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The fabulous Favrile accounted for many of the top bids, although in the case of the two most expensive Tiffany lamps, much of the attraction lay not in their glass shades but in their distinctive metal bases. Topping the bill at a treble estimate $180,000 (£126,760), paid by a private collector, was the table lamp illustrated Top right. This piece included a 22-inch domed shade with a Greek key pattern in shades of yellow and orange, but the real feature was its ‘Leaf and Arc’ base. This particular base required a complex casting technique and – given that is thought to be the most expensive lamp base the New York firm produced – very few survive. Specialist Dean Lowry speculated that base and shade would not stay together. “When you have a $150,000 base it seems a shame to put such a modest shade on top of it,” he said.

The same collector – a gentleman whom Dean Lowry had visited at his home prior to the sale to give a personal viewing of the rarest pieces – also carried off the large Tiffany Studios lamp pictured Bottom right. This had a 2ft (60cm) diameter shade decorated with swirling lemon leaves and geometric brickwork, which was raised upon a reticulated or latticework base. Again the base was the main attraction – in the catalogue the auctioneers speculated it was unique, although a couple of others are known. Multi-estimate bidding is quite unusual for Tiffany lamps (prices are relatively easy to predict in a well-established market) but buyers certainly agreed this was something most unusual. The $120,000 (£84,505) price was almost three times the estimate.