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Sotheby's Sets Record for English Silver - Cooler Sells for 2.5 Million Pounds
A Magnificent Pair of Imperial Porcelain Vases, Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, St Petersburg, Period of Nicholas I (1825-1855), dated 1842, sold for £1,945,250 (est: £1.4 – 1.8 million). Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- The most important piece of English silver to come to the market in 50 Years, a monumental silver wine cooler, weighing 168 pounds (11 ½ stone or 2597 oz.) and measuring well over a meter across, sold this evening at Sotheby’s for £2,505,250, establishing a new record price for English silver. The spectacular cistern, as “Large as a Small Bathing-Tub”, sold to a private Asian buyer. It was lot 8 in Sotheby’s sale of “Treasures”, a 21-lot sale which has just concluded, realising an above-estimate total of £13,951,250 / $21,177,998 (the pre-sale estimate was £8,790,000 - £13,430,000).

Mario Tavella, Sotheby’s Deputy Chairman Europe and the specialist in charge of the sale said: “Today’s very successful results represent a fantastic achievement in the field of decorative arts. These extraordinarily rare Treasures with highly desirable aristocratic provenance sparked competition from private collectors and institutional buyers alike as well as the trade and there was bidding and buying from Europe, the United States, Russia, Asia and the Middle East.”

Many remarkable prices were achieved in this evening’s sale. Most notably:

• An Italian Engraved Ivory Inlaid Rosewood Centre Table, made for the Duke of Urbino Francesco Maria II Della Rovere (1549-1631), c 1596-7, and subsequently part of the collection of the Medici family, sold for £937,250. Known, but previously misunderstood, the same table sold for £6,000 at auction in 1989. Its Medici provenance, recently revealed thanks to the discovery of contemporary documents, was no doubt behind the strong competition generated in the salesroom this evening.

• An amber casket bearing the arms of Prince William IV of Orange and Anne, Princess Royal of Great Britain, North German, Probably made in Danzig, 1734, realised £657,250 – well beyond its pre-sale estimate of £200,000-300,000. This extraordinarily rare and beautifully crafted box was probably made to celebrate the union of Prince William IV of Orange and Anne, Princess Royal, the eldest daughter of King George II of Great Britain. They married at St James’ Palace in 1734, further reaffirming the strong ties between Great Britain and the Netherlands.

• A Magnificent Pair of Imperial Porcelain Vases, Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, St Petersburg, Period of Nicholas I (1825-1855), dated 1842, sold for £1,945,250 (est: £1.4 – 1.8 million)

• A set of three ivory painted and parcel-gilt Royal Pliants by Jean-Baptiste-Claude Séné (1748-1803) made for Queen Marie Antoinette’s Salon des Jeux at the Châteaux of Compiègne and Fontainebleau, Louis XVI, circa 1786-87, commanded £541,250 against an estimate of £150,000-250,000.

Sotheby’s sale of “Treasures”, Aristocratic Heirlooms, was one of 6 sales held at Sotheby’s London today. Together, they made a combined total of £27,488,438 / $41,727,450

London | Sotheby's | Mario Tavella |

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