Deaccessioning, moi?

Mark and Susan Laracy on collecting, ageing, and changing tastes

We started collecting in our early forties, facilitated by the success of the perfume company we founded after Mark’s separation by firing from corporate life. The premise of Parfums de Coeur, “Designer quality fragrances not designer prices”, proved powerful and enduring...we sold it after thirty years of success and profitable growth.

Early on we acquired a noble white brick colonial on nine acres in New Canaan, Connecticut. Designer-magician, Albert Hadley transformed it into a place of great comfort, luxury, and beauty and he became part of our life for twenty six years. We collected American antiques, furniture and art, John Brewster, Amni Phillips, Goddard Townsend. We wanted to project a life of conservative comfort, solid old money—of course, nothing could have been further from the truth!

“Timing IS everything!"

Come 2005, we were empty nesters, Susan decided to depart Connecticut and move to New York City. We wanted change, foreign films, newness. We found a co-op at One Fifth Avenue, starting a long running love affair with Greenwich Village.

In early 2007 we sold our antiques collection and New Canaan house, talk about blessed timing!

Ours proved a familiar collecting arc; brown furniture and folk art gave way to mid-century modern furniture and contemporary art. We were tired of dark; we wanted color, newness, more space! In 2010 a Greenwich Village townhouse came our way. We had never stopped buying and collecting and we were always redecorating!

We continue changing our lives. We are building a new mid-century modern style house in Beverly Hills. Again, we wanted change, to be near our only grandchild, in La La land. We will be bi-coastal—New York and Los Angeles—straight urban energy full on.

Another motivation was realizing Mark has proven unable to maintain three houses; just too, too much. So we are selling our Florida home at the Bears Club and our 1917 Summer home in Weekapaug, Rhode Island.

By now you see the contents of those two houses will not easily fit into one new smaller house, thus our parting ways with these long cherished objects.

On one hand we’re sorry to see these go. However, these memories will always be with us, the wins and misses at so many auctions, Albert Hadley’s special eye on our handful of houses, most of all what a lucky and mostly happy life we have had together. We are passing these on, and, dear reader, we hope these bring you the same pleasures and good fortune we have so enjoyed.

P.S. A mild antidote to the above admitted orgy of fat cat disease: we regularly give to and support Harlem Children’s Zone and KIPP. This, and our two wonderful sons, is what we are most proud of...

Tiffany & Co.

The name Tiffany is now synonymous with luxury around the globe, but the company was born from slightly more humble beginnings. In 1837, 25-year-old Charles Lewis Tiffany and his friend John Young opened a stationary and fancy goods store in New York City on Broadway. Catering to fashionable men and women, they purveyed a new “American style” more inspired by the natural world rather than the ceremonial patterns and ornamented Victorian opulence of earlier decades. In 1853, Charles Tiffany took control of the company and renamed it Tiffany & Co. By then, he had already introduced their signature, and now iconic, robin’s egg blue color.

Tiffany’s silver studio, headed by celebrated silversmith Edward C. Moore, was the first American school of design. Moore compiled an enormous collection of sketches and artwork, encouraging apprentices both to study them as well as to observe and sketch the natural world. Under his guidance, the studio developed their own design identity and became famous for elegant, Japonesque-style silver and glittering gemstone and diamond jewelry. Tiffany & Co. became the first American company to adopt the British silver standard of using only 92% pure metal, and he achieved international acclaim at the 1867 Paris World’s Fair where he was awarded the Grand Prix for silver craftsmanship; it was the first time an American design firm had been honored so by a foreign jury.

By 1870, Tiffany & Co. had become the premier silversmith in America and leading purveyor of jewels and timepieces. Tiffany purchased crown jewels from France and Spain, revolutionized the engagement ring with solitaire prong-set stones, and by the end of the century would be known as the “King of Diamonds”—a fitting title for someone who was appointed Royal Jeweler to the crowned heads of Europe, the Ottoman Emperor, and the Czar of Russia. The firm won numerous awards at international exhibitions, employed more than one thousand people, and had established branches in London, Geneva, and Paris prior to Tiffany’s death in 1902. His son, Louis Comfort Tiffany (founder of Tiffany Studios), then took the helm and became design director.

Already a leading designer and artist in the Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts movements, the younger Tiffany stewarded the company to even greater heights. They successfully navigated changing styles, adjusting to the Art Deco aesthetic through the 1920s and 30s and, after L.C. Tiffany’s death in 1933, the more streamlined, modernized designs of the 1940s and 50s. Their success and notoriety only continued to grow throughout the 20th century as they continued to hire visionary designers such as Jean Schlumberger, Paloma Picasso, and Elsa Peretti, and garnered diverse and important commissions, from the Congressional Medal of Honor to the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the National Football League, which they have created since the first Super Bowl in 1967.

Throughout its history, America’s elite politicians, families, socialites, and actors have all frequented Tiffany & Co.: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, the Vanderbilts, Astors, Whitneys and Havemeyers, Elizabeth Taylor, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, to name but a few. With their global presence and steadfast dedication to excellence of quality and craftsmanship, Tiffany & Co. continues to be one of the foremost creators of silver, jewelry, and vertu in the world today.

Upcoming Lots Tiffany & Co.

Auction Results Tiffany & Co.