A century-old spoon sparked an international bidding war at auction today and sold for thousands of pounds.
The Wiener Werkstätte silver spoon, designed by Josef Hoffmann, circa 1910, went under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers’ Country House Fine Art and Library Auction at Bishton Hall, Staffordshire, with an estimate of £800-£1,200.
However, with strong interest from important dealers and collectors around the world, the price soared to £3,600 as two phone bidders and online clients battled to secure the item. With buyer’s premium and VAT, the total price paid by an international phone bidder was £4,464.
Silver expert at Hansons Auctioneers Victoria Sheppard said: “It was a fantastic find – a very exciting piece. It was an honour and a privilege to sell it. You would normally expect something like this to crop up in New York or London – not the Midlands.
“The spoon was so sought after because Josef Hoffmann was a founder of the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna workshops), a production community of visual artists in Vienna, Austria. It brought together architects, artists and designers working in ceramics, fashion, silver, furniture and graphic arts. Their work is highly desirable today.
“The spoon was found in a Midlands home by Steven Bruce, a valuer for Hansons. As soon as I saw it, I thought it was something special. I thought it could be a Wiener Werkstätte and that proved to be the case.
“The price achieved is exceptional – treble the estimate. In 2011, a Josef Hoffmann teapot sold for €25,000 (£21,372) but this may be a record for a Hoffmann spoon.”
Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956) is among the most famous architects and designers of the Art Nouveau period. He joined Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Maria Olbrich and others to establish the Vienna Secession in 1897.Later, he collaborated with Koloman Moser to found the Vienna Workshops.
Hoffmann was awarded the Grand Austrian State Prize for Architecture in 1950 and important institutions around the world have continued to exhibit his work since his death at the age of 85 in 1956.
The spoon was sold on April 4 at Hansons’ Country House Fine Art and Library Auction at Bishton Hall, Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire.
To find out more or to arrange a free silver valuation, please email [email protected]