Coveted Jewels

This season’s decorative arts auction was to bring an exceptionally high sales rate for jewellery. Further highlights of the sale included a late Gothic stained glass window, which sold for €82,000; a Nuremberg Renaissance silver beaker, bringing €40,000; an important Louis XIV commode which sold for €82,000, and an 18th century regulator clock which achieved €64,500.

One surprising highlight of this autumn’s sale was a late Gothic stained glass window depicting Saint Elisabeth, which was probably made in the Rhineland in the 13th/14th century. The circa 59.5 x 32.5 cm panel was the subject of a lengthy bidding battle, in which the piece was catapulted from the estimate of €3-4,000 to achieve €82,000 (lot 900, from a German collection). A further top lot was a Louis XIV commode in glowing red premiere partie boulle marquetry. The piece, which was preserved in unusually fine condition, corresponded to a type produced by Nicolas Sageot and was purchased by a French art dealer, also reaching €82,000 (lot 949, €60-80,000). 

An important Parisian Régence régulateur and baromètre clock signed by Samuel Gautier à Paris from the second quarter of the 18th century made from amaranth and rosewood veneer on oak with bronze and brass mountings was sold to a German collector for €64,500 (lot 957, €40-60,000). A white glazed and polychromed Renaissance maiolica plaque made in Siena or Urbino around 1520 – 1530 was sold to a London art dealer for €39,700 (lot 915, €30-50,000). A magnificent Neoclassical crystal chandelier made by Werner and Mieth in Berlin in around 1800-1810 was purchased by a German art dealer for €31,000 (lot 977, €12-18,000). An East Prussian or Russian cabinet from the early 19th century rose to achieve €20,000 (lot 750, €8-12,000). A bust of Saint Ursula from the last quarter of the 19th century carved from ivory and mounted with gold, emeralds and garnets was sold to an Italian collector for €23,600 (lot 984, €20,000). GGGG


A Swiss collector purchased the communion jug made for the barons von der Pahlen by Peter Polack in Reval in 1678 for €22,300 (lot 934, €20-24,000). The auction also included a novelty goblet worked by one Master Gerrit Valck in Amsterdam in 1629. Trick vessels such as this one were highly popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. Such goblets often included mechanisms to hinder the user from drinking, or little “surprises”, like in the present work, in which a little golden snail becomes visible in the base of the cup when it was emptied. The fanciful piece obviously found an admirer, as it changed hands for €15,000 (lot 926, €12-15,000).

A Strasbourg silver travel service, made in 1790 by François Daniel Imlin in the town of the same name, was sold for €23,600 (lot 975, €8-10,000). A 19th century Polish Torah crown was also sold for €23,600 to a bidder in New York (lot 943, €8-10,000). A pair of silver gilt reliefs from Ulm, made by Master Hans Georg Bauhoff in the third quarter of the 17th century and depicting scenes from the life of King David after paintings by Rubens, were sold for €16,000 (lot 923, €13-16,000). 


Top lot in this season’s jewellery sale was a ducal bracelet densely set with diamonds in historic cuts. A Swiss bidder eventually won the hefty bidding battle surrounding the piece for €51,000 (lot 59, €10-15,000).

Works from the 19th century dominated the historic jewellery sector. These included intaglios such as a gold and enamel brooch with a finely cut agate cameo made by the Italian Amastini family of gem cutters, which was purchased for €8,200 (lot 35, €2,200-2,500). Among the micro mosaics on offer, one particular highlight was a case containing a Neoclassical micro mosaic parure depicting putti as allegories of the four seasons, which sold for €13,000 (lot 19, €10-15,000).  

Artist jewellery, especially works by the Kölner Werkschulen, sold very well this season. Pieces by Swiss jewellers were also highly sought after, including works by Rolf Goldschmitt and Albert Gilbert, but the works of Paul Binder and Henri Weber using unusual opals can definitely be considered the highlights, and were raised to €17,400 (lots 261/262, €6-8,000 and €8-12,000). 

The English miniaturist John Smart was represented with a very fine portrait of a lady painted whilst the artist was residing in India in 1787. An American collector drove the piece up to a hammer price of €15,000 (lot 121, €6-8,000).