• CHICAGO, Illinois
  • /
  • November 06, 2019

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LOT 276: Arthur King bracelet; 18K yellow gold, 46.68 carat emerald, and 0.25 cttw diamonds (estimate $3,000-5,000)

Auction will include property from the Collections of Governor Jim Thompson and Paul & Terry Somerson

On November 17, 2019, Toomey & Co. Auctioneers will offer a wide range of impressive material over 565 lots in its Jewelry, Silver & Objects of Vertu sale. This carefully curated auction includes property from The Collection of Governor Jim Thompson as well as The Paul & Terry Somerson Collection of 20th and 21st Century Metalwork and Jewelry.

Over the years, Governor Jim Thompson, the 37th and longest-serving governor of Illinois (1977-1991), has put together an impressive collection of art and design. Toomey & Co. has recently had the privilege of auctioning many items on behalf of Governor Thompson. The sale on November 17 will include over 100 match safes / vestas from Governor Thompson by notable makers like Gorham Mfg. Co. and Battin & Co. These intricately detailed works are made of various materials, such as sterling silver, brass, and copper, and most have popular themes (e.g., Civil War, Western, Advertising, Golf, Hunting).

Paul Somerson was a highly successful tech journalist and author during the 1980s and 1990s who later transitioned to collecting with his wife, Terry. The Somersons ultimately assembled the largest private collection of American Arts and Crafts metalwork and jewelry and also acquired many fine Modernist examples. On May 5, 2019, Toomey & Co. conducted a single-owner, catalog sale for The Somerson Collection in which 500 lots achieved $650K with a 93% sell-through rate. The Jewelry, Silver & Objects of Vertu auction on November 17 will extend this important offering with over 200 additional lots from The Somerson Collection.

LOT 380: Tiffany & Co. center bowl / three-light candelabrum, #23550; sterling silver (estimate $600-800)

The upcoming sale boasts quite an array of jewelry from several eras and makers. Highlights on offer include: an Art Deco platinum and Old European cut, ~4.80 cttw diamond ring (estimate $15,000-25,000) and an Edwardian 14K yellow gold and Old European cut, ~2.95 cttw diamond ring ($8,000-12,000). Each of these rings features three large, brilliant diamonds with elegantly shaped bands. For timepiece enthusiasts, an antique Tiffany & Co. 18K yellow gold hunter case pocket watch ($800-1,200) will be available along with a vintage Rolex 18K white gold and diamond ladies precision watch ($1,000-2,000).

Among the Arts and Crafts jewelry lots of note, the sale has five pendant necklaces by Chicago’s renowned Kalo Shop, including a particularly striking sterling silver and blister pearl example ($2,000-3,000). New England maker Susan Oakes Peabody’s ladies ring features a 14K yellow gold band with elaborate leaf decoration and four inset diamonds ($2,000-3,000). One of the rarest items in the auction is a beetle brooch with stylized wings in silver, copper, and enamel by John Adams Comstock Jr. ($800-1,200). Comstock was an Illinois-born surgeon who helped survey California’s Channel Islands given his entomological expertise and he created jewelry as well. 

Several Modernist and Contemporary lots stand out in the sale on November 17. Not only will jewelry by highly skilled Mexican designers Antonio Pineda, William Spratling, and Margot de Taxco be up for bid, but bold forms by New York maker Arthur King and Finnish sculptor Björn Weckström will also be featured. Two of the highlights from current designers include a dazzling Orianne 14K white gold, tanzanite, and diamond ladies pendant necklace ($7,000-9,000) and a Hana 18K white gold, tourmaline, and diamond ladies ring ($6,000-8,000).

LOT 467: Oscar Heyman Brothers ring; 18K yellow gold, platinum, 1.37 carat oval pink sapphire, and (2) 0.34 carat pear cut diamonds (estimate $5,000-7,000)
Toomey & Co.

The auction’s metalwork offerings are especially strong in the Arts and Crafts area. Two Kalo Shop lots that will likely garner significant attention are a sterling silver repoussé tray with applied blister pearl and a tall sterling trumpet vase (each $2,000-3,000). Other items by Chicago makers include a Lebolt & Co. sterling paneled water pitcher with undertray ($800-1,200) and two Robert Riddle Jarvie sterling trophy bowls ($500-700 and $400-600). East Coast designers will also be in demand, with examples like Mary Catherine Knight’s lidded sterling dresser jar ($800-1,200) and Peer Smed’s sterling Calla Lily salad serving set ($600-800). 

Exquisitely wrought metalwork by international designers will also be available. A Cartier cigarette case in silver, yellow gold, and sapphire ($800-1,200) evokes understated glamor while two sterling silver flatware lots from Danish makers will surely impress guests: a Jens Quistgaard for Dansk Tjorn service for eight ($3,000-5,000) and a Georg Jensen Acanthus service for six ($1,500-2,500). Items from Mexican designers demonstrate just how malleable sterling silver can be, in particular, Antonio Pineda’s pair of monumental two-light candelabra ($2,000-3,000) and a set of three realistic nesting baskets by TANE Orfebres ($800-1,200).

The Silver, Jewelry & Objects of Vertu auction scheduled for November 17 will be open to the public and held at Toomey & Co. Auctioneers, 818 North Boulevard, Oak Park, Illinois. Preview will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST starting on November 11 through November 16, with extended hours on November 14 (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.).

On December 8, Art & Design with Tradition & Innovation will conclude the 2019 schedule for Toomey & Co. Auctioneers. Altogether, nearly 600 lots will be up for bid, with prominent material drawn from the categories of painting, sculpture, decorative art, pottery, furniture, lighting, and more. Last year’s inaugural Tradition & Innovation auction, showcasing important works from the 19th century through the present, had a 94% sell-through rate. Prices realized including buyer’s premium for Tradition & Innovation and Art & Design totaled $2.2 million on December 2, 2018.

Consignments are currently invited for upcoming auctions. Photos of items may be sent to For more information on past and upcoming auctions or to request an estimate, please visit

About Toomey & Co. Auctioneers 

Toomey & Co. Auctioneers holds several carefully curated auctions each year. Departments include: Fine Art, Early 20th Century Design, Modern Design, Fine Furniture & Decorative Arts, Silver & Objects of Vertu, and Fine Jewelry & Timepieces. 

The 2016 and 2017 schedules each included additional single-owner auctions dedicated to works from the Estate of Candice B. Groot and the Estate of Joan and Milton Baxt. The 2018 schedule included the inaugural Tradition & Innovation auction and 2019 has included a single-owner auction dedicated to The Paul & Terry Somerson Collection of 20th and 21st Century Metalwork and Jewelry.

Located on the western border of Chicago in Oak Park, Illinois, Toomey & Co. is surrounded by a vibrant arts community as well as Prairie School architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright, William Eugene Drummond, George Washington Maher, and Marion Mahony Griffin.

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