Russian urn sells for a smashing $152,500 at Bonhams New York

Fine American & European Furniture, Silver & Decorative Arts
24 Jan 2013
New York

NEW YORK — A Russian urn from the mid-19th century has sold for a stunning $152,500 at Bonhams Fine American & European Furniture, Silver & Decorative Arts auction on January 24 in New York. Overwhelming interest in the urn engaged every available phone line, sparking a lengthy bidding war.

"The exceptional urn is Russian Imperial Porcelain – the finest Russian porcelain of that time. The surface is in pristine condition, and it features a beautifully painted scene as well as a rare chocolate brown ground for the pattern on the reverse. We're very pleased with the price realised for this remarkable piece," explained Karl Green, Director of Furniture & Decorative Arts for Bonhams in New York.

19th century French furniture offered in the sale also did very well, with many pieces surpassing their pre-sale high estimates. Pairs proved popular with bidders, for example a pair of French Chinoiserie decorated mother-of-pearl inlaid hardwood vitrine cabinets from the late 19th to early 20th century soared to $32,500. Additionally, a pair of Louis XV style gilt bronze mounted kingwood marquetry pedestals by Joseph Emmanuel Zwiener from the end of the 19th century easily surpassed their high estimate to sell for an impressive $37,500. Strong prices were also realised for pieces by other master makers, such as Linke.

From the Americana section of the sale, four panels of a 10 panel decorative screen from the Ballard House in Louisville, Ky., by Everett Shinn sold for $31,250. A moulded and sheet copper horse and sulky weathervane from the second half of the 19th century attributed to A.L. Jewell from Waltham, Mass., brought $27,500, a testament to its unique construction, exceptional condition and extensive documentation. A Queen Anne Tiger Maple Chest-on-Chest from New Hampshire featured fantastic striped graining and, with the help of a complete family history that surfaced days before the sale, tripled its low estimate to sell for $22,500.

According to Madelia Hickman Ring, Bonhams American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts specialist, "Buyers want more than just traditional forms at reasonable prices. Rare pieces in excellent condition with good or interesting provenance continue to do well."

International silver offerings proved popular. From Europe, a German 800 standard silver Art Nouveau figural oval centrepiece by Lazarus Posen Witwe sold for $17,500, and a French Louis XV silver covered pitcher by Antoine Bailly more than doubled its pre-sale high estimate to sell for $4,125. A Mexican silver Aztec style mine commemorative centre bowl from the first quarter of the 20th century sold for $9,000, while an American sterling silver two-handled "Four-in-Hand" trophy circa 1886 from New York sold for $7,500. Also from America, a sterling silver assembled punch service for twelve by Tiffany & Co. sold for $22,500.

"The prices realised illustrate that objects by well-known makers, of very good quality and of rare form fetch strong prices," emphasised Victoria Ayers, Bonhams Senior Specialist in Silver, Porcelain & Decorative Arts.

Bonhams next Fine Furniture, Silver, Decorative Arts & Clocks sale in New York will take place in April 2013.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

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