New York—The Bonhams Fine Chinese Snuff Bottles auction took place this morning, selling 98% by value and realising a sale total of $1,022,900, more than twice the pre-sale low estimate. The auction was comprised of 170 lots, drawn primarily from three private collections: The Collection of Dr. Martin Roshco, The Collection of Mrs. Fay Plohn and The Collection of Dr. Edward A. Kopinitz. The compelling array of shapes, material, subject matter and fine provenance throughout the sale generated interest among new and seasoned buyers, with more than 90% of the lots finding buyers.
Amber snuff bottles performed extraordinarily well, claiming two spots among the top 10 lots of the sale, including the highest-selling lot. The top lot was a honey-hued amber snuff bottle, carved with an intricate basket weave pattern, selling for $64,900 (pre-sale est. $18,000-$25,000). Also among the top lots was a cabbage- shaped, carved amber snuff bottle which sold for $23,750 - close to 10 times its pre-sale estimate of $2,000-$3,000.
The second highest-claiming lot was a glass snuff bottle from the Imperial Beijing Palace workshops. Selling for $45,000, this double gourd form bottle was carved with the characters "Da Ji" (Great Auspiciousness) (pre-sale est. $10,000-$15,000) and proved buyers' continued interest in objects produced under the aegis or the Qianlong emperor (reign 1736-1796).
Likewise, jade continues to prove popular, with several top selling lots through out the auction. A Qianlong mark bottle, made between 1720-1800, with a "wrapped qin" design, sold for $31,250 (pre-sale est. $10,000-$15,000). An impressive performance also came from a white jade pomegranate-form snuff bottle which greatly outdid its pre-sale estimate of $1,500-$2,500, claiming $31,250. A third jade highlight was a white jade snuff bottle with a four-character inscription along one side, selling for $25,000 (pre-sale est. $2,500-$4,000).
Other highlights of the sale included an extremely rare slip decorated Yixing snuff bottle with Qianlong mark, selling for $32,500 (pre-sale est. $12,000-$18,000); an incredibly rare Dehua ware figural snuff bottle, selling for $31,250 (pre-sale est. $6,000-$9,000); and a carved cinnabar lacquer snuff bottle, from 1730-1820, selling for $25,000 (pre-sale est. $12,000-$18,000). Buyers were most stimulated by lots bearing excellent provenance and a proven history of sales.
This auction followed acclaimed sales of the Linda Riddell Hoffman and Margaret Polak collections of Chinese snuff bottles offered by Bonhams in New York in March of 2010 and March of 2011. These sales, combined with today's results and the sales of the Mary & George Bloch Collection in the Bonhams Hong Kong galleries, have firmly established Bonhams as the premier auction house for Chinese snuff bottles among connoisseurs and collectors worldwide, with record prices being set for the top lots.
For the sale's full auction results and a calendar of upcoming auction and events, please visit www.bonhams.com.
Julie Saunders Guinta
NOTES FOR EDITORS
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 www.bonhams.com