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Sotheby's Islamic Art Sales Series Achieves Record Sum of £25.3 ($40.3) Million
Twenty four preparatory paintings depicting the Battle of Pollilur, Seringapatam, Mysore, India after 1780. Pre-sale estimate: 650,000—800,000 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- Sotheby’s Islamic Art Sales Series concluded this afternoon, realising an outstanding – above high estimate – total of £25,349,000 ($40,264,239) and a combined sell-through rate by lot of 64%. The total achieved represents a record sum for any Auction Series of Islamic Art ever staged. The exceptionally strong sum of £18,297,200 ($29,118,164) realised for today’s ‘Arts of the Islamic World Sale’, which was over £1 million above the high estimate for the sale, established the highest-ever total for a single sale staged in this collecting field. Today’s results follow the success of last night’s first-ever Evening Auction in the category – ‘A Princely Collection: Treasures from the Islamic World’ – which brought £7,051,800 ($11,146,075).

Discussing the results of Sotheby’s Islamic Art Sales Series, Edward Gibbs, Senior Director and Head of the Middle East Department, commented: “These exceptional results reflect the strong demand for rare and high quality works of art with good provenance, and the growing strength of this field on the international art scene. Collectors of Islamic Art are more discerning than ever before and very selective, focusing on the best the current market has to offer.”

6 October, 2010 - Arts of the Islamic World:
The top selling lot of today’s Arts of the Islamic World Sale, and Islamic Art Week in London, was an exceptionally rare and important Nasrid Ear-Dagger, Spain, 15th century. Two telephone bidders contended for this object for five minutes and it finally sold to an anonymous buyer for £3,737,250 ($5,947,460), more than six times its pre-sale low estimate (est. £600,000-800,000), to a round of applause.

Further highlights include:

• The "Karlsruhe" Safavid Niche Rug from Central Persia, which dates from the second half of the 16th century, sold for £1,161,250 ($1,848,013) (est. £1-1.5 million).

• A magnificent Safavid Ewer and Basin inscribed with verses from Sa'di and Hafiz, Persia, 16th century, made £1,026,850 ($1,634,129) (est. £200,000-300,000).

• 24 rare and rediscovered preparatory paintings depicting the renowned Battle of Pollilur in India, sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for the outstanding sum of £769,250 ($1,224,184), very near the top estimate for the lot (est. £650,000-800,000).

• An early Qajar period framed oil on canvas Portrait of a Lady by the leading artist of the day Mirza Baba (dated 1215AH/1800-01AD) - probably painted for the royal court of Fath 'Ali Shah Qajar (R.1797-1834) – commanded £959,650 ($1,527,187) (est. £500,000-800,000).

Sale statistics:
Total: £18,362,350 ($29,221,844)
Pre-sale Estimate: £12-17.3 million
Sold by Lot: 55.4%
Sold by Value: 82.4%

5 October, 2010 - A Princely Collection: Treasures from the Islamic World:
Headlining this first-ever Evening Auction of Islamic Art was the sale of a rare and important Abbasid lustre pottery bowl, dating to the second-half of the 9th century, which was the subject of intense competition. The bowl, which displays a sparse and striking stylised foliate pattern reminiscent of the tilework in the Great Mosque of Qairawan in Tunisia realised the extraordinary sum of £713,250, and sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for almost four times the low estimate (lot 60, est.: £200,000-300,000).

Further highlights include:

• An exceptional and large Qur'an Leaf In Gold Kufic Script On Blue Vellum, from the famous “Blue Qur’an” produced in North Africa or the Near East in the 9th-10th century, was acquired by a buyer on the telephone for £529,250, more than double the low estimate for the lot (lot 7, est. £200,000-300,000).

• An important illuminated Persian manuscript on paper, Tafsir Al-Qur’an probably made for Shah Tahmasp, copied by Kamal Al-Din Husain at Mecca, dated 955AD/1548-9AD, sold to an anonymous buyer on the telephone for the sum of £601,250, three times more than its low estimate (lot 28, est. £200,000-250,000).

• A large and rare Spanish Umayyad pottery storage vessel, late 10th-11th century, brought £325,250 (lot 72, est. £60,000-80,000).

• A large and lavish Qur'an attributable to Ruzbihan Muhammad, Persia, Safavid, probably Shiraz, early 16th century, realised £313,250 (lot 26, est. £100,000-120,000).

Sale statistics:
Total: £7,051,800 ($11,146,075)
Pre-sale Estimate: £3.4-4.8 million
Sold by Lot: 96%
Sold by Value: 88%

Sotheby's | Islamic Art Sales | Edward Gibbs |

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