Published: March 6, 2018
The mid-1800s were a bloody time in North America. Just like their neighbors in the United States, the Mexicans were caught up in a civil war of their own, which flared up in 1859 between the liberal reformists led by Benito Juárez against the conservatives led by Félix Zuloaga. Two years later in 1861, Juárez emerged victorious as he captured Mexico City, but his power would be interrupted. War isn’t cheap, and none of the fighting came without foreign debt. So when Juárez took control of his scant treasury and saw its disarray, he suspended payments of foreign debts for two years. The Europeans did not like this and, in the form of the French, Spanish and British fleets, came beckoning for their money. While Spain and Britain were just doing business, France, under Napoleon III, demanded dominion.
After sacking Mexico City and dethroning Juárez, Napoleon III installed an Austrian, Maximilian, the Archduke of Austria, as the new ruler. He brought his wife, Princess Charlotte of Belgium, the first cousin of both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and the two were formally crowned Emperor and Empress of Mexico together, but not for long. Within the course of three years, the whims of colonization grew burdensome on the French, who then changed their mind about Mexico and withdrew support, leading to the capture, court martial and execution of the emperor, who had, for all intents and purposes, only just arrived. For a visual, see Manet’s “The Execution of Maximilian” at The National Gallery. Empress Carlota, who adapted her name to better serve her newfound people, escaped, and her jewels with her. Some of those approach the auction block at Heritage Auctions, joining other top lots from around the United States in this week’s Top Picks.
Sale Date: March 17, 2018
Empress Carlota Of Mexico Group Of Jewelry
Four pieces of jewelry, believed to have belonged to the Empress of Mexico, Princess Charlotte of Belgium. The collection includes a delicate Elgin watch, measuring 1¼ inches in diameter, a gold and enamel brooch and ring, and a large gold and enamel necklace with tassels, the plaque measuring 2 by 3 inches.
Starting Bid: $3,500
Sale Date: March 16–17, 2018
Rare Fiesta Coffee Pot
Maroon, the only one known to exist.
Sale Date: March 20–21, 2018
A Large Male Mammoth Skeleton
Ice Age, Tomsk Region, Siberia, 94½ inches high.
Sale Date: March 17, 2018
Michelin Man Tire Advertising Figure
Scarce early “Bibendum” Michelin Man Tire advertising figure, 31½ inches high.
Sale Date: March 16–18, 2018
French Napoleon III Aubusson Tapestry
Circa 1850, 71-3/8 by 86½ inches, silk and wool allegorical scene.
KPM Painted Porcelain Plaque, “Saint Jerome in Prayer”
Circa 1870, artist-signed Emil Eckhart, Dresden. Incised KPM with F beneath, scepter mark, 22 by 17-7/8 inches.
Sale Date: March 18, 2018
Large Chinese Cloisonne 5-Claw Dragon Jar And Cover
Qing Dynasty, 20-7/8 inches high with cover.
Sale Date: March 14, 2018
Antique Bidjar Pictorial Rug
53 by 83 inches
Sale Date: March 20, 2018
Clark Hulings (American, 1922–2011)
Market scene, Skopje,Yugoslavia, 24 by 36 inches, oil on canvas, signed and dated 1968
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