $449,000

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