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Most over priced silver listing on the internet - Tiffany Million Dollar Centerpiece & Plateau

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

We discovered this Tiffany & Company, George Paulding Farnham, A Rare, Lavish Silver Centerpiece on 1st Dibs

Unequivocably, this is perhaps one of the most beautful and most important pieces of Tiffany Sterling Silver offered for resale anywhere. The figurals and the florentine lace thick style decoration and intricites are stunnng. You seldom see quality this nice and also the scale of the piece is equally unparalled.


However, ........................ The asking price on this is staggering at $1,000,000.00. The listing on 1st Dibs does not denote a weight, but we asked the seller and they gave an estimate of 700 troy ounces. This would equate to $1,428.57 per troy ounce. It is a gorgeous one of a kind piece, but it is really worth that much money?




In our opion, the answer is no. We have previously featured another Tiffany piece that is in the same exact pattern: https://www.silvermuseum.org/post/tiffany-sterling-silver-9-light-candelabras-pair-displayed-at-the-paris-exposition-of-year-1900.


This pair of Tiffany Sterling Silver 9 Light Candelabras were displayed at The Paris Exposition of Year 1900. These were also designed by Paulding Farnham in the Georgian revival style circa 1897-1898. The candelabras feature applied scrolling acanthus branches with leafy sconces and asparagus stems.

This pair weighs 739 troy ounces and is offered at $149,000.00. This equates to $201.62 per troy ounce. The Tiffany Centerpiece on 1stDibs for $1,000,000 equates to $1,428.57 per troy ounces. If I was a consumer and had to chose between the two, I would be looking at the candelabras with more enthusiam paying only $200 per troy ounce versus $1,428.57 per ounce for the centerpiece and plateau. In our opnioin the centerpeice and plateau are well over priced. We can give a little extra credit for the female figurals and maybe say that it should be more valuable because of that. However, these figural elements should not bump up the value by 7 fold. In our opinion, based on known comparables out there, the million dollar centerpiece and plateau should only be valued at $199,995. This makes this one of the most overpriced silver listings that has ever been on the internet. That said, it is still a gorgeous and one we would love to own ourselves. However, even if we were billionaires (which we are not) we would still not ever want to overpay by 5 times for a piece that we loved. If I ever overpay on something by a large amount, we always have a tendenacy to look at it later and instead of admireing its beauty, all we can think of is that we got carrried away and paid too much. We would really have these panges of regret and buyer's remorse if we paid $1,000,000 for this centerpiece and plateau.



Seller's Description of the this beautiful TIffany Centerpiece and Plateau:

Tiffany & Company and George Paulding Farnham, A rare, lavish and monumental sterling silver centerpiece with original mirrored-glass sterling silver plateau, circa 1900. Museum quality. In the George III style, designed by Paulding Farnham for Tiffany and Co, New York. Of palatial and monumental size. Centerpiece: 15" high x 30" wide x 27" deep Plateau: 3" high x 39" wide x 34" deep In excellent condition, ready to place. Of oval form, the everted rims formed of openwork scrolling classical foliage and bellflower swags, the tops applied with standing scrolling foliage with four silver caryatid female figures, the bases overlaid with acanthus and palmettes. The original, silver mirrored plateau with scrolling open-work. There is a very similar Silver centerpiece at The Dallas Museum of Art which was displayed as the focus of the Tiffany & Co. exhibit at the 1900 World's Fair in Paris. World Fairs, or Expositions were opportunities for companies to define themselves to the world. Another version, completed in 1904, is illustrated by John Loring in Tiffany's 150 Years, pages 124 and 125. This lavish centerpiece was part of a service containing more than two hundred works in a related pattern. At the time of the Tiffany & Co. exhibit at the 1900 World's Fair in Paris, critics wrote of the George III centerpiece as an example of pure silversmithing in its highest state. The centerpiece is the work of Tiffany's most renowned designer, George Paulding Farnham, who was responsible for the firm's silverware and jewelry designs, often drawing upon his expertise to produce intricately detailed and opulent objects for expositions at the turn of the century. George Paulding Farnham first started working at Tiffany & Co in 1885 as a general assistant to Edward C. Moore in the design department. By the age of 28 he was 'regarded as Tiffany's young genius of jewelry design' and was put in charge of preparing roughly 200 designs for the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889. His collection of enameled and jeweled gold orchids won him a gold medal and were 'singled out by the press as the most original and outstanding jewels shown at the exposition. Celebrating the turn of the century, the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris was one of the greatest events of its time, holding the attendance record for World's Fairs with some 50 million visitors. 'Paulding Farnham's Tiffany & Co. displays of jewels and silver once again won the gold medals'. According to the New York Times, Tiffany & Co. won three gold metals including one for silver: In their display here, particularly in gems and fine work in precious metal, they have thrown the gauntlet at the feet of the world, and in domestic silverware the most remarkable results are shown. The installation is conspicuous for its artistic beauty and and the elegant articles of luxury shown. Farnham's best silver designs of the period, have a jewel-like luster and richness to them. Tiffany & Co., in their archives, retain an image of a centerpiece bowl that is titled 'George III', acknowledging silver of the late 1780's and early 1790's with similar classical decoration. This important centerpiece bowl is now in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art, very similar to the one offered here. This stunning centerpiece is marked underneath 'TIFFANY & Co/ MAKERS/ STERLING SILVER/ 925 with further numbers impressed. The plateau is marked 'TIFFANY & Co/ MAKERS/ STERLING SILVER


If money is no object and you don't care if you are overpaying to get something you really like, then go for it! However, after reading our evaluation, we strongly advise you to negotiate a much lower price. Best of luck! P.S. If you buy the centerpiece, also buy the matching (more reasonably priced) candelebras to go with them! That would be quite a table fit for royalty!


 

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Thanks,

Greg Arbutine

Silver Museum Owner

The Silver Museum buys sterling silver made by Tiffany. Please sell your Tiffany silver to The Silver Museum!




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Dec 13, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Awesome Article and interesting evaluation.

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