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Home Run Hitters: Rare and outstanding collectibles that recently went under the hammer

gmhk gafencu outstanding and superb auction sales emerald ring

An elegant emerald exceeds the estimate

A truly Superb Emerald and Diamond Ring – originally from the impeccably provenanced collection of Cecile Zilkha, the jewellery connoisseur and high-profile socialite wife of Ezra Zilkha, the renowned US financier and philanthropist – recently found its way to Sotheby’s New York. Immediately recognising both its value and its significance, it was swiftly incorporated into the auctioneer’s Magnificent Jewels sale, whereupon it changed hands for a stunning HK$28.4 million, more than three times the prior highest estimate.

At least part of its appeal lay in its long association with Zilkha, a high-society hostess legendary for laying on soirées that welcomed such 20th-century luminaries as Ronald Reagan, David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, Margaret Thatcher and Barbara Walters. On every occasion, she never failed to impress, frequently deploying her magnificent wardrobe and jewellery collection to beguiling effect. The ring, bearing Cartier’s personal imprint – features a square emerald-cut Colombian emerald weighing 21.86 carats. Enclosed with it was an official letter testifying that “a natural emerald from Colombia of this size and quality can be considered rare and exceptional.” 

gmhk gafencu outstanding and superb auction sales tintin herge comic cover

Tintin creator never goes out of fashion

Few authors / illustrators attract the same longstanding and universal affection as Hergé, the creative tour-de-force behind The Adventures of Tintin. Indeed, acclaim for his narrative innovation and pioneering graphic style remains undimmed. Particularly, one of his admired and best-loved works – The Blue Lotus (Le Lotus Bleu) – dates back to 1936, with its recent presentation for auction, something of a cause célèbre for Tintinophiles the world over. 

As a sign of the prestige accorded to this singular adventure, its original artwork went for a whopping HK$31.75 million as part of The Universe of the Creator of Tintin sale organised by Artcurial, a specialist Parisian auction house. Along the way, it set a new world record for an original comic strip artwork sold at auction.

gmhk gafencu outstanding and superb auction sales salvatore mundie domenico ghirlandaio

DaVinci doppelganger proves a big draw

Salvator Mundi, an iconic work of Leonardo DaVinci, the rightly-celebrated Italian Renaissance artist, is unquestionably one of the most valuable cultural touchstones of all time, unsurprisingly holding the world record as the most expensive painting to ever to be sold at public auction. Lesser known, but still hugely valuable, is an earlier take on the same Saviour of the World theme, which was completed by another venerable Italian master some 10 years prior to Leonardo creating his own masterpiece.

 The work of Florence-born Domenico Ghirlandaio, one of the leading lights of the highly-influential 15th-century Florentine Renaissance movement, the work was long thought missing, although it was eventually recovered and offered for sale as part of Christie’s recent online Old Masters Evening Auction. A tempera and oil on panel work measuring 33.3cm x 23.7cm, it shares the Salvator Mundi title and fetched a total of HK$23.1 million when it went under the gavel. The artwork in question is seen as a high-water mark among the oeuvre of the artist who, in his time, ranked favourably alongside such truly classic greats as Sandro Botticelli, Andrea del Verrocchio and the Pollaiolo brothers. 

gmhk gafencu outstanding and superb auction sales 1952 mickey topps mantle mint 9 2020

Venerable baseball card still a big hitter

Excitement reached something of a fevered pitch among keen collectors and canny investors alike when the news broke that the world’s most highly valued baseball card was once again to be auctioned. As an event, it certainly didn’t disappoint, exciting a keen bidding war between baseball fans and baseball card collectors.

The card in question – a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle – was graded Mint 9 (making it almost perfect) by the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), the industry’s authentication / valuation body. Given its provenance and condition, then, it was no surprise that it ultimately sold for HK$40 million to Rob Gough, an avid collector, actor and entrepreneur, who had dreamt of owning that very card as a child, going on to describe it as “the Mona Lisa of sports cards”.

The sale marked a high point even among the recent run of sales of sports trading cards that has seen such items firmly established as million-dollar collectibles. Last October, for instance, the Mile High Card Company sold a T206 Honus Wagner for HK$25.2 million and most recently, one of the six other 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards known to exist also went for a mega HK$40 million when up for sale at the PWCC Marketplace in January this year.

2021-03-04T18:02:48+00:00 March 04, 2021|Art, Collectibles|