What's It Worth? Art Deco, Asian, and Midcentury Modern Collectibles

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There are so many eras, styles and design movements that we could not possibly cover them all in one column. But those noted in the title are three of our favorites.

This last week, we enjoyed another $300,000 auction, headed up by Katrina Hess, Licensed Auctioneer. (No, I do not call her Colonel.) (Well, sometimes ...) We thought we would share a few highlights.

Art Deco: We bought this very large stork/bird brooch from a Delaware jeweler. She was shopping it for her customer to several jewelers throughout the US and the asking price was very high, $6,000. Everyone passed on it but we were truly in love with it. The French-hallmarked piece had amazing craftsmanship, art deco splendor and beautiful ruby eyes. We tried to retail it for $7,500 several times but with only 3 carats of diamonds, it remained in our case. We decided to try it at auction and it brought an amazing amount — $12,000 (bought as a push-gift by a Los Angeles resident).

Asian: Asian — especially Chinese — items continue to be strong. This Cartier brooch suffered from several negatives. While any Cartier brings money, 14k items (as opposed to 18k) (14k Cartier is typically made in US for the NYC store) usually bring less. Adding to our worries was that the stone foo-dog or lion had a broken-off foot! People do not like broken items! But it was so unusual, we bought it from a local jeweler for $4,500 and put this whimsical brooch at auction. The little platinum mouse (pic) taunting the netted lion/foo dog was just too cute. Result? $7,000.

Midcentury Modern: This was our biggest gamble of the month. A Tampa resident offered us this unusually large George Nakashima 1959 table. It was appraised in NYC for $40,000 retail and we gamely offered $20,000. She countered that a New York dealer had offered $25,000!

Being passionate and aggressive (and confident in the auction process), we beat the New York dealer’s offer and Katrina put it up for auction, emailing our 6,700 midcentury-modern-loving clients regarding its availability. A Dutch dealer from Rotterdam got into a bidding war with an Omaha collector and it ultimately fetched $32,000 — a modest, yet healthy 20% profit for us.

If you want to cash out on fine and decorative arts or consign for auction, give us a call or email. We will meet you at your bank, your home or your attorney’s office in any state in the US.

Always buying rare and valuable items. We make house calls.

Three former sothebys.com associates and two art historians on staff. Call or email us if you want to deal with Florida’s leading auctioneer. We have sold the contents of museums and collections for USF.

Always buying, house calls available.

Buying and Selling since 1984. Art, Jewelry, Watches, and Antiques.

Hess Fine Art, 1131 4th St. N, St. Petersburg FL 33701.

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