When you travel what items do you buy as souvenirs for yourself? Do you buy any jewelry from your destination? Skinner Auction House in Boston Massachusetts hosted a small sampling of a traveler whose taste veered towards the Arts and Crafts and high-end costume jewelry that went up for sale today. Susan Freeman, a jewelry designer and collector based in New York had 37 items in the June Fine Jewelry sale at Skinner.
I will look at some highlights from Susan Freeman’s collection (to see full collection at Skinner click here) and then look at the results for her collection.
For me the top item I wanted to see was the praying mantis brooch by Marcel Boucher. I have a few of his costume jewelry pieces. Marcel Boucher started his career in the 1920s at New York, working for fine jewelry houses such as Cartier. He started his own business in the late 1930s. Many of his pieces are highly collectible due to the quality of work can mistake them for fine jewelry. One of the most collectible pieces is the praying mantis. I have seen it online for sale of up to a few thousand dollars. I went to see Freeman’s brooch in person and was surprised at its size.
A large brooch but if I get the chance I will buy one day. It makes quite a statement.
Another fun item of costume jewelry was a bracelet attributed to Hobe. A designer based in New York in the late 1920s. The jewelry company was popular in the ‘40s and ‘50s. This bracelet is rhinestones and carved green glass.
Another vintage costume brooch, designed as a bird clutching a floral spray. No designer listed
A change from the costume was a small amount of Arts and Crafts jewelry like this Silver, Boulder Opal, and Beryl Necklace, with Celtic motifs. Picture from Skinner on left, my picture on right.
Art Deco and sterling jewelry were also featured in the sale as part of her collection. The pieces came in different materials but were not the romantic, high sparkle you might traditionally think of. Some examples below. (Photos from Skinner)
(l) Art Deco Silver Pendant, Etienne David, France, c. 1930, (m) Art Deco Enamel and Aluminum Cuff, (r) Art Deco Lacquered Metal and Leather Brooch, Attributed to Jean Dunand
Her tastes in jewelry are unique. I tried to find more about her but only saw she had a sale at Bonhams for another jewelry collection in December of 2009. (Link to that auction here) Picture below of Freeman from the 1970s provided by Skinner.
How did Freeman’s collection do in Boston? Her collection sold at a rate lower than what last year’s rate of sold versus unsold was. For last year’s fine jewelry (June 2016), 84% of the pieces sold. In Freeman’s collection of 37 pieces only 23 (68%) sold. Of those 23 sold only 9 (39%) met the high estimate or went beyond it. For example, without the buyer’s premium, Lot 32 the Art Deco Silver Pendant by Etienne David pictured above was estimated to sell between $600-$800, it sold for $800. The praying mantis brooch lot 11 was expected to make between $600-$800, it sold for $1000 (no buyer’s premium included). Which is great for the auction house which adds a percentage on to the sale for their fees.
What did not sell? One quick scan of the items shows that of the 14 items, 6 (43%) had been attributed to a designer, meaning the style was inspired but not created by them or at least cannot be proven that they designed it. The pieces that mentioned attributed did not sell. For collectors and investors attributed will not do much for resale value unless the buyer cares only about the design for their own enjoyment or the materials have some value.
The results of all pieces from the fine jewelry auction will be updated and I will see in my next post how the whole auction did and see if Susan Freeman’s collection matched the results for the rest of the auction items. I hope you enjoyed the article. Do you have any stories about a piece you collected? I would love to hear about it in the comments. Return soon for more from Data in the Rough!