Colorful Bohemian Glass Used Many Techniques
As seen in The Antique Shoppe Newspaper, March, 2005
Bohemian glass goblet, Seidenberg, Inc. 836
Broadway, New York, NY.
Once, old iron gates, fireplace mantels and bathroom fixtures
were sent to salvage yards when the buildings that housed them
were demolished. Not these days. Collectors and dealers have
rediscovered them. Auction houses like Red Baron , in Atlanta
specialize in them and specialty stores like Salvage One in
Chicago offer three floors and an outdoor courtyard. At
Metrolina Expo, a giant indoor-outdoor flea market , just
outside Charlotte, North Carolina, late 19th century fences and
early 20th century street lamps are among the offerings.
Some collectors look for salvage with a history. Prices depend
on a variety of factors and range from a few dollars for door
knobs to the high thousands for elaborate mantels.
At a recent Red Barron auction a carved, American Empire mantel
from a Lake Shore Drive mansion in Chicago is expected to fetch
from $18,000 to $25,000.
When it comes to strictly architectural artifacts, price can
depend on if the architect is well-known and the piece can be
attributed to him. And, what is important to the
individual collector. Names like Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd
Wright mean big bucks.
Chicago /Wilmette architect Walter Sobel doesn't consider
himself a collector, yet he has used pieces from historical
Chicago buildings to decorate his office. "It started back in
the 50s, as a personal thing," he said. "When the U.S. District
Courthouse on Jackson and Dearborn (Chicago) was scheduled for
demolition, a friend, the late Judge Hubert Will, called and
suggested we might walk through and see what pieces we could
We both decided on the bronze doorknobs and lock sets. We had
them mounted as desk decorations. Sobel also purchased a section
of the bronze railing that he used as sculpture. Over the years
he has picked up other pieces to be used decoratively.
There is nothing new about architects designing not only the
interior decorations from ceilings to moldings and furniture.
Many furniture designers, such as Thomas Chippendale and Thomas
Sheraton, also designed architectural ornaments for their
clients. This included miniature staircases that are collected.
In the late 19th to early 20th centuries, many of America's
newly rich hired architects to design their mansions with
interiors in the Gothic, Tudor and Renaissance style. It was
common for the architect to often supply entire paneled rooms,
supposedly dating from those early periods: many imported from
England. As these mansions have been remodeled, or torn down,
the finely carved fragments have found their way to auctions or
were purchased on the site. They didn't come cheap.
Size is never a problem in this category. Consider the grand
scale gazebo in carved white marble, 16 ft. high x 13 ft x 7ft.
offered at the Red Barron auction. Will it find a buyer with
the space ? You bet.
CLUES: The secret to collecting in this category is to re-orient
your thinking. Don't think of an object in its original context.
Could it used outdoors as a decorative accent ? Or, could a
collection of doorknobs be framed and hung as art in a home
office? There are many small objects including figural hardware,
hinges and door knockers. 19th century carved stair and house
finials can almost classify as folk art when the subjects are
figurals of animals, fish and flowers. These some up at
Skinner's Americana auctions in Boston.
While Tiffany leaded glass windows are sky-high in price and
rare, Salvage One offers turn-of-the-19th century leaded glass
windows from churches and schools for several hundred dollars.
They also have antique bathroom fittings, that can be as pricey
as a work of art. "Really unique is the 19th century, carved,
alabaster toilet we have priced at $2,500, " Salvage One
manager, Steven Hruskocy told me. "People are looking for
one-of-a-kind bathroom fittings."
For more ideas of items and pricing check out Miller's
International Antiques Professional Handbook.
If you have any questions, you can Email us at
The Antique Shoppe
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PO Box 2175, Keystone Heights, FL 32656-2175
Phone: (352)475-1679 Fax: (352)475-5326
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