Akiba Antiques Greets Fall With Global Sale of Metalwork, Decorative Art

Liz Catalano
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Akiba Antiques will welcome autumn with over 650 lots from around the world in its upcoming Fall Collection sale. The catalog offers a range of decorative art, furniture, and collectibles across time periods and price points. This auction particularly highlights fine metalwork, from Russian drinking vessels to Tiffany & Co. silver sets. 

Explore Akiba Antiques’ current metalwork offerings before placing a bid.

Important sterling silver centerpiece by Paulding Farnham for Tiffany & Co. Image from Akiba Antiques.
Important sterling silver centerpiece by Paulding Farnham for Tiffany & Co. Image from Akiba Antiques.

Tiffany & Co. Sterling Silver Centerpiece by Paulding Farnham

At just 26 years old, a young Paulding Farnham joined Tiffany & Co.’s workshop in New York. A fruitful apprenticeship quickly led to additional opportunities. The designer climbed the ranks of the growing company and designed elaborate jewelry pieces for the Exposition Universelle of 1889 in Paris. Farnham’s award-winning orchid brooches drew inspiration from silverware that he saw in his mentor’s workshop. Farnham later created his own silver patterns for Tiffany & Co. 

The upcoming Akiba Antiques sale will highlight a sterling silver centerpiece in Paulding Farnham’s 1905 Renaissance Revival pattern (lot #38A; estimate: USD 30,000 – $80,000). He created his first Renaissance Revival service for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. Like many designers in the early 20th century, Farnham found himself drawn to elaborate Renaissance motifs. A rising American middle class also favored the style for its elegance and ability to easily signal wealth. The available silver and cut-glass centerpiece rests on a mirror plateau. It features fruit swags, engraved crests, and delicate winged figures.

Napoleon III Christofle gilt bronze centerpiece. Image from Akiba Antiques.
Napoleon III Christofle gilt bronze centerpiece. Image from Akiba Antiques.

Christofle Gilt Bronze Centerpiece 

Before Paulding Farnham could turn his attention to reviving Classical forms, Christofle had long since established its dominance in highly detailed metalwork. Established in 1830 by Charles Christofle, the brand was among the first to bring sculptural details to the dinner table. Christofle silver was especially popular among royals and merchants in the 19th century. 

A gilt bronze centerpiece from Christofle will come to auction with Akiba Antiques this October (lot #45; estimate: $20,000 – $30,000). It bears openwork designs of banners, foliage, scrolls, and flowers. Christofle produced this piece in the 1880s, shortly after Napoleon III’s exile and death. The emperor’s tastes continued to influence French design during the Third Republic. Made in the Napoleon III style, this centerpiece has ornate decorative motifs and references to past European design movements.

Rare 19th-century Tibetan silver and jade vessel. Image from Akiba Antiques.
Rare 19th-century Tibetan silver and jade vessel. Image from Akiba Antiques.

Tibetan Silver and Jade Vessel

For centuries, Tibetan vessels were made almost exclusively from copper and brass. Artisans only occasionally added silver and gold details to ritual objects and tea items. As metalworking techniques spread through India and Central Asia in the 17th and 18th centuries, elaborate silver items became increasingly popular in Tibet. Craftspeople also added jade details to particularly important objects. A 19th-century Tibetan silver vessel with jade accents is among the leading lots of Akiba Antiques’ upcoming auction (lot #11; estimate: $5,000 – $15,000). Layered clouds cover the vessel’s round body. Carved dragons form the handles, and small jade medallions, coral inserts, and malachite accents add color to the piece.

Russian Ovchinnikov silver celebratory kovsh. Image from Akiba Antiques.
Russian Ovchinnikov silver celebratory kovsh. Image from Akiba Antiques.

Russian Silver Kovsh by Mikhail Ovchinnikov

Alongside Fabergé, Pavel Ovchinnikov dominated the 19th-century Russian silver market. He rose from poverty to win international acclaim and build a market among Europe’s monarchy. Pavel Ovchinnikov’s thriving business passed to his sons, Alexander, Nikolai, Pavel, and Mikhail, after his death. Ovchinnikov silver continued to spread through Russia and Western Europe until the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917. 

Available in the upcoming Akiba Antiques event is a silver kovsh produced by Mikhail Ovchinnikov after his father’s death (lot #38; estimate: $2,000 – $5,000). The style of this boat-shaped drinking vessel dates back to the 16th century. At that time, tsars possibly presented a kovsh to loyal supporters in a gesture of gratitude. The available kovsh features a detailed griffin pattern on the sides and Cyrillic lettering along the rim. 

Other notable lots in the auction include a 17th-century portrait by Karel van Mander III (lot #19A; estimate: $5,000 – $15,000) and a Satsuma porcelain censer shaped like an elephant (lot #110; estimate: $2,000 – $5,000). To learn more, check out Auction Daily’s preview of the sale.

Akiba Antiques will present The Fall Collection auction on October 5th, 2021. The sale will begin at 12:00 PM EDT. To view each available lot and register to bid, visit LiveAuctioneers, Bidsquare, or Invaluable.

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James Ardis
James Ardis
Senior Writer and Editor

James Ardis is a writer, editor, and content strategist focused on the auction industry. His company, James Ardis Writing, has partnered with auction houses, galleries, and many clients outside the art world.

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