Tiffany Studios Tea Screen, ca. 1900
I got it in Atlanta, in 1997. It's marked on the back, Tiffany Studios. I know that it's a tea screen. I don't know what a tea screen is.
A tea screen was to be put in front of a tea kettle that was on an alcohol burner to keep the burner from going out. It's an interesting piece. A lot of people that think about Tiffany, they think about glass, they think about lamps. We've shown desk set pieces. When you bought this piece ten years ago, do you mind me asking what you paid for it?
It was $3,200.
That's a lot of money then, it's a lot of money now for something. I would say, truthfully, that that's a pretty fair price that you would've paid back then. One of the things that I also thought about with this piece is a lot of these have been reproduced. And when we see these, because we see them so infrequently, it's a concern for us. So when I started looking at the piece, one of the first things I look at is the glass that's in it. Is it Tiffany glass or is it not? And interestingly enough, many of the pieces that I saw, I felt very strongly were Tiffany. There were some of them that I looked at and I thought, I'm not as comfortable about. Next, I took a look at the quality of the workmanship of the metalwork and that all seemed to be pretty nice, with the exception. I started to look at some of the lighting work that was in it, and some of it looked fine. And then some of it... just didn't look quite right. It was flattened. It looked a little bit sloppy. The other thing I looked at is probably one of the things you looked at, was the signature that was on the bottom of it. It said "Tiffany Studios, New York." Some of these are signed and some of them aren't. This one is signed-- however, the mark is very light, and you normally don't see that. Which made me go, "Hmm. "I don't know what to make about this mark. I don't like it." While talking with my colleague, we both kind of went across... I like this; I don't like this. Some of the aspects of yours were right, and some of them weren't right. Sometimes we sit back and say, we're not sure. If you ask me, "Would I buy this piece?" My answer would be no, and the reason why is because there weren't enough things that I thought were right about it versus the things that I thought were wrong. With that said, I would give it a decorative value of only about $1,000. I'm sure that's not what you wanted to hear today.
But here's what I'm willing to do. I want you to prove me wrong. I don't know it all, nobody does. I want you to research it a little bit further to determine: is the leading correct? Pull it back-- something that we can't do here-- and give you a bottom-line answer. Maybe it was restored, and maybe that's why I'm seeing the sloppy leading and a couple of the pieces of the glass that I don't like. So that's a possibility also. If you find the piece is right, on today's market, this tea screen would very easily sell for $15,000- $20,000.
So, I'm really excited that you brought it in, and I can't wait to hear what you find out.
Thank you very much.
Thanks for bringing it.
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