Published: April 2, 2019
Lots to report this week: a Patek Philippe wristwatch, custom made in 1979 for Muammar Gaddafi, was of particular interest to an unnamed “high-ranking Middle Eastern Official” who committed to a final bid eight times higher than the initial $25,000 estimate at Christie’s. Fine craftsmanship buoyed a 1939 22-foot mahogany Chris-Craft Motorboat as it floated a final bid of $61,500. At Copake, a collector left auctioneers extremely curious as a 9-by-7 inch charcoal drawing of a seated woman gazing out a window sold at $4,425 while it listed an estimate of $50/75. Chinese vessels and carved cabinets joined an American swan decoy and Tiffany-style replicas to keep the bidding brisk in this week’s “Across The Block.”
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – A Patek Philippe, made in 1979 at the behest of former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, fetched $193,750 at a Christie’s rare watch auction on March 24. Before the auction, the 18K gold, cushion-shaped wristwatch was initially estimated to sell for around $25,000. In the end, an anonymous bidder snapped it up for a significant premium on expectations. Sold by an unnamed “high-ranking Middle Eastern official,” the watch features an inscription in Arabic on its pale green dial that reads: “Only in times of need will you find freedom,” accompanied by Gaddafi’s signature. According to Christie’s, only two other models like it exist, one of which features the same saying in English. For information, +971 4 425 5647 or www.christies.com.
BEACON, N.Y. – Hudson Valley Auctioneers conducted a two-session sale on March 11 featuring 350 online and in-house lots from a Poughkeepsie, N.Y., mansion with Nineteenth Century antiques and other estates. The surprise of the evening was a set of Tiffany-style replicas of table lamps and one floor lamp. The repros ranged from $4,375 to $17,500, which was the final price of the floor lamp. For more information, 845-480-2381 or www.hudsonvalleyauctioneers.com.
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Garth’s country Americana auction on March 15 was led by an American swan decoy that sold for $4,440. Attributed to Currituck, N.C., the early Twentieth Century preening swan exhibited old white paint and its bill had a square nail. It measured 13 inches high and 30 inches long. For information, 740-362-4771 or www.garths.com.
ST LOUIS, MO. – At Selkirk’s third annual Gentleman’s auction on March 16, part of a large group of wildlife art by artists such as Bev Doolittle, Simon Combes and Michael Sieve sold for $7,500. A highlight of the group was Combes’ (British, 1940-2004) “Male Lion Coming At You,” an oil on canvas, signed and dated November 2001 lower right, framed measuring 37½ by 29½ inches. For information, www.selkirkauctions.com or 314-696-9041.
ATLANTA, GA. – Luxury estates and private collections came to auction at Great Gatsby’s Auction Gallery on March 16-17. The sale featured a collection of Nineteenth Century French antiques, including several monumental cabinets and buffets, Sevres urns, artwork and more. A Louis XVI-style mahogany, satinwood, gilt-bronze mounted, marquetry inlaid, marble top commode, after the original by Jean-Henri Riesener, turned heads at $40,000. But what really got bidders revved was a 1939 Chris-Craft 22-foot mahogany boat with trailer that sold for $61,500. For information, www.greatgatsbys.com or 770-457-1903.
DANIA BEACH, FLA. – Among the eclectic collection of estate material crossing the block at Akiba Antiques on March 13 were several Asian lots ranging from precious stone foo dogs to gilt wood bodhisattvas and jade carvings. In this latter category, a Chinese carved spinach jade vessel in the form of an archaic bronze container sold for $13,500. For additional information, 305-332-9294 or www.akibaantiques.com.
NEW YORK CITY – A highlight in Showplace Antique + Design Center’s March 17 sale was a pair of Nineteenth Century Chinese relief carved exotic zitan wood cabinets that were sold individually for $32,500 and $27,500, respectively, for a combined price of $75,000. For information, 212-633-6063 or www.nyshowplace.coom.
OAKLAND, CALIF. – A Chinese cloisonné enameled gu-form vase, 12½ inches high with a turquoise ground, came to the block on March 17 at Clars Auction with an estimate of $1/1,500. The body of the vase is enameled with blue dragons, zoomorphs and taotie motifs accented by notched flanges, and below the trumpet neck, yellow floral scrolls abound. After multiple bidders joined the fray, a final bid of $39,975 won the vase. For information, 510-428-0100 or www.clars.com.
COPAKE, N.Y. – While it was a copper Statue of Liberty weathervane that took top lot honors at Copake Auctions on March 16 (more than tripling its $1,500 high estimate and selling for $5,605), it was the second top lot that was cause for head scratching and wondering. A 9-by-7-inch (sight size) charcoal of a seated woman seeming to gaze out a window was listed as a French School, “Drawing of a Woman,” and had a $50/75 estimate – the petite drawing sold at $4,425 to a collector. Seth Fallon, Copake Auction co-owner, said, “Regarding the charcoal, we don’t know why it did so well, nobody has filled us in on who bidders thought it was!” For information, www.copakeauction.com or 518-329-1142.
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