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Grand Summer Auctions at Geneva's Hotel des Ventes Presents a Variety of Lots
Vase bouteille à tête de félin, culture Chimú, 900-1500 ap. J.-C., Pérou.
GENEVA.- Hôtel des Ventes’ summer auctions will be held on Monday 20th to Thursday 23rd June with a global estimate of 2,000,000-3,000,000 Swiss francs. The books department will open the sale with a specialised session featuring the personal library of eminent Vaudois historian Jean-René Bory. Tuesday’s sale will also be dedicated to pre-Colombian Archaeology dating from the 1st millennium BC to the Spanish Conquest. The distinguished Jewellery and Watches sale on Thursday will notably feature an important 12 carat Ceylon sapphire (non-heated) and diamond ring. A blue bear hide, long considered a yeti skin, will no doubt form one of the great curiosities and major attractions of the auction.

Following a tradition established in 1978, Hôtel des Ventes will present a variety of specialist antiques to tempt and seduce all collectors during this one-week of auctions: Silver, Tribal and Primitive Art, Leather Goods, Antique and Contemporary Furniture, Paintings, Photographs and Works of Art. With the constant objective to democratize auctions and make them more accessible for all, Hôtel des Ventes offers over 500 quality lots this June at less than 300 Swiss francs.

The Private library of Jean-René Bory: an incredible collection sold without reserve prices
The auction held on Monday 20th June at 7 pm will present antiquarian and modern books illustrated by painters and originating from Jean-René Bory’s library. All lots will be sold without reserve prices.

Almost 7,000 works from the personal library of celebrated Vaudois historian Jean-René Bory, founder of the “Suisses de l’étranger” museum at Coppet castle and later at Penthes castle in Geneva, will go under the hammer at Geneva’s Hôtel des Ventes without reserve prices. The collection consists of a rich compilation of bound antiquarian hand-illustrated books on Switzerland and Swiss regiments abroad, multiple original editions by Madame de Staël and Jacques Necker and incredible documentation on the Kings of France and the Palace of Versailles. Hundreds of engravings and toy soldiers complement this particular topic, not to mention the numerous historical and architectural publications connected to his wife Monique Bory’s family who worked in architecture and restoration and to the passion held by this couple for Switzerland.

This extensive library is presented alongside other rare works from the 15th to 18th centuries belonging to other bibliophiles, such as Robert de Vaugondy’s Atlas Universel dated 1757, consisting of 108 maps and estimated at 15,000-20,000 Swiss francs, and precious illustrated limited editions signed by modern artists Georges Barbier, Edgar Degas, Paul Jouve, Aristide Maillol, and Kees Van Dongen. Some of these books possess impressive bindings signed by Durvand and Blanchetière such as the two works illustrated by Etienne Dinet, each estimated at 4,000-6,000 Swiss francs. Among the children’s books, first edition works by Jules Verne from Maison Hetzel and two Tin-Tin comic books are to name but a few of the top-notch works on offer.

The global estimate for the books featured in the separate sale catalogue prudently stands at 160,000-220,000 Swiss francs.

Luxury within everyone’s reach
The auctions taking place on Thursday 23rd June at 2pm and 7 pm present a wide choice of almost 500 pieces of jewellery and over 100 watches with estimates varying from 1,000 to 80,000 Swiss francs.

Exceptional gemstones
With such a variety of jewellery on offer, the sale of 23rd June promises an array of sparkling beauty. The precious stone enthusiasts will appreciate the magnificent 4.6 carat solitaire diamond estimated at 60,000-80,000 Swiss francs, as well as a wide choice of white and fancy diamonds, for example a black diamond of approximately 22 carats (estimated at 4,000-6,000 Swiss francs). With large blue sapphire and diamond rings currently being at the height of fashion, many will be tempted by a 12 carat Ceylon sapphire (non-heated) complete with its SSEF certificate (Swiss Gemmological Institute). Set in a ring and surrounded with diamonds, this jewel is estimated at 20,000-30,000 Swiss francs.

Prestigious jewellery houses
Designer jewellery in summer tones by Dior Joaillerie, Chanel, Cartier, Benoit de Gorski, Bulgari, Chopard, and Van Cleef & Arpels will fulfill every summertime whim. An emblematic pair of pink coral Pré Catalan Rose earrings and ring by Victoire de Castellane for the house of Dior – inspired by the rose gardens of Monsieur Dior himself – will definitely catch a few eyes. Creations from the Deux Epices, Belle de nuit, Miss Dior and Mitza collections promise not to disappoint. For other jewellery enthusiasts, there is the celebrated Van Cleef & Arpels gold and mother-of-pearl Alhambra sautoir (estimated at 2,000-3,000 Swiss francs) or the pendant from the Frivole collection. Bernard Piguet comments: “In this sale, we offer jewellery that has hardly ever been worn at almost 80% less than the shop price. It’s such a veritable bargain enthusiasts will not let it pass them by.”

Luxury watches a plenty
The elegance of Chanel highlights this session with the ceramic and diamond J12 watch (estimated 2,000-3,000 Swiss francs). Enthusiasts will be seduced by a variety of Chopard’s Happy Diamonds collection, while others may prefer creations by Blancpain, Breguet, Panerai, Parmigiani, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Rolex or Vacheron Constantin. This selection includes watches at prices that defy all others selling prestigious watches, for example a Patek Philippe Nautilus estimated at 3,000-5,000 Swiss francs or the classic model by watchmaker Parmigiani with a lapis lazuli face (estimated 4,500-6,000 Swiss francs) or the sportier Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner (estimated 3,000-5,000 Swiss francs).

Classic and vintage models for the “Prestigious Bags & Accessories Sale”
Starting earlier in the day (2pm), the sale titled “Maroquinerie de prestige” will pass around 50 items under the hammer by Chanel, Vuitton and Hermès amongst others.

For every Fashionista, having a beautiful watch on one’s wrist is just as important as a stylish bag on one’s shoulder. With important French brands being the highest in demand, a variety of classic models by Chanel will be on sale as well as many examples of the revered Kelly by Hermès. From the same fashion house, three models of the practical and stylish Herbag, the sought-after Masai and a Picotin will also be auctioned. This section of the sale will culminate in the auctioning of two vintage Louis Vuitton wardrobe trunks from the late 1940s and 50s – a must for any enthusiast and a staple for many interior designs.

Archaeology: treasures from 1st millennium BC to the Spanish Conquest
With a steady one to two archaeology sales per year, Geneva’s Hôtel des Ventes continues to forge its name among collectors. At the sale to be held on Tuesday 21st June, the spotlight will shine upon pre-Columbian Art. Almost 150 lots of pottery, jewellery, textiles, votive and religious objects dating from 1st millennium BC to the Spanish conquest will be exhibited in new cold-lit cabinets, perfectly adapted to these ancient materials. These objects are estimated between 200 to 5,000 Swiss francs and originate from long-standing Swiss private collections.

The most notable pieces are a Mayan stucco fragment featuring the profile of a dignitary in relief (3,000-5,000 Swiss francs), a wooden Chimú carved and mother-of-pearl inlaid baton (1,500-2,500 Swiss francs), an imposing polychrome Jama Coaque terracotta statue of a shaman (3,000-5,000 Swiss francs) and a figurative Chimú gold goblet (1,000-2,000 Swiss francs).

Through these objects originating from a dozen different cultures, visitors to the exhibition will discover the multifaceted arts of the New World, from Mexico to Peru, via Costa Rica and Colombia.

On the Yeti’s trail… From the Himalayas to Geneva!
On Wednesday 22nd June, Hôtel des Ventes will sell the back fur of an extremely rare specimen known as the Tibetan blue bear Ursus arctos pruinosus which many crypto zoologists and conservationists have concluded is the most likely candidate in identifying the infamous Yeti. Collected during a Himalayan expedition, this particular pelt was first sold in 1978 by Christie’s London during a time when a lot of interest surrounded the mystery of the yeti or abominable snowman. Various sightings, hair samples and footprint recordings were being investigated. The hype surrounding the sale of this seldom-seen bear hide reached Switzerland and enticed a Swiss collector to participate in claiming a piece of yeti history and the opportunity has now represented itself…

According to media accounts surrounding the 1978 sale, this particular pelt adorned the throne of a religious chief in a monastery in the northern region of Bhutan. Commonly known in this area as “Migou” (wild man), each country in the Himalayan region has its own name for the Yeti varying from “man-bear” to “snow-man”. Cryptid or not, this creature had obviously infiltrated the Sherpa culture. In 1954, the English explorer John Angelo Jackson photographed symbolic paintings of the Yeti at the Tengboche monastery in the Khumbu region of Nepal.

Throughout most of the 20th century, interest surrounding the existence of the Yeti steadily increased. Having adopted the more dramatic and westernised name Abominable Snowman in the 1920s, popular culture soon caught on to this infectious curiosity. Even the beloved cartoon character Tintin encountered the Yeti in the 1960’s adventure comic book Tintin in Tibet after author Hergé became intrigued with the Sherpa culture and Tibetan Buddhism.

During his successful expedition along side the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953 to reach Mt Everest’s summit, Sir Edmund Hillary was also drawn in by the elusive Yeti. In 1960, he mounted an expedition to solve the mystery behind this cryptid. A number of pelts and samples were purchased and borrowed for laboratory testing. The results were conclusive. All furs related to either the blue bear or other recognised species inhabiting the Himalayan regions of Nepal, India and Tibet.

There still remains a slight doubt surrounding the attribution of footprints and the host animal of some unknown parasites discovered in so-called Yeti feces. This said, even the Bhutanese King who was shown the blue bear throne fur apparently declared that the great yeti and the blue bear were one and the same animal.

Could it be then, that this shy and rare blue bear has built itself a reputation in certain Sherpa clan culture over the centuries to the point of being one of the numerous demons believed to inhabit the mountains? Or has western curiosity and sensationalism turned an indigenous bear that often walks upright like a biped into a mythical legendary creature? Whatever the judgment, the relationship of this mythical creature to the Tibetan blue bear continues to fascinate us.

An auctioneering tradition since 1978
Geneva’s Hôtel des Ventes grand summer sales will bring together over 2,500 lots of silver, antique and contemporary furniture, rugs and carpets, photographs, paintings, primitive art, as well as Asian art, jewellery and watches…

For this autumn’s auctions, Bernard Piguet promises fine wines and haute couture.

Founded in 1978, Geneva’s Hôtel des Ventes was taken over by Bernard Piguet who proceeded in building a team of 20 or so collaborators, 12 of which are capable of valuing any object within the 300 to 300,000 francs range. He also specialised in all matters concerning estate and inheritance.

The auction house organises four sales a year each including 2,500 lots. At the last auction back in the spring, Hôtel des Ventes managed to achieve a number of record prices, notably for a Chinese rhinoceros horn libation cup which sold for 365,000 Swiss francs.

Public exhibition: Friday 17th, Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June from 12 noon to 7pm non-stop.

Auction calendar:
Monday 20th June at 7pm: Antiquarian and modern books including the library of Jean-René Bory

Tuesday 21st June at 2pm: Primitive and pre-Columbian art

Tuesday 21st June at 7pm: Art Nouveau, Art Déco, Decorative arts and Silver

Wednesday 22nd June at 9.30am: Collectables and Asian art

Wednesday 22nd June at 2pm: Furniture, Rugs and Carpets

Wednesday 22nd June at 7pm: Paintings and contemporary art, photographs

Thursday 23rd June at 2pm: Designer bags and accessories, Jewellery and Watches

Thursday 23rd June at 7pm: Jewellery and watches





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