Commanding the auction block at major auction houses around the globe from a Van Gogh masterpiece to a traditional Qianlong furniture to the oldest-ever Macallan collection, these are the collectibles that went under the hammer at outst
Admirable Emerald Acquired
Gems to seek out and keep, emeralds have long been among the world’s most valued precious stones. In their time, such jewels have beguiled the likes of Queen Cleopatra and the Duchess of Cambridge, while both the Ancient Egyptians and Aztecs believed them to have otherworldly qualities. The continuing popularity of emeralds were certainly proved at the recent Christie’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels auction, where the Boghossian Emerald and Diamond Double Rivière sold for HK$54.3 million.
This stunning piece was a product of a combination of their rare talents between the high-end Genevan jewellery house, Boghossian and legendary designer, Edmond Chin. This captivating necklace, which incorporates 28 eight cushion and octagonal-cut emeralds, twenty-two oval and rectangular-cut diamonds, and a range of vari-cut diamonds and fancy-cut jadeite. Boasting a gold interior, its dual-hued appeal is undeniable.
Spirit of the ages
Oldest-ever Macallan Goes Under the Hammer…
For many true connoisseurs, The Macallan is one of the world’s leading producers of fine single malts. Although this venerable Scotch maker has changed hands several times throughout the course of its near 200-year history, its reputation for both consistency and quality somehow survived every transition. As a sure sign of this, prime examples of its distilling took pride of place at the recent Ultimate Whisky Collection auction staged by Sotheby’s London as among the most competed-for lots – The Macallan Red Collection. Comprising a complete set of six whiskies including The Macallan 40, The Macallan 50, The Macallan 60, The Macallan 71, 74 and an astounding The Macallan 78. The latter item was not only the oldest bottle ever released by The Macallan, it was also the oldest age statement whisky ever offered at auction.
This rare set is sure to be deemed a true classic in times to come, with its easily distinguishable, exclusive labels all featuring images commemorating the brand’s illustrious heritage. One of only two sets to be produced (the other resides in the distiller’s archive), the six-bottle collection fetched an eye-watering HK$20.65 million.
Lost then found
Lost Van Gogh Work Makes an Impression
A fascinating irony evident in the works of Vincent Van Gogh, one of the most influential painters of all time, is the vibrance and vitality that characterises all his major pieces, elements that his own tortured and truncated life was notably devoid of. Seldom is this more apparent than in Fleur Dans Un Verre, one of a small group of floral oil paintings created in 1890 during the Dutch master painter’s Paris residency. Sadly, it was one of the last major works completed before the artist abandoned his decade-long career and, ultimately, took his own life. Contemplating this refined display of oil on canvas (measuring some 41.3cm by 33.3cm), it is impossible to reconcile the sheer joy of the work, with its vibrant hues and vivid expressionism, with what is known of the artist’s state at the time..
Such conjecture aside, the work also boasts a singular provenance. Passed from private collector to private collector, it toured the world several times over before famously being stolen and vanishing for several years. Once recovered, it eventually found its way to Sotheby’s in New York, where it formed part of the auctioneer’s recent Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale, selling for a more than respectable US$16 million.
Old times table
Classic Furniture from Qianlong Ago…
As an essential part of the daily life of well-to-do Chinese folk of times classic, the traditional furniture of the Ming and Qing periods, in particular, harks back tellingly to the everyday routines its long-dead owners. A clear case in point is the rare and magnificent ancient Chinese Carved Zitan Hexagonal Table (from the Qianlong period), which was one of most admired lots at Christie’s Inspiring the Mind – The Life of a Scholar-Official auction, where it finally went under the hammer for an impressive HK$20.7 million.
Fashioned from zitan, a particularly fine and rare hardwood timber, this striking hexagonal table – a complicated structure requiring superior artistic skills to execute – possibly saw service in one of the emperor’s own palaces or temples. In terms of design, its tabletop features six sides above a shallow waist and is decorated throughout with floral carvings and scroll-form vines. There is also a ‘secret’ drawer featuring a metal ring at its heart, a hint that not only was this item of furniture created and carved by master carpenters, but one that was built to meet the specific requirements of some nobleman of the time who was not over-trusting of his compatriots and peers.