Several months ago I was asked to do a blog for the 31 Club on Steuben and I believe that request was honored. However I just received the prices from Early's Art Glass sale and was somewhat surprised by the Steuben prices that were much stronger than I thought they would be.
The more common pieces didn't set the world on fire but still did quite well. The Steuben Blue and Gold Aurene mostly fell within the range of their estimates but get this. A Yellow Jade bowl, 10 ½ inches in diameter with an estimate of $200 - $300 was hammered by the auctioneer at $2500. I wish I had been there to see the people's eyes in the audience as this prize continue to climb in price.
However, these aren't the pieces of Steuben I want you to concentrate on at the moment. I have to admit that, until recently, I wasn't familiar with the names Chuthra and Cintra but you can bet that now they are a part of my vocabulary. Yes, they are seldom mentioned in discussions of Steuben, but be assured that every Steuben collector is aware of them. Most of the pieces carrying these names will command over $1000 if you are fortunate enough to find them in a dealer's booth. However, since the public is usually unaware of them, they may be found at much more favorable prices.
Here is my story and why I had to educate myself on these names. I had been called in to buy items that were for sale by a wonderful lady for her elderly father. There were paintings and glass, porcelain and pottery galore. She, however, had done her homework and most of what she was offering was out of my price range. But not wanting to be deterred in my search, I asked if I could visit her basement and she agreed. There were racks and bins of mostly worthless junk stacked from floor to ceiling.
My eye quickly scanned from wall to wall but then fell on this sort of ugly centerpiece. It was a very unattractive piece and had a matte surface, but for some reason I just had to pick it up. The first clue was that it had a ground pontil. This is where the piece had been snapped off from the rod it was attached to. Usually only the better pieces have a ground pontil. Then the real search began for the signature. The mark wasn't easy to find but finally there it was, Stueben. I asked the price and it seemed reasonable at $25. Getting home and looking in my glass books to my anazement the true value was closer to $2000. There was a piece no larger than mine that was listed in the Early's last sale ande it sold, even in this market, for $1400. By the way, I also bought a Daum Nancy perfume bottle from that home.
The beauty is in the eyes of the beholder as I mentioned before. But this can mean major bucks for you. So keep those eyes open and if in doubt about the value of a piece be sure to pick it up and look.
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