Published: March 1, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers. Photos Courtesy Michaan’s
ALAMEDA, CALIF. – Two February auctions at Michaan’s, a luxury sale on February 18 and the firm’s regular gallery auction on February 19, blended a variety of jewelry with Asian art, coins, decorative art, fine art and furniture. The two sales totaled $671,000. Sell-through on the luxury session was 63 percent with 107 of the 170 lots offered going out the door. Registered online bidders numbered 412 with an additional combined 21 floor, absentee and phone bidders. A total of 598 lots were offered in the following day’s gallery sale, and 467 sold for a sell-through rate of 78 percent. LiveAuctioneers hosted the majority of online bidders, totaling 656, with Michaan’s own platform accounting for 260 and floor, absentee and phones adding 81.
A top jewelry highlight was a stylized diamond, yellow gold ring featuring two figures flanking a diamond, weighing more than two carats, as if propelling the diamond up into the air. The size 6 ring sold for $12,300 to a first-time bidder and featured one old European-cut diamond weighing approximately 2.50 carats, flanked by two baguette-cut diamonds weighing a total of approximately 0.10 carat weight, set in a 14K white gold gallery atop a 14K yellow gold band designed as two human figures holding up the center diamond.
“For the best value in fine quality and design, you can’t beat buying jewelry at auction,” noted Michaan’s jewelry specialist and GIA gemologist Elise Coronado.
The firm’s fine art department assemble many finds. Eugene Grasset’s (French, 1845-1917) “The Morphine Addict,” 1897, a lithograph and pochoir depicting a woman, apparently a prostitute, injecting morphine into her leg, sold for $8,400, also to a first-time bidder. Emblematic of the time, Grasset treated the shocking subject highly aesthetically, using the two-dimensional, ornamental means of representation of Japanese printing art and Art Nouveau. Measuring 16 by 12 inches, the lithograph was pencil-signed lower right.
Another lithograph, “Sutro Baths, San Francisco,” American School, circa 1898, produced in colors on several sheets, laid to linen with wooden rollers at the top and bottom of sheet, came from a San Francisco estate. Overall 76 by 83 inches, it was bid to $6,000.
Furniture on offer carried a crisp, sharp look for discerning decorators or interior designers. A Michel Ducaroy for Ligne Roset Togo sofa, labels affixed to the exterior, was inviting and rose to $8,400.
An Asian art highlight featured a group of carved and lacquered wooden deities that collectively ganged up on their $400/600 estimate and cast a spell on a bidder to pay $10,200. The group comprised six carved, painted and gilt Chinese Buddhist figures and deities, wooden statues in various sizes and colors, together with two carved, painted and gilt Japanese guardians. It was noted that the separated double lotus base possibly belonged to the large, seated Guanyin statue.
A Tibetan silver mounted engraved Kapala skull also found favor, realizing $3,300. The top of the skull was engraved with a roundel design and hinged to the bottom portion. Silver metal mounts throughout were accented with small red stones and the skull had green glass eyes.
Seemingly in working order, a Chadburns Liverpool and London ships telegraph with brass body and black dial with white lettering marked “Chadburns / Liverpool & London” found an enthusiast and left the gallery at $6,600. Approximate dimensions were 44½ inches high.
And the perennial favorite item at auctions – Vuitton luggage – came in the form of a vintage Louis Vuitton “Lily Pons” steamer shoe trunk, circa 1930. With a brown leather exterior, brass mounts and hardware, it offered an interior with storage space to the top, shelves below housing small pull-out compartments designed for shoes. Accompanying the lot were 19 vintage wood shoe inserts. Multiple stickers on the trunk’s exterior included several White Star Line stickers. Despite the interior missing 17 of the shoe compartments (13 were included), it sailed off at $14,400.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. The next auctions are set for March 18-19. For information, 510-227-2505 or www.michaans.com.
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