Tiffany's ground-breaking silver and jewellery sells in New York

Here's another highlight from the important furniture, folk art, silver and decorative arts appearing for sale at Christie's New York's Americana Week 2011.

Following Christie's sale of Native American Art on January 18 is an auction of Important American Silver Including Magnificent Tiffany on January 20.

Since its founding in 1837, Tiffany & Co has set the standard for silver designs and is credited with some of the most important innovations in the field.

Christie's January 20 sale promises an outstanding selection of rare and important pieces that reflect the historic achievements and high standards that have distinguished Tiffany & Co as one of the most celebrated names in American silver.

The top lots of the sale include a Silver and Mixed-Metal Centrepiece and a Silver and Mixed-Metal Tea Tray, each Tiffany & Co, New York, circa 1880. The centrepiece is estimated at between $80,000-120,000 and the larger tray is expected to realise between $200,000-300,000.

Tiffany's ground-breaking designs in the Japanese taste brought international recognition at the Paris Exposition of 1878.

A Silver and Mixed-Metal Tea Tray, circa 1880, ($200,000-300,000)

Edward Moore, chief designer for the firm, had not only interpreted the Japanese style, but also mastered the technically complicated Meiji methods for enhancing silver with colored alloys in both copper and gold. Rather than draw from traditional western historical designs, Moore turned to unpretentious naturalistic themes, often integrating form and ornament in entirely original ways.

The shape of the tray (pictured above) takes its cue from the gourd and vine decoration and the centrepiece, formed as two pools of water, is ornamented with whirlpool motifs, floating autumn leaves, and "dripping" feet.

The sales begin January 18 with Native American Art, followed by Important American Silver on January 20, American Furniture and Folk Art on January 21, Syd Levethan: The Longridge Collection on January 24, and Chinese Export Art on January 25.

With over 1,000 lots offered in total, Americana Week 2011 is expected to realise in excess of $12 million. Watch this space for upcoming news on the sale.


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