A Cut Above: Woody Auction to Sell the Abernathy Cut Glass Collection
Woody Auction LLC of Douglass, Kansas is offering the Nancy and Taylor Abernathy Cut Glass Collection sale on September 9, 2023. Mr. and Mrs. Abernathy were well known among the American Cut Glass Association (ACGA) community, and they amassed a most impressive collection over their lifetimes. They specialized American Brilliant Period cut glass, which was produced from the last quarter of the 19th century through about 1920. This glass is famous for its exceptional brilliance. This auction features 377 lots of fine, century-spanning cut glass from makers including Libbey, Hawkes, J. Hoare, Meridian, and many others. Here are some noteworthy highlights from this event.
Vases are the ideal form and theme for cut glass, so it is no surprise that an amazing example takes the top lot slot here. All eyes will be on lot #0134, an American brilliant cut glass pedestal crescent vase in the Diana pattern by Libbey. This rarity is estimated at USD 7,500 to $12,000. It rests on a scalloped petticoat hobstar foot. Its angular top is elegantly, intricately, and ornately carved, reflecting the light perfectly from every angle. According to Woody Auction’s experts, this is an “incredible example.” On September 11, 2022, Magnum Auctions of Upper Sandusky, OH, sold a very similar example for $16,660.
Libbey has glassmaking roots as far back as 1818, having started out as the New England Glass Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company moved to Toledo, Ohio in 1888, where it is still headquartered and active in producing a full spectrum of table service items for consumers and the food service industry. The company is rightfully proud of its history and leadership in glass technology and innovation, and it holds many manufacturing and design patents.
Bowls of all sorts feature prominently in this sale of the Abernathy cut glass collection. Lot #0100, an American brilliant cut glass punch bowl signed ‘Hawkes’ with a panel and pillar design, is estimated at $7,500 to $10,000. This single piece pedestal rarity stands on a large scalloped hobstar foot. The top edge features complementary scalloping. This punch bowl weighs in at a whopping 16 pounds! Even ice water would taste elegant served from this beauty.
Hawkes was started by Thomas Gibbons Hawkes (Irish, 1846 – 1913) who began his career in the glass industry at age 17. A few years later, he moved to Corning, New York– the up and coming glass “capital” of America at the time. He launched T. G. Hawkes & Co. in 1880, and would go on to win a grand prize for cut glass at the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle. The company was active through 1962.
Another important category in the Abernathy cut glass collection is serving and display trays. Lot #0111, a round American brilliant cut glass tray, is estimated at $7,500 to $10,000. It is in the Columbia pattern and signed Libbey. It features an eight-pointed floral-themed focus, surrounded by eight elaborately cut circles with triangular edges. The tray measures 14.25 inches in diameter. This extremely rare pattern was designed by W. C. Anderson and patented in 1893.
William C. Anderson (American, 1858 – 1943) was a well-known and talented cut glass designer who worked for the New England Glass Company, Libbey, and the American Cut Glass Company over the course of his career. His designs, which were considered extremely innovative at the turn of last century, often included a great number of perfectly executed cutting styles per pattern.
Drinking vessels, glasses, tumblers, flutes, goblets, punch cups, and stems are also well represented in this auction. Lot #0150, an American brilliant cut glass tankard, is estimated at $7,500 to $10,000. It is signed Libbey and features the incredibly rare Aztec pattern. It displays stunning vertical cuts and textures on its body, a pattern cut handle, and a hobstar base.
Tankards are tall beer mugs that usually– but not always– feature a lid and a handle in their design. Lids became customary on tankards in the 1300s to stem the spread of disease associated with insects and the Bubonic plague. Tankards are usually made from glass, silver, pewter, ceramic, wood, or other materials and traditionally were designed to hold one pint of beer. It is thought that the expression “getting tanked” has its origins in drinking “one too many” from these legacy beverage holders.
This can’t-miss-sale rounds out with carafes, tazas, pitchers, decanters, and other elegant serving and display pieces of yesteryear. Lot #0209, an American brilliant cut glass ice cream set, is estimated at $8,000 to $12,000. It is signed J. Hoare and is in the Kohinoor Pattern. This breathtaking lot, which is “one of the finest sets to be found” according to Woody Auction’s experts, consists of one 14-inch round tray with eight matching seven-inch serving plates or low bowls. It probably is no coincidence that the magnificent pattern on this set resembles snowflakes or ice crystals, to match the theme of treats they were designed to serve.
Looking for information about other upcoming sales? Check out Auction Daily’s auction previews for more.