How to Identify a Solid Silver Object – By Jeffrey Herman,

September 16th, 2011 by

Copyright Jeffrey Herman,

Normally, if an object is solid silver it will be indicated on the piece. Examples are: Sterling, 925, 925/1000, 900, Coin, Standard, 9584 (English Britannia), 800 (Germany), 84 (Russia), etc.). Most American-made objects are marked on the bottoms of holloware and on the reverse on flatware. Foreign-made objects can be marked most anywhere, and are sometimes accompanied by additional marks applied in the country’s assay office which tests the quality of the precious metal during its manufacture. Rarely will you find a piece made of solid silver that isn’t stamped. If an object isn’t stamped, a non-invasive identification method is judging by tarnish color. Silverplate will exhibit a blue-purple hue, where solid silver will exhibit grey-black. If you cannot determine if an object is solid silver, consult a silversmith or jeweler who may use an acid test.

Jeffrey Herman started Herman Silver Restoration & Conservation in 1984, and has built a national reputation of quality craftsmanship and sensitivity towards the finishing of every piece. Herman has repaired & reconstructed everything from historically important tankards, tea services, and tureens to disposal-damaged flatware. And yes, he will also polish a single spoon or fork. He considers himself an environmentalist, using the safest, non-toxic, most organic products whenever possible.



Herman Silver Restoration & Conservation

PO Box 786

West Warwick, RI 02893

800/339-0417, 401/461-6840

Fax: 401/461-6841









Leslie Hindman Auctioneers – Fine Furniture and Decorative Arts

September 16th, 2011 by

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers handles a wide variety of furniture and decorative arts including American, English and Continental Furniture and Decorative Arts; Twentieth Century Decorative Arts; Asian Works of Art; and Rugs, Carpets and Textiles.

Sotheby’s – New York – Contemporary Art

September 16th, 2011 by

The September 22nd Contemporary Auction offers carefully selected works by artists from the Post-War period through the present day. The sale covers a range of works from movements including Abstract Expressionism, Pop, Minimalism, Conceptualism, Contemporary Photography and Contemporary Chinese along with many of today’s most exciting young artists.

Fresh discovery: Victor Higgins Taos school oil painting could bring six figures at Mapes’ Sept. 30 auction

September 16th, 2011 by

Victor Higgins (Taos school, 1884-1949), oil on canvas, circa 1929, 27 x 30 in., scene of woman in front of adobe building, held in same family for 80+ years. Est. $200,000-$400,000. Mapes Auctioneers image.

Purchased prior to Wall Street Crash of 1929, artwork remained in family for 80+ years


VESTAL, N.Y. – An exciting fine-art discovery – a fresh-to-the-market late-1920s oil-on-canvas painting by Taos Art Colony luminary Victor Higgins (1884-1949) – will headline Mapes Auctioneers’ Sept. 30 auction.


An old family piece, the 27- by 30-inch artwork depicts a Native American woman in front of an adobe building with a vine-covered column in the foreground. It was purchased directly from the artist approximately 80 years ago and passed through descent to the consignor, who is the original owner’s great-nephew. The painting has never before appeared at auction or been offered for sale.


“The Higgins came from a retired gentleman who lives less than a mile from our gallery,” said David Mapes, owner of Mapes Auctioneers. “He walked into my office one day and said he and his wife were moving to Colorado and had two paintings they wanted to sell. The other painting was nice, but when I saw the Higgins, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was similar to a smaller painting by the artist that sold at Christie’s a few years ago for over $400,000.”


Closeup of central figure in Higgins painting

Mapes recalls that he told the consignor, “That’s a very good painting,” to which the consignor replied, “How good?” Mapes then delivered the news that, in his opinion, it was worth more than $100,000, adding that the auction record for a Victor Higgins painting is $769,000. “The consignor was stunned,” Mapes said.


Several identifications are written on the artwork’s stretcher – the name “Ruth” and the notation “Victor Higgins $600.” Mapes said it is likely that the original owner made the purchase prior to the Wall Street Crash of 1929.


“From what the consignor tells me, his great-uncle was an art aficionado who once served as director of the Municipal Art League of Chicago. He was also an attorney who lost a great deal of money when the stock market crashed. It’s unlikely that he would have been buying art after incurring major financial losses, so we think the painting may have been purchased in 1928 or 1929,” Mapes said.


According to Mapes, Higgins was a visionary in search of “the real America” and moved to New Mexico around 1915, when Taos was still an isolated village with dirt roads. “He was fascinated by the native people of Taos and became both a permanent resident and a member of the Taos Society of Artists, in 1917.”


Higgins’ signature from lower left of painting

The Higgins painting has been examined by a major art restorer who works with museums, Mapes said, and it was determined that the painting has never been cleaned or restored. “It is in original condition and in a nice period frame that may be the original,” Mapes said. The painting will be offered with a $200,000-$400,000 estimate.”


The other painting coming from the Higgins’ consignor is a 24- by 26-inch

Carl Hoerman (Taos school, 1885-1955), Arizona Desert, oil on canvas, 24 x 26 in., signed and dated ‘1929.’ Est. $1,000-$2,000. Mapes Auctioneers image.

Southwestern mountain landscape by Taos school artist Carl Hoerman (German/American, 1885-1955), titled Arizona Desert. Signed and dated “1929” on the front, the framed oil-on-canvas artwork is executed in soft desert hues with depictions of cacti and numerous other indigenous flora. On auction day it is expected to make $1,000-$2,000.


The 300-lot sale also includes a collection of 60 pieces of 19th-century New York state stoneware from an estate in Trumansburg, N.Y. Most of the vessels are ovoid jugs and jars, although there are also some 3-sided examples and later molded pieces from White’s Utica. Most have a floral motif, although one features a bird. Individual estimates range from $100 to $1,000.


American blue opaline glass fluid lamp, possibly Sandwich, Flame Bull’s-Eye pattern, 13 inches. Est. 750-$1,500. Mapes Auctioneers image.

A beautiful American blue opaline glass fluid lamp that may be by Sandwich measures 13 inches high and was crafted in the Flame Bull’s-Eye pattern. In excellent condition, it could bring $750-$1,500. Another glass highlight is the Steuben verre de soie perfume bottle with blue stopper, estimated at $200-$400.


The nicely mixed selection of antiques and fine art also includes a 35-inch-tall Theodore Coinchon (French, 1814-1881) garden bronze of Pan playing his flute, est. $2,000-$4,000; a Chief Big Moon cast-iron mechanical bank in original condition with 90% paint, est. $2,000-$4,000; and a 19th-century coin-silver teapot on stand by Bailey of Philadelphia, est. $1,000-$2,000.


Also, a 5-piece array of Deldare ware will be offered. The grouping includes vases and two trays, which aren’t commonly found. The smaller tray measures 9 by 12 inches and is titled “Dancing Ye Minuet,” while the 10- by 13-inch tray is titled “Heirlooms.” Both are in excellent condition, and each carries a presale estimate of $200-$400.


Mapes’ Sept. 30 Antiques & Fine Art Auction will commence at 5 p.m. Eastern time, with a preview the same day from 1-5 p.m. Their gallery is located at 1729 Vestal Parkway West, Vestal, NY 13850. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through


For condition reports on the art or any other item in the auction, call 607-754-9193 or

e-mail Visit the company online at View the fully illustrated auction catalog online at

Sotheby’s – New York – Photographs

September 15th, 2011 by

Sotheby’s October 5th Photographs auction in New York features a varied range of material from the 19th to 21st centuries.  Two landmark documents in the history of photographic literature will be offered—an early copy of Gardner’s Sketchbook of the War, and a complete set of Alfred Stieglitz’s photographic quarterly, Camera Work.  Modernist innovator Pierre Dubreuil’s mastery of the medium is evident in two of his best-known images: Spectacles and The First Round.  A dramatic, twice-signed mural of Ansel Adams’s famed Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, and a mural of Leaves, Mt. Rainier National Park are featured, along with other Adams photographs.  A rare lifetime print of Diane Arbus’s Viva, the Warhol superstar, was originally illustrated in an early issue of New York, nearly causing the magazine’s demise.  A massive print of Peter Beard’s Maureen Gallagher and Late-Night Feeder presents a dazzling array of color drawing and collage elements.

Sotheby’s New York – The Collection of Allan Stone, Vol. III

September 15th, 2011 by

Following the successful May 2011 sales of volumes I and II, the third volume of works from the Collection of Allan Stone comes to Sotheby’s New York this autumn. Trained as a lawyer, but passionate about art, Mr. Stone opened his own gallery in 1960. He joined the ranks of influential New York dealers such as Leo Castelli and Sidney Janis, while blazing his own path with a unique selection of artists.

Phillips de Pury & Company – Faye Toogood – Delicate Interference: Assemblage 3

September 15th, 2011 by

London – British Designer, Faye Toogood, will launch her third furniture collection, Delicate Interference: Assemblage 3, exclusively with Phillips de Pury & Company during the 2011 London Design Festival.

The series examines iridescence as a natural optical force through new and re-contextualised works in bronze, aluminum, steel, glass and resin. By a touch of alchemy she uses man-made materials to create a natural phenomenon, mimicking nature’s ability to attract and protect through the refraction of light.

The entire series will be on show at Phillips de Pury’s, Brook Street space with Studio Toogood directing the exhibition design. All works in the collection will be available exclusively through Phillips de Pury.

Swann Galleries – African-American Fine Art

September 15th, 2011 by
Features an exciting selection of approximately 160 lots of museum-quality paintings, sculptures and works on paper, including Hale Woodruff’s Rape of Europa, oil on canvas, circa 1958.

Sotheby’s – New York – Sam Francis: The Exploration of Color, A Selling Exhibition

September 15th, 2011 by

Sotheby’s will be hosting a private selling exhibition of works by Sam Francis from 17 September – 14 October 2011. This will be our inaugural private selling exhibition in our new gallery, S2. The exhibition will coincide with the launch of the Sam Francis Catalogue Raisonné of Canvas and Panel Paintings, 1946 – 1994, published by the Sam Francis Foundation and University of California Press.

Sotheby’s is pleased to introduce S2, a newly-constructed private gallery space within our York Avenue headquarters that is dedicated to special selling exhibitions of contemporary art. Designed by architect Richard Gluckman, who also created the celebrated auction galleries on the 10th floor of our building, S2 will host unique shows that focus on singular artists and themes within the contemporary genre. All of the works on display will be available for private sale, offering a new and exciting dimension to the Sotheby’s experience.


Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. to Hold Two-Day Fall Catalogue Auction on September 16th & 17th

September 6th, 2011 by

Important French Parcel Gilt and Gem Set Jewel Casket, with the mark for Paul Rigaux and Pierre Leblanc (est. $20,000-$40,000)

Over 700 lots of fine art, decorative arts, and fine wine will be offered at LLAES Ltd.’s Two-Day Fall Catalogue Auction.  Fine Wine to be sold Friday, September 16th at 6PM, Fine & Decorative Arts to be sold Saturday, September 17th at 9AM.  This event will be held at the firm’s state of the art gallery in Hillsborough, NC.


Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. is proud to announce their Two-Day Fall Catalogue Auction.  The fine offerings at this sale will feature property deaccessioned from the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, the North Carolina Museum of History, the New Bern Historical Society, as well as other select estates and collections.  Floor, absentee, and telephone bidding will be available both days, as well as live online bidding through Live Auctioneers.


Of special note, LLAES, Ltd. is under current construction to expand their gallery space by 5500 square feet, bringing the total square footage to 15,500 square feet.  This expansion will offer 2000 square feet of additional gallery space, a state of the art walk in wine cooler, and ample storage for consignors.  LLAES, Ltd. expects the construction to be completed by December of 2011.


The first session on Friday evening will offer 107 lots of fine wine and will be led by a magnum bottle of La Tache, vintage 2005 (est. $6,000-$8,000).  This sale will also feature vintage 1996 Petrus, one bottle (est. $1,200 -$1,500), vintage 1959 Chateau d’Yquem, one bottle (est. $1,000-$1,500), as well as vintage 1985 Chateau Margaux, four bottles (est. $800-$1,100).  To discuss buying or selling fine wines contact Mark Solomon, Fine Wine Director, at


Starting at 9AM on Saturday morning, over 600 lots of Fine and Decorative Arts will be offered.  This session will start off

Southern Federal Inlaid Serpentine Sideboard, circa 1800, eastern North Carolina (est. $10,000-$15,000)

with an outstanding Confederate and Militaria collection.  A rare Mendenhall, Jones & Gardner Confederate Rifle, made in Guilford County, North Carolina (est. $12,000-$16,000) should generate excitement. Other lots of note include a McElroy Confederate Foot Officer’s Sword (est. $9,000-$12,000), a Confederate North Carolina Contract Forage Cap, circa 1860-62 ($4,000-$6,000), and an Identified Rhode Island Civil War Gillmore Medal (est. $3,500 – $4,500), which was awarded “For Gallant and Meritorious Conduct” at Fort Sumter.


Fine Silver will be strong, as usual, led by an Important French Parcel Gilt & Gem Set Jewel Casket with the mark for Paul Rigaux and Pierre Leblanc (est. $20,000-$40,000).  Other top lots include a Tiffany & Co. Japanese Style Sterling Bowl (est. $1,000-$2,000) and a Swedish Silver Tea Urn by Gustaf Mollenborg (est. $4,000-$6,000).


Over seventy lots of Fine American Art will energize the sale throughout the day.  Top lots include a series of four bas relief sculptures of calla lilies by Donald Sultan (est. $8,000-$12,000), an oil on canvas by Francis Flanagan, entitled, “Monhegan Island, Maine” (est. $4,000-$6,000), and an oil on canvas by Lendall Pitts entitled, “Source of Romanche” (est. $3,000-$6,000).  An unusually fine offering of contemporary American art and photography will also generate excitement, led by an untitled lithograph by Richard Diebenkorn (est. $4,000-$6,000) and a screen print on paper, pencil signed on the lower left by Andy Warhol (est. $2,000-$4,000).


Bronze Bird Fountain with remnants of gilding by Janet Scudders (est. $15,000-$25,000)

Sculpture will be well represented at this auction, led by a bronze bird fountain with remnants of gilding by Janet Scudder (est. $15,000-$25,000).  This sculpture bears a foundry mark reading “GORHAM Co. Foundeurs,” and was included in a 1919 exhibition of 22 garden sculptures organized by W. Frank Purdy, president of the Art Alliance in New York City.  Other fine offerings include a bronze fluid abstract modernist sculpture by Oded Halahmy (est. $500-$1,000) and a 19th century carved wood with gesso and polychrome paint statue of Our Lady of Guadelupe (est. $1,000-$2,000).


American Furniture offerings are extremely strong and provide an outstanding sampling ranging from 18th century to modern forms.  Top lots include a Southern Federal Inlaid Serpentine Sideboard, circa 1800 (est. $10,000-$15,000), a North Carolina Paint Decorated Blanket Chest, attributed to Alamance County, the first half of the 19th century (est. $5,000-$10,000), a circa 1810 New York Federal Linen Press (est. $4,000-$8,000), an American Classical Secretary Bookcase, circa 1820-1840 (est. $4,000-$6,000), a North Carolina Country Sheraton Sideboard attributed to Guilford County, early 19th century (est. $2,000-$4,000), and a Philadelphia Chippendale Arm Chair, second half of the 18th century, attributed to William Savery (est. $1,000-$2,000).


Amethyst, Turquoise, Diamond, and Pearl Vintage Choker Necklace, consisting of one round amethyst weighing approximately 44 carats (est. $4,500-$6,500)

The Jewelry Department at LLAES, Ltd. has again brought a fine collection of estate jewelry and watches to market, led by an Amethyst, Turquoise, Diamond, and Pearl Choker consisting of one round amethyst weighing approximately 44 carats (est. $4,500-$6,500). Other lots of note include a Platinum and Three Stone Diamond Ring (est. $3,500-$5,500), an Antique Red Coral Bracelet (est. $600-$800), and an 18KT Diamond and Emerald Link Bracelet (est. $1,000-$3,000).


Decorative Accessories, led by a Tiffany Studios collection including a Tiffany Blown Glass and Bronze Candelabrum (est. $4,000-$8,000) and a Tiffany Studios

Tiffany Blown Glass and Bronze Candelabrum, signed Tiffany Studios New York 10088 with Tiffany Studios Monogram (est. $4,000-$8,000)

16 Piece “Grapevine” Desk Set (est. $4,0000-$8,000), will be a highlight of the sale.  Other exciting lots include an Alamance County Redware Plate, circa 1800 (est. $2,000-$4,000), a Navajo Germantown Blanket (est. $2,000-$4,000), and a Fine Ormolu and Cut Glass Chandelier, 19th century (est. $2,000 – $4,000).


LLAES, Ltd. continues to bring fresh Asian Art offerings to market.  Lots of note include a Chinese Millefleur Bottle Vase, 20th century (est. $1,000-$2,000), a Large Chinese Famille Jaune Porcelain Vase, 19th century (est. $1,000-$2,000), and a Large Chinese Scholar’s Brush Pot, likely 18th century (est. $600-$900).


Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd.’s Two-Day Winter Catalogue Auction will be held on December 2nd and 3rd, 2011.  LLAES, Ltd. is always seeking quality consignments, whether it be an entire estate or a significant item. If you would like to discuss selling please call at 919-644-1243 or email at  To learn more about Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. please visit their website at