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    Thursday, April 6th, 2017

    The Macallan in Lalique legacy collection

    The series of Spring sales at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong this week totalled US$406.1 million.  This is equivalent to the strong sales results recorded last year. Sotheby’s cel Tad Smith said: “Outstanding results in our traditional categories of Chinese ceramics and painting were joined by records across a range of collecting fields including western contemporary art and jewellery”.

    With increased participation from mainland China and buoyant demand from collectors in Asia and the west the series established records for the Pink Star diamond, the Xuande fish bowl, a piece of western Contemporary art sold in Asia, a record per carat price for a fancy intense blue diamond and a record for any whiskey lot ever sold at auction with The Macallan in Lalique which sold for US$989,423.  There was increased online purchase with an 80% increase in lots over HK$41 million sold online.

    (See posts on for April 4, April 3 and March 29)


    Saturday, April 1st, 2017

    18th century silver mug by Mark Fallon  UPDATE: THIS MADE £15,000

    A rare 18th century silver mug by Mark Fallon, Galway c1730 which was on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1974 to 2003 comes up at Bonham’s in London on April 5.

    One of only three known secular pieces made by Mark Fallon the mug is straight sided with a double scroll handle and engraved with two crests. The Jacobite Galway, which supported the Catholic King James II, was besieged and captured during the Williamite Wars in Ireland from 1688-91.

    Trade and industry suffered as oppressive laws led to the departure of many families. Because of this Galway silver is rare and most surviving pieces were designed for religious use.  The c1730 mug by Mark Fallon is estimated at £12,000-15,000.



    Thursday, March 30th, 2017

    Personal letters from Jackie Kennedy made £100,000 at Bonhams sale of  The Contents of Glyn Cywarch – The Property of Lord Harlech in London.  The Kennedy-Harlech Papers  the heartfelt personal letters between Jackie Kennedy and David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, sold in the room to a private buyer.  This was a white glove sale where every one of the 531 lots sold. The sale total was £2,599,038, more than two and a half times the pre-sale estimate.

    The collection included Mrs. Kennedy’s rejection letter to the 5th Baron Harlech, one of JFK’s most intimate confidantes.  He was British Ambassador to the US from 1961 to 1965 and he and JFK had been friends since their student days at the LSE.  The 18 letters reveal that when he asked her to marry him she responded that she saw him ‘like a brother’. They remained friends until his death in 1985. She penned the rejection letter five years after JFK’s death as she sailed on the yacht of Aristotle Onassis, the shipping magnate who became her second husband. Lord Harlech had recently lost his wife Sissy in a car crash and was said to have proposed to Jackie while they were on holiday together in February 1968.

    Other highlights included a newly discovered portrait by Marcus Gheeraerts, court painter to Elizabeth I. It sold for £269,000 against an estimate of £60,000-80,000. Painted in 1597 it portrays Ellen Maurice, a prominent Welsh heiress and Harlech ancestor, whose pearls and jewellery are worth the equivalent of one million pounds in today’s market. Two remarkable Elizabeth I joined oak three-tier buffets, circa 1580-1600, made £140,500 against an estimate of £35,000-45,000. A 1936 Rapier 10Hp Tourer, a rare British sports car, one of only 300 built sold for £31,500.  And Irish artist Daniel Quigley’s portrait of The Godolphin Arabian, one of three Eastern stallions from which all modern racehorses descend, made over five times its estimate, selling for £100,000.  The auction was to raise funds for the restoration of Glyn Cywarch (known as Glyn) which Jasset, 7th Lord Harlech inherited on the death of his father in February 2016.

    (See post on for Febraury 26, 2017)

    The Kennedy-Harlech Papers sold for £100,000.

    Marcus Gheeraerts. This Portrait of Ellen Maurice made £269,000. Her pearls and jewellery would be worth £1 million in today’s market.


    Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

    ONE of the greatest examples of early Ming porcelain in private hands will lead the Chinese works of art sale at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong on April 5.

    The large bowl is decorated with fishes in a lotus pond and ranks among the finest pieces produced in the reign of Xuande Emperor. The lobed bowl is extremely rare and possibly unique.

    The sales is part of a series of eight Hong Kong spring auction at Sotheby’s. These sales will cover most of the classic fields, from Chinese furniture and early jade carvings to Song dynasty ceramics and Qing dynasty imperial works of art.

    The series of sales is particularly rich in its offerings of Ming porcelain.  Hong Kong spring sales will be held from April 1-5 with more than 3,500 lots estimated at around HK$2.5 billion.

    UPDATE:  It sold to an Asian private collector for US$29.5 million, more than double the expected price.


    Sunday, March 26th, 2017

    From the necklace worn by Vivien Leigh and cigar case used by Clark Gable in “Gone With the Wind” (1939) to earrings worn by Marilyn Monroe in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953) the sale by Julien’s Auctions of property from Joseff of Hollywood next November is rich in important Hollywood memorabilia from a Golden Age on screen.  And they are on display at the Newbridge Silverware museum of Style Icons from now until May 14.  Marilyn Monroe’s skin tight dress was previously exhibited at the County Kildare museum.

    Legendary stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, Vivien Leigh, Judy Garland, Olivia de Havilland and Greta Garbo are among the impressive list of Hollywood’s biggest stars who wore Joseff’s designs. Highlights of the sale include necklaces worn by Bette Davis in “The Virgin Queen” (1955); a brooch worn by Marlene Dietrich in “Shanghai Express” (1932); Loretta Young’s crown and comb from “Suez” (1938); earrings worn by Marilyn Monroe in “Some Like it Hot” (1959); a necklace, earrings and ornaments worn by Greta Garbo in “Camille” (1936); Order chains worn by Katherine Hepburn in “Mary of Scotland” (1936); a necklace worn by Judy Garland in the “Ziegfeld Follies” (1946); a brooch worn by Lana Turner and medallion worn by Vincent Price in “The Three Musketeers” (1948) and a necklace worn by Olivia de Havilland in “My Cousin Rachel” (1952).

    In the 1930’s and ’40’s Joseff supplied nearly 90% of all jewellery worn on screen. He developed an antiqued plating technique specifically designed to soften the glare of the harsh studio lighting and give every piece a veneer of authenticity. Joseff of Hollywood was established in the late 1920’s. After Eugene Joseff’s untimely death in 1948 his wife J.C. managed the business  until her death aged 97 in 2010.  The live and online auctions take place at Julien’s next November 16 and 17.

    (See post on for September 7, 2016)

    A pair of earrings worn by Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blonds.

    Rhett Butler’s one of a kind cigar case from Gone with the Wind.

    A necklace worn by Bette Davis in The Virgin Queen

    The Loretta Young crown from Suez.


    Friday, March 24th, 2017

    The Guennol Stargazer.

    The Guennol Stargazer is the top lot at Christie’s Exceptional sale in New York on April 28.   One of the finest and largest preserved Anatolian marble female idols of Kiliya type it dates from the Chalcolithic Period, c3000-2200 B.C.  It has a distinguished exhibition history and has been on loan at The Metropolitan Museum of Art at various periods from 1966 to 2007. It is from a private New York collection.

    “The Antiquities department is thrilled to be offering the Guennol Stargazer in the Exceptional Sale, an iconic work of art and one universally recognized as the finest Kiliya idol in existence. This extremely rare work, though dating to the 3rd millennium B.C., is widely appreciated across collecting categories, and was a source of inspiration for 20th century masters for its sleek and modern appeal,”  G. Max Bernheimer, International Head of Antiquities remarked.

    Stargazer” is the colloquial title derived from the slightly tilted-back angle at which the large head rests on the thin neck on the nine inch high figure. This creates the whimsical impression of a celestial stare. Only about 15 nearly complete idols survive. Fragmentary examples, particularly heads, abound. Most of the complete examples have been broken across the neck, as the present figure, suggesting that the sculptures were ritually “killed” at the time of burial. It was part of the Guennol collection formed by Alastair Bradley Martin and his wife Edith, the first modern owners.  Guennol is the Welsh word for Martin.  The last marble example of the Kiliya type at auction, The Schuster Stargazer, sold at Christie’s in New York in 2005 for $1.8 million.


    Friday, March 24th, 2017

    Among the 1,000 lots to come under the hammer at two days of sales at Mealy’s in Castlecomer on March 28 and 29 are a number of paintings including portraits and tribal art and a private collection of guns and other militaria, with rare examples not seen on the market for decades.  The catalogue is online.  Here is a small selection:

    (See post on for March 21, 2017)

    ADRIAEN VANDIEST (1655-1704), ‘A Man-O-War Firing a Salute with Figures on the Shore Line (8,000-12,000)   UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Pair of 12-bore double-barrel box lock side-by-side sporting ejector guns, no. 1 & 2 by W.J. Jeffery and Co. (5,000-8,000)  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    ATTRIBUTED TO JONATHAN RICHARDSON I (1665-1745), ‘Portrait of a Military Officer’ (4,000-6,000) UPDATE: THIS MADE 6,200 AT HAMMER

    ATTRIBUTED TO MARTIN CREGAN (1788-1870), ‘Portrait of a Lady’, by repute Lady Mary Stewart, depicted with a young boy (150-200)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 190 AT HAMMER

    An oil on canvas portrait of a gentleman in the style of Rembrandt (300-500)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 850 AT HAMMER


    Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

    Archibald Knox – Tudric clock model number 0369 produced by Liberty and Company,

    An Archibald Knox Celtic inspired clock dating from 1901-05 will feature at Sotheby’s Design sale in New York on March 29. Born on the Isle of Man, Archibald Knox (1864-1933) was the artist who defined The Liberty Style or English Art Nouveau.

    His Celtic inspired designs propelled Liberty & Co to the foreground of avant-garde decorative art in the late nineteenth and early twenty century.

    Knox’s Celtic heritage is inseparable from his island home. Knox was expert on the many Celtic crosses that dot the island, and was also inspired by masterpieces of Christian illumination like the Books of Kells. These sources of inspiration reflect in the elegant silhouettes and intricate decoration of his clocks and objects.

    In a catalogue note Sotheby’s say that the lots presented in this sale epitomize Knox’s talent to reinterpret the complex Celtic interlacing decoration and coloration that can be found in the early manuscript illumination and adapt them in his objects, though elegant lines realized in silver and pewter and enamelled decorations. The clock is estimated at $3,000-5,000.


    Sunday, March 19th, 2017
    An 18th century marble fireplace will be the centrepiece of the sale at Lynes and Lynes in Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork on March 25.  The Irish Georgian breakfront Carrara and giallo antico marble fireplace is in original condition and complete with brass inset grate.  It is estimated at 20,000-30,000.
    Antique Cork furniture includes a Regency secretaire bookcase (3,000-5,000) and four early nine bar chairs (400-600). A Killarney wood tray inlaid with scenes of Muckross Abbey has an estimate of 150-250.  There is a large collection of antique furniture and collectibles.

    The auction will include a lifetime collection of GAA hurling and football programmes to be sold in over 60 lots. The 1939 All Ireland hurling programme in which Kilkenny beat Cork is estimated at 500-700.  This is a 12 page booklet complete with songs and ballads. There are match programmes from the ’40’s, ’50’s and ’60’s with estimates from 20 upwards. The catalogue is online. Here is a small selection.

    An Irish Georgian Cararra and giallo antico marble fireplace  UPDATE: THIS MADE 19,000

    A pair of antique Irish cut glass urns  UPDATE: THESE SOLD FOR 760

    A Cork Regency secrétaire bookcase  UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    The 1939 All Ireland hurling final programme – a 12 page booklet printed with songs and ballads UPDATE: THIS MADE 500


    Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

    The book on crests is on the far right.

    Crests of the principal families of Great Britain and  Ireland are included in a lot coming up at Sotheby’s sale of two great Scottish collections in London on March 28.  Lot 175 in  a sale of property from the Forbses of Pitsligo and the Marquesses of Lothian is a collection of six works on heraldry and peerage dating from 1716-1805.

    The Crests of the Principal Familes of Great Britain and Ireland was published in 1805.  There are 38 plates with prefaces.  The book belonged to Sir William Forbes and the lot is estimated at 600-800.   Property from Fettercairn House, for centuries the home to generations of Forbeses, leads the sale.  There are over 400 lots spanning the 16th century to the present day.  This will be followed by some 70 lots from the stores and attics at Monteviot House.