The benchmark price beats the previous 1997 record of the Pink Lotus lamp, which drew $2.8 million, crushing the Pond Lily’s previous 1989 record of $550,000, a world record at the time for any work by Tiffany Studios. For Pond Lily’s second go-round at auction this week it was estimated to draw between $1.8-$2.5 million.
“There are fewer than 14 examples known of this particular Pond Lily model, five of which reside in museum collections. So, there’s not that much precedence for valuing this particular model because it is so rare,” explains Christie’s Senior Design specialist, Beth Vilinsky as she accounts for the surprisingly high sales price. “It’s an extremely rare opportunity to acquire a piece of this rarity and magnitude. This lamp has not been on the market since 1989. And the market really hadn't been tested for a lamp of this particular caliber.”
The lamps are the product of Tiffany Studios, which began in New York City in 1895 and carried on through the 1920s. The pieces are identified by their bronze bases and “confetti glass,” which contain a variety of hues often mixed into a single shard. Pond Lily is the preferred “globe” shaped shade of the two flower categories, the other being conical. Varicolored stems stream down from the top, erupting in a riot of petals at the bell’s skirt.