Tag Archives: Sotheby’s

The Bay Psalm Book

First printed book in America to be auctioned

Bay Psalm Book

A translation of Biblical psalms that was the first book ever printed in what became the United States goes on auction this November, with an expected price tag of $15-30 million.

The book is one of the best of the 11 surviving copies of “The Bay Psalm Book,” which Puritan settlers from England printed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1640 — before the United States even existed.

The settlers, who were seeking religious freedom, wanted chiefly to issue their own preferred translation from the Hebrew original of the Old Testament book, rather than the one they had brought across the Atlantic.

However, the volume took on even greater significance, David Redden, the head of Sotheby’s books, said. “‘The Bay Psalm Book’ was not only the first book printed in America, and the first book written in America. This little book of 1640 was precursor to Lexington and Concord, and, ultimately, to American political independence. With it, New England declared its independence from the Church of England.”

Selby Kiffer, with Sotheby’s special projects department, called “The Bay Psalm Book” “not simply one of the great icons of book history, it is one of the greatest artifacts of American history.”

No copy from the edition has appeared at auction since 1947, when a different copy fetched $151K, a record at the time for any book, including the Gutenberg Bible or Shakespeare’s First Folio.

“‘The Bay Psalm Book’ is a mythical rarity. Unseen on the marketplace for more than two generations, it has become too rare to collect,” Redden said.

The book is being sold by the Old South Church in Boston to benefit its work in the historic city’s area, Sotheby’s said. The same church possesses another copy of the “Bay Psalm Book.”

The Bay Psalm Books

Ruby Ground Falangcai Double Lotus Bowl

Chinese bowl sells at Sotheby’s for record $9.5 million

Chinese bowl Sothebys

A rare red “lotus bowl” from the Chinese emperor Kangxi period of 1662-1722 has been sold for an eye-popping $9.5 million at a Hong Kong sale, auction house Sotheby’s said.

The price set a new world record for any Chinese porcelain from the Kangxi period during the Qing dynasty after it was bought by a Hong Kong ceramics dealer for HK$74 million ($9.5 million) Monday.

The ruby-ground “falangcai” bowl decorated with pink, yellow and blue lotuses was originally expected to fetch HK$70 million at the sale, part of Sotheby’s six-day spring sale in Hong Kong.

The auctioneer said the bowl broke a previous Qing Kangxi porcelain record in 2006, when a blue and white “Dragon” vase was sold for HK$22.52 million.

red Chinese bowl

Patek Philippe Clock Fetches $2.3 Million

Patek Philippe The Magpie Treasure Nest Clock

An intricate Patek Philippe clock decorated with diamonds and rubies achieved $2.3 million at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong this weekend.

Made in 1992, the 52-centimeter (20.5 inch) high clock weighs 15.1 kilograms (33.2 pounds), with 24.95 carats of diamonds, 6.02 carats of sapphires, rubies weighing 13.17 carats and one oval tanzanite weighing 104.75 carats according to the Sotheby’s catalogue.

Chef jacket signed by Ferran Adria

Sotheby’s to Auction Dinner with elBulli Chef

chef Ferran Adria

Auction house Sotheby’s is offering the highest bidder at an upcoming wine auction the chance to enjoy a dinner prepared by legendary chef Ferran Adrià himself.

It’s the latest addition to a hotly anticipated wine auction to be held in Hong Kong and New York next month when El Bulli — which has held on to the title of best restaurant in the world five times by “Restaurant” magazine — sells off its wine cellar.

The opening bid for a dinner with Adrià at his Barcelona restaurant Tickets, which he co-runs with brother Albert, starts at $5,000.

Other lots that have been added to the wine sell-off include a chance to snatch various bits of El Bulli memorabilia, including four chefs’ jackets signed by Adrià, a set of El Bulli knives, menus, wine lists, and El Bulli stationery.

Many of the lots for sale are also one-of-a-kind bespoke pieces designed specifically to help execute and serve Adrià’s avant-garde cuisine. Examples include baroque and corrugated trays and crockery for his signature spherical olives.

8,800 bottles of wine, all of which will bear an El Bulli sticker and some of which will be signed by Adrià and restaurant partner Juli Soler, will be auctioned off April 3 in Hong Kong and April 26 in New York.

The highest value lot includes a trio of Domaine de la Romanée Conti, Romanée Conti 1990, which is estimated to bring in $32,500 to $47,500.

Chef jacket signed by Ferran Adria

Chinese Bowl

$3 tag sale find sells at Sotheby’s for $2.23 million

Chinese Bowl

A $3 tag sale buy has turned into a massive windfall for the lucky bargain hunter: the Chinese bowl sold for $2.23 million at an auction at Sotheby’s on Tuesday.

The small pottery bowl, finely crafted with an ivory glaze, turned out to be a thousand year old “Ding” bowl, dating from the Song dynasty, which ruled China from 960 to 1279. The only other similar bowl from the period known to exist has been on display at the British Museum for more than 60 years.

After picking it up for a few dollars down the road in 2007, the buyer displayed it the living room. More recently, they became curious about its value and brought it to experts for an appraisal. Sotheby’s had estimated the bowl would sell for between $200,000 and $300,000.

But four bidders battled over the rare find, and it ultimately sold to renowned London art dealer Giuseppe Eshenazi for $2.225 million.

Femme assise pres dune fenetre

Picasso lover portrait sells for £28.6 mn in London

picasso auction sothebys

A portrait of Pablo Picasso‘s lover Marie-Therese Walter sold in London on Tuesday night for £28.6 million ($45.0 million), Sotheby’s auction house said.

The colourful and curvaceous “Femme assise pres d’une fenetre” (Woman sitting by a window), painted in 1932, was sold to an anonymous telephone buyer.

The painting was the star lot in Tuesday’s impressionist, modern and surrealist art sale, achieving the top price in an auction that netted a total of £121 million.

Picasso met his famous muse Marie-Therese Walter in Paris in 1927, when she was 17 and he was 45. Their relationship was kept secret for many years because of her youth and Picasso’s marriage to the Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova.

The affair was revealed in 1932 when portraits of Walter were displayed for the first time alongside other Picasso works in a major retrospective, and Khokhlova realised there was another woman in her husband’s life.

Walter, who inspired several of Picasso’s works including “La Lecture”, “La Reve” and “Nature morte aux tulipes”, bore the Spanish artist a daughter, Maya.

Another portrait of Walter from the same series, “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust”, held the record for the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction when it was bought for $106.4 million in 2010.

Femme assise pres d une fenetre

Beau Sancy diamond

Historic diamond ‘Beau Sancy’ sells for $9.7 million

Beau Sancy diamond

A centuries-old diamond passed down through generations of European royalty fetched nine million Swiss francs ($9.7 million) at auction in Geneva on Tuesday.

The 34.98-carat “Beau Sancy” diamond measures 2.3 centimetres in height, is 1.9 cm wide and 1.1 cm deep.

Passed down through the royal families of France, England, Prussia and the Netherlands, the Beau de Sancy has witnessed 400 years of European history.
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sothebys champagne bottle

Sotheby’s launches in-house champagne brand

sothebys champagne bottle

Sotheby’s has launched its own private-label champagne, the first from an auction house. A bottle costs $29.99 and a magnum $69.95.

The bubbly is being produced by sixth-generation French champagne house R & L Legras, which supplies many Michelin-starred restaurants such as Guy Savoy, La Tour d’Argent and Ledoyen.

The in-house brand will also be served at Sotheby’s events around the world including New York, London, and Hong Kong.
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Munch Scream

Munch’s Scream sells for record $120 million

Munch Scream

The only privately owned version of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” set a world record Wednesday when it sold for $119.9 million at Sotheby’s in New York.

Heated competition between seven bidders took the price to the highest for a work of art at auction in just 12 minutes, sparking applause.

The previous record was held by Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust which sold in 2010 for $106.5 million.
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Imperial Chinese bowl

Imperial Chinese bowl fetches $27 million

Imperial Chinese bowl

An extremely rare Chinese porcelain bowl fetched nearly $27 million in Hong Kong on Wednesday, smashing pre-sale estimates by about three times.

The price sets a new record for a piece of ceramic from the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), according to Sotheby’s.

“The piece is possibly the greatest masterpiece of Song ceramic that we have ever offered in Hong Kong,” Sotheby’s Asia deputy chairman Nicolas Chow said.
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Andy Warhol Double Elvis painting

Warhol’s ‘Double Elvis’ aims for $50 million sale

Andy Warhol Double Elvis painting

A painting by Pop Art king Andy Warhol depicting rock ‘n’ roll king Elvis Presley as a cowboy gunslinger is expected to fetch $30-$50 million when it goes on sale in May.

“Double Elvis,” executed in black and silvery white in 1963, “is a seminal piece from the iconic series devoted to the singer,” Sotheby’s said. The painting “epitomizes the artist’s obsessions with fame, stardom and the public image.”
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Sun-Drop diamond

Yellow Sun-Drop diamond sells for $11 million

Sun-Drop diamond

A 110-carat yellow jewel called the Sun Drop Diamond, thought the biggest of its kind in the world, sold for a record 10 million francs ($10.9 million) at auction in Geneva.

The gem was discovered in South Africa in 2010 and wowed visitors to London’s Natural History Museum where it was displayed earlier this year.

“It’s an absolute record for a yellow diamond,” Sotheby’s David Bennett told journalists after the sale. “It is a spectacular, unique stone.”
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pear-shaped yellow diamond

Pear-shaped 110-carat diamond to go under hammer

pear-shaped yellow diamond

One of the world’s largest diamonds, a pear-shaped 110.3-carat yellow rock, will go under the hammer in Geneva in November expecting to fetch about $15 million.

The Sun-Drop diamond, discovered in South Africa last year, is billed by Sotheby’s as the “world’s largest known pear-shaped fancy vivid yellow diamond“.

“This stone has immense presence and is truly stunning. It is also one of the largest diamonds ever to have appeared at auction,” Sotheby’s Switzerland co-chairman David Bennett told a news conference in Hong Kong.
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Lamborghini Aventador LP 700 4 Model Car

The world’s most expensive model car

Lamborghini Aventador LP 700 4 Model Car

Hailed the world’s most expensive and precious car model by Guinness World Records, this creation is based on the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4.

The car was crafted by Robert Gülpen — who has also created miniatures of the Mercedes Benz 500 SL and Aston Martin DB5 from precious metals and gems.

The Lamborghini is made from carbon fibre like the original and its shell was milled using computer modelling data handed over from the Italian car manufacturer.
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Hong Kong Fine Chinese Paintings auction

Hong Kong kicks off big-money auction series

Hong Kong Fine Chinese Paintings auction

A series of auctions of high-end goods from fine wine to Imperial Chinese ceramics goes into full swing this weekend in Hong Kong, as the city challenges the dominance of New York and London.

The multi-million-dollar auctions are looking to cash in on the vast wealth of China’s growing number of millionaires keen to show off their newly-made cash.

Christie’s six-day Spring sale kicks off Friday with more than 2,700 lots, including a rare Patek Philippe watch and several pieces of contemporary art, that the house expects to rake in about HK$2.4 billion ($308 million).
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emerald and diamond tiara

World’s most expensive tiara

emerald and diamond tiara

A dazzling tiara featuring emeralds believed to have belonged to Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, sold for a record 11.28 million Swiss francs ($12.80 million) to an anonymous buyer at Sotheby’s.

The diamond and emerald tiara was commissioned by German prince Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck’s for his second wife Katharina.

It was top lot at a sale that netted 78.9 million Swiss francs, third highest for a jewellery sale, the auction house said.
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Pink Diamond Photo

Rare pink diamond fetches $10.8 million

Pink Diamond Photo

An extremely rare translucent pink diamond fetched a price of $10.8 million at a Sotheby’s auction on Tuesday, the third-highest price ever paid for one of the pink stones at auction.

“It is the third-highest price for a pink diamond at auction,” auctioneer David Bennett told journalists after the sale.

The 10.99-carat, emerald-cut stone was classed as a type IIa diamond, with the type II category making up less than two percent of gem diamonds.
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