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The jewellery collection of the late Michael Wellby makes three times estimate in £2.8 million sale
An important diamond devant de corsage, late 18th Century. Estimate: £60,000 - 80,000. Sold for: £385,250 ($619,251). Photo: Sotheby's.
LONDON.- This afternoon at Sotheby’s London the Jewellery Collection of the Late Michael Wellby made an outstanding total of £2,836,300 – more than three times the pre-sale low estimate of £838,600-£1,194,100, in a rare “white glove” auction in which all 211 lots were sold. Collectors competed fiercely for key pieces. The sale’s top lot was an important late 18th Century diamond devant de corsage, which keen bidding drove to £385,250 – more than six times low estimate (£60,000-80,000). A 19th century wheat sheaf diamond tiara also outstripped expectations sixfold, fetching £373,250, against an estimate of £60,000-80,000.

Mr Nicholas Wellby commented: “We are delighted, and even a little surprised at the result of today’s sale. My father put together his collection over many years and it is wonderful to see how his unerring eye for quality and craftsmanship resonated with collectors. We were particularly pleased with the price achieved for the wheat sheaf tiara which was a great favourite and beloved by many generations of children in the family.”

Alexandra Rhodes, Senior International Jewellery Specialist at Sotheby’s commented: “Today’s result was a tribute to Michael Wellby and his remarkable collection. We witnessed an extraordinary level of interest from international buyers, - on the phone, in the room and online - with bidding becoming, at times, almost frenzied. This has been an enormously successful year for jewellery internationally at Sotheby’s with outstanding results in our sales in Hong Kong, Geneva and New York and following the 100% sold Suzanne Belperron sale in Geneva in May, this is our second white glove sale of 2012.”

Other highlights of the sale included:
• A Tiffany & Co. diamond bracelet, circa 1930, sold for £127,250, against an estimate of £40,000-60,000.

• A late 19th Century natural pearl, gem set and diamond brooch/pendant by Georges Fouquet realised £97,250 (est. £12,000-15,000).

• A Southern Italian 17th century gold, baroque pearl, enamel and diamond pendant fetched £79,250 (est.£30,000-40,000).

• A natural pearl, enamel and diamond pendant circa 1900 reached £79,250 nearly 10 times pre-sale estimate (£8,000-12,000).

• A late 19th century ruby and diamond bracelet realised, £56,450, 14 times estimate (£4,000-6,000)

• A 1920s enamel, lapis lazuli and diamond bracelet made £56,450 (£12,000-15,000)

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