I apparently missed a pretty good story from earlier this year, when some of the furnishings from one of my favorite San Francisco wateringholes, Eddie Rickenbackers, were auctioned off following the death of the owner. And we’re not talking about just any old bar furnishings, but six, original Tiffany lamps with an estimated value of nearly $2,000,000!
Norman Jay Hobday, the bar’s colorful and dedicated proprietor, died in February 2011 at age 77. He’d spent much of the last 20 years of his life carefully collecting the lamps, which were manufactured around 1910.
The largest and most prized lamp in the group – “Wisteria” – stands more than 2 feet tall and has been given a presale value of $500,000 to $700,000.
Hobday, who adopted the name Henry Africa after he opened a bar in San Francisco by that name, had a good eye for the lamps and culled a valued collection over the years that appeals to dedicated Tiffany collectors, said Sarah Shepard, an account manager with Christie’s auction house in San Francisco.
“The Tiffany lamps are coming with all this history of being behind the bar,” Shepard said. “It’s a really special story. You don’t often go inside a bar and restaurant and get to look at lamps like this.”
When you went in Eddie Rickenbacker’s what you noticed weren’t the million dollar lamps sitting behind the bar, but the vintage motorcycles which hung from the ceiling in the dining room. That collection of mobile art is expected to fetch more than a million dollars at a separate auction later in the year.