Mayfair ancient art dealers Charles Ede
have had a busy first few days at the 2018 TEFAF Maastricht fair, with sales from as low as 250 for a small Egyptian scarab to as high as six figures.
Managing director Martin Clist is delighted that among the first pieces to find a new home was the stands centerpiece: a rare Roman carved ivory relief dating to the 2nd-3rd century AD. An unusually large piece of this type at 9.5 x 15.5cm, it depicts a drunken Papa Silenos supported by two naked satyrs accompanied by a torch-lit procession before the temple with the palm tree in the background.
I dont recall such an ivory piece of this quality and size being on the market for a long while, says Clist. The preservation of ancient ivory is uncommon, as an organic material it can easily decay. The material was then, as now, seen as a material of luxury and therefore would have been attached to something of high value.
The asking price was 110,000 and it has sold to a French client.
Other notable sales include a 56.5cm high Cypriot limestone votary figure dating to c.6th century BC (asking price: 68,000), which has sold to a Dutch national collection; a black-figure terracotta eye kylix from Athens, c.525-500 BC (asking price: 36,000), which has gone to a German state museum; and a 4.2cm high Egyptian head of a prince in green peridotite from the Ptolemaic Period, c.332-30 BC (asking price: 85,000), bought by a Dutch private collector.
Charles Ede are one of the few ancient art dealers who stand at every TEFAF fair and have enjoyed excellent sales at 2017 Spring and Fall outings in New York, as well as at TEFAF.
Making people feel comfortable without putting them under undue pressure to buy something creates the right atmosphere in which to share ones enthusiasm, says Clist. We have found that transparent pricing, including listing sums in dollars when we exhibit at the New York TEFAF fairs, or in euros at TEFAF Maastricht, makes a lot of difference to the length of time people spend on the stand.