American Coral

Coral Hairstreak Butterfly on Oxe-eye Daisy photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, OH

Discover a bracelet or broach up in your attic, call Aunt Betty and ask her if she remembers Grandma ever buying and wearing it . . . and, if it turns out Yes . . . and it is the color of the coral spots on this Coral Hairstreak, give me a shout. When you describe the jewelry heirloom over the telephone, I’ll ask if it seems to have numerous coral stones on it? Yes? Are they the color of this butterfly’s spots? Yes? My advice will be to call Christie’s auction gallery in New York, New York. During that call, they’ll ask you to provide them with a picture of the broach  (bracelet). If it is as it is, they’ll ask you the provenance, or how can you be sure that Grandma purchased it in Dallas, when, and more. Should you or your cousins or Aunt Betty have a photo of Grandma Pearl wearing the bracelet (broach) in 1937, well that’s good, Very Good.

Christie’s will ask that you ship the broach (bracelet) to them, with much caution. Perhaps 2 weeks later, they will call you, and someone with a very Connecticut sounding voice will tell you that Christie’s would like to include your “item’ in their upcoming March sale of Magnificent Jewelry. Now you are really getting into this, and trying not to sound too anxious, you may ask, “What do you think it’d sell for [at auction in New York or London]?” Have someone there with you when you call, and well, be sitting down, when Ms Connecticut answers, ” We think it will fetch 100 to 200, especially if the room is filled with Chinese buyers.” Now, when you are deflated at this, and respond, ” One hundred to two hundred dollars?” That’s when you should also have prepared an oxygen tank at your side, for the young woman from Westport will pause, and politely say, “No, one hundred thousand to two hundred thousand dollars, and perhaps more than that.”

That by way of sharing that this rich east Asian coral reddish-orange is dazzling, and when we met in Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, very southern Ohio, that was the sweet tale that shot through my mind.

Yes, in the ’80’s I attended such auctions with my wife, and sometimes the sellers are in the large auction room, and it’s too much fun to watch them as the bidders from China, Belgium, Taiwan, Moscow, Dallas, Antwerp, London, New York, Sao Palo and Atlanta begin getting enthusiastic at owning Grandma Pearl’s broach. Some will be in the room, others will be on the telephone, working with gallery associates.

Coral hairstreak, a tiny gem of a butterfly, that LoVeS butterflyweed, and often skips a year or two or more, making it a rather hard to find rarity.

Jeff