Was pur­chase of item at Las Ve­gas es­tate sale worth the gam­ble?

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Residences Treasure Coast / North - Anne Gil­bert

Ques­tion: I pur­chased this un­usual piece of art at a Las Ve­gas es­tate sale in the 1990s. The sell­ers said it was a“mo­bile.” It has an etched sig­na­ture “Hig­gins” on a bot­tom piece and is made of some type of glass. I paid $50 and I have it hang­ing in my en­closed pa­tio. What can you tell me about it? Who isHig­gins and is it worth any­thing?

An­swer: Your mo­bile was de­signed by two of the most in­no­va­tive glass de­sign­ers of the 1960s, MichaelHig­gins (1908-1999) and Frances Hig­gins(1912-2004). Their stu­dio in River For­est still car­ries on their tra­di­tion un­der the su­per­vi­sion of Michael Wim­mer, who trained with them.

How­ever, the ac­tual cre­ator of the mo­bile was Alexan­der Calder(18981976), one of the pi­o­neers of mod­ern sculp­ture.

His early ab­stract sculp­tures, in­tro­duced in 1931, led to ki­netic sculp­tures that he called “mo­biles.” Many ex­am­ples of the mo­bile were made in a va­ri­ety of ma­te­ri­als. They were pop­u­lar with new par­ents who mounted them above baby cribs. The Hig­gins’ de­vel­oped mo­biles, us­ing their new tech­nique of fused glass. These days, not only are there se­ri­ous col­lec­tors of their many fused glass items, rang­ing from ash­trays to jew­elry and vases, but their work is dis­played in museums such as the Art In­sti­tute of Chicago and the Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum of Lon­don.

Your mo­bile ap­pears to be one of their early pieces and could sell at auc­tion for be­tween $1,000 and $1,500.

To learn about your an­tique, send a photo, along with its his­tory, size, any sig­na­tures and a self-ad­dressed stamped en­ve­lope and $25 to Anne Gil­bert, P.O. Box 740136, Boyn­ton Beach, FL 33437.

This piece of art might be worth up to $1,500.

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