Loetz Flower Form Vase, ca. 1900
Appraised Value: $8,000 - $10,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (3:28)
Lillian Nassau, LLC
GUEST: This is a vase of my great-aunt's from Ocean Springs, Mississippi. It was always one of my favorite things, and she wanted me to have it. Eventually, after I got out of college and my parents decided I was stable enough to keep it, they let me take it with me. It's a Tiffany vase is what I was always told, and everyone in the family knew it as a Tiffany vase.
APPRAISER: Why did you all think that it was Tiffany?
GUEST: She'd always told me that, and my favorite color's orange so I was always drawn to it, and then she showed me the letter of her friend that had given it to her on Christmas day in 1948. She had purchased it 50 years prior to that. It's just always been a special thing to me.
APPRAISER: Well, I'm glad you brought it today, and actually I really enjoyed reading the letter. In the 1940s, people didn't really think all that much of Tiffany, but it seems as though that your aunt's friend was very much up on what Tiffany was trying to achieve.
APPRAISER: And in her letter, she talks about how Tiffany was trying to recreate the ancient vessels that were dug up on the island of Cyprus and actually were then on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She talked about the surface treatment, she talked about the elegance, the lines, and it was surprising to me because really in the 1940s, people didn't really like Tiffany, but clearly your aunt's friend did. But here's the amazing thing: it's not Tiffany.
GUEST: It's not?
APPRAISER: It is not Tiffany. But it's what I like to call the Austrian Tiffany. It's actually a piece of Loetz, and Loetz... (laughing) This is not a bad thing, you have to hear me out.
APPRAISER: This is unsigned, however, I recognized it immediately because this is how a Loetz piece would look. And it dates from around the same time. I would probably say this was circa 1902, maybe 1900. It could go five years either way.
APPRAISER: We always say that Loetz is Austrian, but actually until 1918, it was located in the Austro-Hungarian empire. It was really being made contemporaneously with Tiffany, so we don't know who saw whose work-- whether Tiffany saw Loetz's work and was inspired by it or whether Loetz saw Tiffany's work and was inspired by it. But this is what I would call the Loetz flower form vase, and Tiffany made a lot of flower forms, but usually you would not see the green leaves. Tiffany flower form would be shown with a long stem, and within the stem, there would be some green trailings that would continue on up to the cup of the flower form, but it would not be a sculptural piece.
GUEST: That's everything I've seen online and other pieces I've kept.
APPRAISER: Right, and you didn't see this. This didn't look like that, did it? Also what's interesting about this is the decoration on it, which is called phanomen. P-H-A-N-O-M-E-N.
GUEST: So this is not favrile?
APPRAISER: It is not favrile glass. It is iridescent glass, but it's Loetz's interpretation of it.
APPRAISER: And in a retail shop, it would be between $8,000 and $10,000.
GUEST: Wow, that's great.
APPRAISER: So not a bad thing, by any means.
GUEST: Well, good.
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