Bidders came out in droves today to testify to the extraordinary eye and eclectic, but always refined, taste of the late Stanley J. Seeger. In the first of two days of sales at Sothebys
in London, nearly 2,000 collectors from across the globe registered their intention to bid on everything, from dinosaur eggs to a replica of Tutankhamuns golden throne - all part of a collection put together by one of the greatest collectors of our time in conjunction with his kindred spirit and partner of 32 years, Christopher Cone.
Many of the works in the collection had irresistible stories to tell, making them even more desirable to collectors in search of beautiful objects that at the same time had brushed with history. Among such pieces were:
· Admiral Lord Nelsons Bachelor Teapot, 1799 which realised £56,250 (68,456). Engraved with initial N for Nelson, the teapot was estimated at £8,000-12,000 (9,600-14,400).
· A claret jug from the Titanic which sold for £40,000 (48,680) against an estimate of £2,000-3,000 (2,400-3,600). The cut glass jug engraved RMS TITANIC was presented to Pursuer Reginal Barker and his officers in commemoration of RMS Titanics sea trials in April 1912. It was taken off the vessel before her maiden voyage during which the British liner hit an iceberg and sank on 15 April 1912.
· Sir Winston Churchills Armchair, circa 1880 which achieved £27,500 (33,467). Estimated at £3,000-5,000 (3,600-6,000), this armchair was formerly in the estate of the late Prime Minister.
These and many other pieces offered today achieved prices well in excess of their pre-sale estimates, with the top lot of the day, for instance a 16th-century Italian relief showing Hercules wrestling with Antaeus - selling for £350,500 (426,558), ten times its pre-sale low estimate of £30,000.
Together the 485 lot offered today have already realised a combined total of over £3.5 million (4.4 million), well in excess of the pre-sale low estimate for the entire two days (£3 million).
The sale continues tomorrow when, among the further 500 or so items to be offered, will be Al Capones cocktail shaker, and Orson Welles own working copy of the script of Citizen Kane.