AMSTERDAM.-Only four weeks after Sotheby’s sale of Works of Art from the Royal House of Hanover, another auction captivated the imagination of art collectors world-wide. The two-day auction “Crowns and Coronets” at Sotheby’s Amsterdam, held on Monday 31 October and Tuesday 1 November 2005, raised a total of € 6.78 million - by far exceeding the pre-sale estimate of € 3.5 million and the highest total ever for a sale at Sotheby’s Amsterdam.
The auction of 1275 lots comprised selected paintings, furniture, works of art and silver, all consigned from circa 100 Royal and Noble Houses in Germany, Netherlands, Austria, England and Russia. The majority of the objects had been unseen for generations and were fresh to the market.
The highest price of the sale was € 303,200, offered by a buyer from Germany for lot 662, an important Bavarian gilt limewood console table. The abundantly carved table, with dragons and masks, was made in Munich, circa 1725 (lot 662, estimate € 60,000-80,000).
The wonderful ivory model of a sleigh, made for King Ludwig II of Bavaria, sold for € 236,000. The sleigh, drawn by swans and elaborately carved with tritons and putti, was made by Philipp Perron (1840-1907) after the design by Franz Seitz, 1870/80 (lot 757, estimate € 100,000-150,000).
A rare pair of German Rococo commodes by Abraham Roentgen, Neuwied, made around 1760, from the estate of the late Wolter Reichsgraf von und zu Hoensbroech, of Castle Haag, returned with a new owner to Germany for € 236,000 (lot 703, estimate € 150,000-220.000).
Lot 708, a neoclassical mahogany secrétaire à abattant by a follower of David Roentgen, multiplied the estimate of € 15,000-25,000 by selling for € 236,000 to a UK buyer. The metamorphic secrétaire with a trompe l’oeil exterior imitating rustic masonry fixed with moss, was specially ordered by the Fechenbach family in the last quarter of the 18th century, probably to match the architecture of a room in one of their castles.
A set of six Dutch silver candlesticks by Martinus van Stapele, The Hague, 1771 was estimated € 50.000-70.000, but fierce bidding resulted in a € 185.600 (lot 1829).
There was lively bidding for lot 2026, a large painting by Nicolas Gregorovitch Svertschkoff, Return from a bear hunt. The oil on canvas of 102 by 160, from the collection of Countess Lilian Anna Mueller Grocholski, went to a collector in the USA for € 144,000 (estimate € 10,000-15,000).
An important documentary Nymphenburg double-handled portrait vase, with the portrait of Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria, was painted by Christian Matthias Adler in 1824. The vase was part of the collection of the late Mariann Princess Reuss. Estimated € 12,000-18,000 it sold for € 132,000 (lot 1106).
A US buyer acquired a pair of early 19th century micro mosaic panels depicting Joseph and Potiphar’s wife and Jephta’s daughter for € 120,000, multiplying the estimate of € 15,000-20,000. Both Old Testament scenes have been finely executed in minuscule tesserae.
Two lots drew special attention. The lotnumbers 1947 and 1948 comprised of several pairs of spectacles, once owned by the late Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. The spectacles were worn on numerous occasions, such as state visits and official photo’s and are very well known to the public. The golden pair was sold to Museum Palace Het Loo, for € 3.360 (estimate € 1.200-1.500) and a set of four pairs went to an anonymous buyer for the estimated € 1.200.
The sale was 90.2% sold by value and 76% in lots. Many lots sold for prices well above their estimates.
There was keen bidding by enthusiastic collectors in the saleroom and on the many telephones. The interest in the sale was truly international with buyers from Holland, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, UK, Austria, Switzerland, France, Monaco, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Russia, Turkey, Israel and the US
Dr Philipp Herzog von Württemberg, Managing Director of Sotheby’s Germany and Sotheby’s France, and one of the auctioneers of the sale, said: “Just a few weeks after Sotheby’s successful sale of the Collection of the Royal House of Hanover, another sale has captured the imagination of thousands of people from all over the world. We have witnessed enthusiastic bidding, both from the saleroom and by telephone. The distinguished provenance of the objects that were fresh to the market and usually in original condition, proved to be irresistible. There was a considerable competition between bidders from many nationalities to acquire them”.