Ancient Chinese seals, used as personal signatures on letters, are also highly sought after by mainland Chinese collectors and fueled fierce auctions on Sunday. Five of the top ten lots in the Bonham auction were groups of ancient Chinese seals, with the third most valuable lot comprising 51 Hans Dynasty bronze and hardstone seals that sold for $ 34,440 (including purchase premium), more than 30 times its low estimate of $ 800.
With global interest in the Hsiao family’s culturally significant collection, Bonhams’ Hong Kong, Beijing, Melbourne and Sydney offices all accepted bids by phone on Sunday afternoon as the auction proceeded live online. in the middle of Sydney’s lockdown.
“It was really a revelation of a collection, it’s not like anything I’ve handled before,” Klein said. “I feel sad now that these pieces are slowly, slowly leaving me because I’ve been living with them for quite some time. I have to take a closer look at them before they leave.
The Hsiao family collection included the first 73 lots from Sunday’s auction and reached $ 579,133 (including buyer’s premium) against a pre-sale estimate of $ 133,900 to $ 200,200. The entire Elegant Embellishments sale of 130 lots totaled $ 620,043 (including buyer’s premium) against a pre-sale estimate of $ 216,850 to $ 313,920. (Bonhams charges a 23 percent buyer’s premium on the hammer price).
Most of the lots in the Hsiao Family collection will go to Asia, and a few to the Chinese diaspora in North America.
In a reverse cultural exchange, 26 pieces of Georg Jensen jewelry from a Japanese collector living in Singapore were sent to Australia ahead of the Bonhams jewelry sale on August 25. Jensen’s contemporary silver jewelry appealed to the European, North American and Australian markets more than the Asian market, hence the decision to send the collection to Sydney. Bonhams claims the collection is the largest Jensen jewelry ever to be auctioned in Australia. For lovers of Jensen’s sculptural silver with clean lines, there are striking examples of jewelry from the Danish brand’s top designers, including Vivianna Torun, Astrid Fog, Ibe Dahlquist, Minas Spiridis and Bent Gabrielsen. The designs of Georg Jensen himself also feature four Art Nouveau pieces that show the beginnings and stylistic evolution of the brand.
“These are heirloom pieces,” said Bonhams jewelry specialist Fiona Frith. “You can no longer walk into a Jensen store and find these parts, they just aren’t available.”
Jensen coins are relatively affordable, with some starting at $ 200. At the other end of the scale is a river of platinum and diamonds, dating from around 1934, estimated between $ 60,000 and $ 80,000, from a private American collection. The delicate necklace sparkles with 80 old European cut diamonds, the largest weighing around 1.97 carats. The total diamond weight is 26.55 carats. A wedding gift from the seller’s maternal grandfather to their maternal grandmother, the necklace symbolized the union of two high society families in Philadelphia.
Closer to home, a Sydney lady’s property, a platinum ring with a single 6.3 carat brilliant cut diamond, is estimated to be between $ 50,000 and $ 60,000. Colorless diamonds are the most prized and although this stone is a little low on the color scale (MN), “it just sings, it’s a very shiny stone,” says Frith.
The solitaire river and diamond ring will close the jewelry sale of 181 lots. While in art auctions the more expensive lots usually come first, when it comes to jewelry, says Frith, “traditionally you leave the best for last.”