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