Tag Archives: Christie’s

Christie’s about to come under the hammer

It’s just a whisper at the moment but it may well be the case that Francois Pinault is considering the sale of his Christie’s auction house which he bought in May 1998 for $1.2 billion.

The speculation is based on one obvious fact: at circa €4.7bn, Artemis, Mr Pinault’s holding company, is carrying too much debt.

And while all auctions across Bonhams, Sotheby’s and Christie’s haven’t experienced a great year, Christie’s has already cut a couple of departments, shrunk others, let a few employees go and plan more reorganization for the company in January.

Wittelsbach diamond breaks world records

Christie’s on Wednesday sold an extremely rare, 17th century fancy deep grayish-blue diamond for $24.3 million, a world record price for any diamond or jewelry sold at auction in London.

The 35.56-ct. Wittelsbach diamond was once owned by King Philip IV of Spain, who purchased for his daughter, Margarita Teresa, for her engagement to Leopold I of Austria in 1664. It was mined in India and owned by the same private collector since 1964.

The price for Wittelsbach topped the previous record of $16.5 million for a 100ct diamond in 1995 in Geneva.

Historic blue diamond may fetch $16 million at Christie’s

This extraordinary blue-gray diamond (on the picture above) was given to Infanta Margarita Teresa by her father King Philip IV of Spain, on her engagement to her uncle Leopold I of Austria-one of the most historic events in European history.
This girl was the portrayed in Las Meninas), the most famous painting by Spaniard Diego Velazquez. In a political move, she was engaged to Leopold I, who later became the Holy Roman Emperor, and that was when her father gave his 13-year-old daughter the diamond as part of the dowry. Sadly she died aged only 21, having given birth to four child, of which only one survived beyond childhood.

It is believed that the Wittelsbach diamond originated from the Indian diamond mines, was passed into the Austrian and then Bavarian crown jewels, and was finally sold into private hands in 1931. It makes part of the current private collection since 1964.

According to a Christie’s spokesman said “no examples” of coloured diamonds comparable to the Wittelsbach have been put up in an auction before.
“Blue diamonds are rare and to offer a blue diamond of this size, quality, shape and provenance is truly extraordinary.” Actually, the nearest comparable coloured diamond sold at Christie’s was one just a third of the size, a 13.39 carat intense blue diamond that fetched £5.5 million ($8.9 million) in May.

In addition, “the appearance of a large blue diamond, among the rarest of colours, with a history that can be traced back to the 17th century and 300 years of royal connections will surely be a thrilling occasion for all collectors of exceedingly rare jewels and works of art.”

The Wittelsbach diamond is the star lot in Christie’s auction Jewels: According to estimates, the 35.56-carat gem, almost once inch in width, with a 300-year-old royal history, could raise up to 10million pounds ($16 million) when it goes under the hammer on December 10.

It is on public display at the auction house in King Street, St James’s, London, on Friday 5 December and from Sunday 7 to Tuesday 9 December.

Christie’s Wine Auction in Hong Kong

After an absence of seven years, Christie’s wine department will be back in Asia for an auction on 29 Nov 2008 at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre and it will open Christie’s Hong Kong Fall 2008 Sale Season.

Christie’s International Wine Department will conduct a focused sale of fine wine including select offerings from the cellars of first growth, Château Latour.

Christie’s Hong Kong sales totaled HK $2.4 billion in Spring 2008, the highest total ever achieved for any auction season in Asia.

The evening sale will feature around 250 selected lots, with 150 lots from Ch̢teau Latour. One of the top prizes is a 1900 magnum estimated at $18,000 Р$24,000. The Latour selection in its entirety is expected to realize in excess of HK $10 million.

Alongside the unique offering from Château Latour will be a further range of fine and rare wines, all sourced from impeccable European cellars, including rare Pétrus and other First Growth Bordeaux, a selection of exceptional Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, vintage Champagne and venerable Vintage Port and Old Cognacs.

A $300,000 Polished steel sofa

The first auction devoted solely to contemporary design will take place at Christie’s in New York this autumn.

“It really is an increasingly popular market,” said Carina Villinger, design specialist of Christie’s New York. “There is a huge overlap with contemporary art. It has got to the point where we need a separate auction.

The Christie’s sale will feature items such as a polyurethane table by the London-based Iranian architect Zaha Hadid, who designed the aquatics centre for the London Olympics, estimated to raise $200,000.

Another lot will be a highly polished steel sofa by the British-born Israeli designer Ron Arad for $300,000. Arad’s work will be exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York next year.That sofa is made of steel that’s polished to match the reflection of a real mirror!

Sgt Pepper Drum Skin Sells At Auction

The drum skin used on the cover of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album has sold for £541,250 ($1.07m) at auction in London, almost four times the estimate.

The skin was a hand-painted item that was only ever used for the cover of the classic 1967 album.
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was not only one of The Beatles biggest albums, it was also one of the most important albums ever from the rock era.

The Beatles began recording the album on December 6, 1966 and spent the next 129 days in recording. That was an amazing time for a recording in the 60s.

The Sgt Pepper skin was just one of many Beatles items that sold at the auction : a pair of tinted prescription sunglasses belonging to Lennon, which the singer wore for the cover of the single Mind Games, raised £39,650 ($78,400) and the hand-written lyrics to “Give Peace A Chance” sold for £421,250 ($833,000). Source: BBC

World record price for Jeff Koon

Christie’s sold last week Jeff Koon’s Ballon Flower (Magenta) for $25,752,051, a world record price for the artist at auction.

This work is one of five unique versions: Magenta, Blue, Orange, Yellow, Red and was executed between 1995 and 1999.

Balloon Flower (Magenta) 1995-2000 is from a top Dallas art collector who paid less than £600,000 for it seven years ago. It was the first time a work of this scale and quality by Koons were publicly offered in London.

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Titanic life jacket sells for $70k

An unused life jacket from the doomed transatlantic cruise ship “Titanic,” which struck an iceberg in 1912 and sank, fetched 68,500 dollars at auction at Christie’s in New York late Wednesday.

The cork-filled life preserver – still largely intact, but stained and torn in parts – was thought to have been found by farmer John James Dunbar on the Halifax shoreline after the passenger ship sank off Newfoundland in April, 1912.

The liner sank during its maiden voyage from the British port of Southampton to New York when it hit an iceberg, causing some 1,500 people to die.

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Onassis Jewelry Sale

A diamond necklace that used to belong to Christina Onassis, daughter of Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis, sold at auction on Wednesday for $7.1 million.

The necklace, with a 38-carat pear-shaped diamond, was the highlight of the Onassis jewelery auction at Christie’s in London. It is a reminder of the glamour associated with the Onassis family and a fitting example of the great jewelry and art the Onassis family was known for collecting

Christina Onassis was the only daughter of Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, who went on to marry JF Kennedy’s widow Jacqueline.
She lived a life of luxury, but there was tragedy too, as she lost both her parents and a brother within the space of two years. Christina died in 1987 of a heart attack. She was just 37 years old.
Her jewelery collection was put on sale by her daughter Athina.

The auction also included the so-called Faberge Buddha which sold for $2.5 million : This was a jade-colored Buddha by Peter Carl Faberge, renowned for creating ornamental eggs for Russia’s imperial family.

Most expensive table

In late 18th century Philadelphia, Tufft was one of the city’s most prosperous cabinetmakers. While his shop was not as large or prolific as that of his contemporaries Benjamin Randolph and Thomas Affleck, his rank was likely that of their equal.

Elegance, grace, and delicate carving characterize Thomas Tufft’s furniture. He typically chose a restrained opposing “C” scroll on the knees and a variation of this design can be seen on most of the objects attributed to his shop.

Tufft holds the record for Philadelphia furniture, the Edwards-Harrison Family pier table, when it sold at Christie’s for $4,620,000 (January 1990), becoming the most expensive table in the world. The price was well above the presale estimate of at most $1.5 million.
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Last Shotguns Ever Made by Asprey

Two of the last ever shotguns developed by 200-year-old London luxury goods firm Asprey generated a sales of over $120,000 at Christie’s.

The extraordinarily delicate firearms exhibited at the Christie’s Fine Sporting Guns and Rifles sale marked the end of a custom of faultlessly accomplished gun craft.

Asprey engaged in supplying aristocracy and longtime holder of Royal Warrants shut down its gunrooms in 1996 for good, soon after the company was acquired by Prince Jefri of Brunei.
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World Record for a Color Diamond

A blue diamond of 13.39 cts. became the most important color diamond sold at auction anywhere in the world during the past 10 years, according to Christie’s.

Offered at auction house’s in Geneva location on Wednesday, it achieved a world record price of $8.9 million.

This impressive result is due to the scarcity of colored diamonds on the market, and to the great demand from collectors around the world for exceptional artworks and jewels that is currently dominating the auction world,” said François Curiel, chairman of Christie’s Europe. Via JCK

Christina Onassis Jewels For Sale

Christie’s will auction a collection of jewellery belonging to Christina Onassis, the daughter of Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis who struggled to find happiness despite her family’s wealth.

More than 40 pieces of jewellery from her collection will go under the hammer in London on June 11, the highlight of which is a pear-shaped, 38-carat D colour potentially flawless diamond which Onassis wore on a diamond pendant necklace.

It is expected to fetch between 1.8 and 2.2 million pounds.
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Lucian Freud’s Most Expensive Painting by a Living Artist

A classic Lucian Freud portrait of a rather plump lady, is predicted to break the world auction record for most expensive painting by a living artist.

The elegantly constructed masterpiece is titled “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping” named after the profession of the sitter.

The painting which was completed in 1995 is expected to fetch $35 million (£18 million) at Christie’s, exceeding the current record of $23.56 million, held since last year by the American artist Jeff Koons. 

Charles Dickens’s Works To Fetch $2 million

Rare collection of work by Charles Dickens will reach the Christie’s auction block in New York on 2 April and is expected to fetch $2 million.

This includes an alliance copy of “Oliver Twist,” which is emblazoned by Dickens to a fellow author and is anticipated to generate $200,000-$300,000.

Eyebrows are raised for high price tag attached to the books and manuscripts. And the very reason that it is not only the first edition of Oliver Twist, one of the great novels of English literature but also it was adorned by Dickens to William Harrison Ainsworth, a novelist colleague.
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Carla Bruni

Nude Photo of Sarkozy’s Wife To Be Sold

Carla Bruni

A nude portrait of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s wife Carla Bruni will go under the hammer in New York next month, according to auctioneers Christie’s.

The 13 x 10 1/8 inch gelatin silver black and white photograph was taken in 1993, when Bruni was one of the world’s top fashion models, and is being sold by art collector Gert Elfering.

It is expected to fetch $3,000 to $4,000 when it is sold in New York on April 10, according to the Christie’s web site.

Sarkozy married Bruni, 40, in February after a whirlwind romance that began shortly after his divorce from his second wife Cecilia.

Their relationship has coincided with a sharp fall in Sarkozy’s approval ratings which have tumbled as voters judged that the president’s glitzy lifestyle jarred with his responsibilities and status as head of state.

Sarkozy and his new wife are due to pay a state visit to Britain this week during which they will be hosted by Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle. Via Reuters

Francis Bacon’s Vulture Painting May Fetch $70 Million

A Francis Bacon painting depicting a man attacked by vultures may fetch a record $70 million when it is auctioned in New York in May, Sotheby’s said.

Bacon’s 1976 triptych, painted while he was living in Paris, is being sold by a European collector who has owned it for more than 30 years, the auction house said in a statement today.

Sotheby’s set the current record for a work by Bacon in May 2007, when “Study from Innocent X, 1962,” sold in New York for $52.7 million.
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Buddha statue sets record for Japanese art

A wooden sculpture of the supreme Buddha sold for more than 14.3 million dollars in New York on Tuesday, far exceeding pre-sale estimates and setting a new record for a work of Japanese art.

The 800-year-old depiction of the Dainichi Nyorai, attributed to the sculptor Unkei, was bought by the Japanese department store chain Mitsukoshi, shattering the pre-sale estimates for the work of 1.5 to 2.5 million dollars.

The record price “is a testament to the extreme importance and beauty of this supreme Buddha, and elevates Japanese art to a new record level,” said Katsura Yamaguchi, Christie’s director of Japanese and Korean Art.
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Triceratops skeleton up for Paris auction

Triceratops skeletonA triceratops skeleton is expected to fetch 500,000 euros at an upcoming Christie’s auction in Paris, where giant shark teeth and a sabre-toothed tiger skull are also up for bids.

The skeleton of the three-horned dinosaur, from a private European collection, is the highlight of the April 16 auction. It will mark the first time that such a dinosaur specimen goes up for public sale since a T-Rex called “Sue” was sold in New York in October 1997.

The four-legged triceratops, which dates back between 65 and 67 million years, measures 7.5 metres in length and bears a large bony frill and three horns.
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