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Letters written by Queen Elizabeth II to Princess Margaret's best friend and her mother hammer for $4,320
Trove of ten personal letters written between 1948-1950, mostly from Queen Elizabeth II to Sharman Douglas ($4,320).

SANTA MONICA, CA.- A trove of ten personal letters written from 1948-1950, mostly from Queen Elizabeth II to Sharman Douglas (Princess Margaret’s close personal friend in the 1940s and ‘50s) and her mother, Mrs. Lewis Douglas, sold as a single lot for $4,320 at an auction held Jan. 15 by Los Angeles Auction House, at the Santa Monica Airport, the firm’s venue of choice.

One of the letters was written to Ms. Douglas by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. It stated, “Dear Sharman, I take back everything I said and I am delighted that it is now certain that you can remain here indefinitely, I hope! Yours ever, Philip.” Another was from “Bobbety” Robert Gascoyne, 5th Marques of Salisbury. All but one of the letters came with its original envelope.

In a related lot, a portrait of Mary Constable, sister of the renowned British artist John Constable (1776-1837), descended from Lewis William Douglas, Ambassador to the Court of St. James to his daughter, Sharman Douglas, and then to the consignor, gaveled for $14,400. The portrait was an oil on paper, laid on canvas. A photo of the painting from around 1820 sold as a separate lot.

The letters and painting were part of Los Angeles Auction House’s Winter Fine & Decorative Arts Sale, which was packed with more than 300 lots of European paintings, sterling flatware and hollow ware (and silver smalls), fine estate jewelry, icons and religious artworks, prints and posters, pottery, ephemera, art glass and more. Online bidding was facilitated by

“We were fortunate to have been contacted by several consignors with serious collections, and that helped make the auction the success that it was,” said Bryan Abbott, owner of Los Angeles Auction House and a former founding director of the Decorative Arts Department at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Tex. “The quality of items was strong across the board, as were final prices.”

Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.

The top lot of the auction was a Madoura ceramic chouette (or wood owl) vase by Pablo Picasso, made in 1969 and 11 ½ inches tall ($16,800). The earthenware vase, with matte and gloss four-color glaze, was signed and numbered (361/500). Also, an oil on canvas beach scene by Nicola Simbari (It., 1927-2012), done in 1980, linen lined with a giltwood frame, signed, hit ($3,950).

A color lithograph by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (Fr., 1864-1901), titled Babylone d’Allemange (1894), signed and dated with a monogram lower left, large at 48 ½ inches by 34 ½ inches and housed in a giltwood frame, brought $10,200; and a color lithograph by Marc Chagall (Fr., 1887-1985), titled Le Bouquet Rouge et Jaune, on arches paper, artist-signed in pencil, fetched $7,200.

A 204-piece Neoclassical European silver flatware silver dinner service by Bruckmann & Sohne, depicting Dionysus (or Bacchus) on top of the handle, in superb relied with crisp detail, garnered $9,600. Also, a pristine group of twelve Tiffany solid sterling dessert (or tea) knives in the multi-motif Japanese pattern (circa 1880), with bird and flower design and Tiffany mark, made $2,520.

A Southern antebellum coin silver pitcher of baluster form made circa 1880 by James Conning (Mobile, Ala.), with repousse floral design and hand-chased accents, 11 ½ inches tall, rose to $3,840; and an American Federal period hand-made coin silver three-piece tea set by Fletcher & Gardiner (teapot, covered sugar and creamer), each with a squat ovoid body, went for $3,600.

A 19th century skillfully-chased Imperial Russian silver icon with silver oklad (protective metal cover), depicting Mary and Christ and rendered in oil on a multi-layered panel, maker unknown and done circa 1844, realized $13,200; while an Imperial Russian sterling silver and shaded enamel cigarette case, with the mark of Dimitry Nikolayev (Moscow), circa 1900, made $2,040.

A fine Georg Jensen 830 silver and Art Nouveau sterling necklace, design # 20, 31 inches long, with original blue silk string, four silver beads and floral tulip design with hanging labradorite pedant in the center, achieved $3,720. Also, a Hector Aguilar (Taxco, Mexico) sterling necklace composed of hand-engraved “X” form and ball links, with original finish, commanded $2,400.

A Hermes (Paris, France) 18kt gold anchor bracelet, 8 ¼ inches long, with ropework and anchor link design, loop and bar clasp, and having the French assay marks for 18kt yellow gold, coasted to $8,400; and a Tiffany & Co. mid-20th century (circa 1970) 18kt yellow gold rhinoceros brooch with ruby-set eye, signed “Tiffany & Co. 18kt,” 2 ¼ inches by 1 inch, changed hands for $2,400.

A lovely Ingeborg Lundin (Sweden, for Orrefors) ariel “Faces” vase, olive green and clear in color and more elaborate than most in this series, made in the Cubist style circa 1970, earned $3,480. Also, an Alfred Dunhill solid 18kt gold pen with somorodok (pure state metal) finish, 5 ¼ inches long, with a felt tip cartridge and the date (1974) marked on the case, achieved $2,150.

Los Angeles Auction House’s next big auction event is planned for sometime in the summer, probably late June or early July, also in the general aviation facility (a large hangar) at the Santa Monica Airport. Watch the website as summer approaches, at

Los Angeles Auction house was established by auction and antique industry professionals, to better serve the needs of families, individuals and those in the legal and banking professions. The firm’s two principals have over 50 years’ combined experience in the antiques and auction industry. They provide expert appraisals made to exacting and offer competitive rates and fees.

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