This Anton Horvat platinum, sapphire and diamond brooch sailed past the pre-sale estimate of $4,000 to $6,000 to gavel for $108,000 at Nadeau’s Auction Gallery’s annual New Year’s Day Auction on Jan. 1.
WINDSOR, Conn. – A stunning Anton Horvat platinum, sapphire and diamond brooch—having at its center a cushion-cut, 6-carat blue sapphire—sailed past the pre-sale estimate of $4,000 to $6,000 to gavel for $108,000 at Nadeau’s Auction Gallery’s annual New Year’s Day Auction on Jan. 1.
“Quite simply, this was our best auction ever, in terms of the overall quality of the merchandise, which was spectacular, and the total gross, which landed at right around $1.33 million,” said Ed Nadeau, owner of Nadeau’s Auction Gallery. “Bidding was spirited in the room, on the phones and over the internet, many left bids were submitted and it was just a great sale. Many, if not most, of the lots ended up selling for far more than even their high estimates.”
Online, the auction had a little fewer than 2,000 registered bidders, participating through Invaluable (formerly Artfact.com). Those bidders submitted 2,026 bids from 49 countries. Left bidders, phone bidders and bidders in the auction gallery accounted for 595 registered bidders, with a total of 1,062 left and phone bids placed. In all, 2,537 bidders placed 3,088 bids.
The sapphire and diamond brooch was the top lot of the 600-plus-lot auction, proving that fine estate jewelry will trump even John James Audubon bird prints from the 19th century, a first-edition copy of Herman Melville’s novel “Moby Dick” from 1851, a full set of 25 books by Mark Twain signed by the author, and palace-size Persian rugs, all of which were also in the auction.
The Anton Horvat brooch proved to be irresistible to bidders, who were drawn to its massive and beautiful center sapphire stone as well as its filigree mounting set with 98 diamonds. The diamonds surrounding the sapphire were set in a filigree undercarriage on each shoulder of the brooch, with two additional sapphires on either side. Included was the original Horvat box.
Following are additional highlights from the auction (all prices quoted include a 17-percent buyer’s premium):
This 1620 manuscript of the Persian “Shah Nameh” (or Book of Kings), an epic poem sold for $78,000.
• The second top lot of the sale wasn’t even one of the abovementioned items. It was a 1620 manuscript of the Persian “Shah Nameh” (or “Book of Kings”), a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Firdausi, sometime between 977 and 1010 A.D. Once word of the manuscript’s availability reached the Middle East, Internet bidding reached fever pitch. It sold for $78,000, finishing well ahead of its pre-sale estimate of $4,000 to $6,000. The “Shah Nameh” is the national epic poem of Iran (Persia) and the Persian-speaking world. It contains some 50,000 verses, telling the mythical and historical past of the Persian Empire. It is of central importance to Persian culture, even today, and is regarded as a literary masterpiece. Adding to the manuscript’s allure were its 33 beautiful, hand-eliminated plates.
• The first-edition copy of Melville’s “Moby Dick” (or “The Whale”) was published in New York in 1851 by Harper and Brothers. It sold for $30,750, against a pre-sale estimate of $4,000 to $8,000. The set of 25 volumes by Twain (American Publishing Co., Hartford, Conn., 1899) was numbered 391 of 521 sets. It was the autograph edition, signed as both “S.L. Clemens” and “Mark Twain”. It breezed to $18,000, easily beating the pre-sale estimate of $5,000 to $10,000.
• The Audubon prints were large—around 38 inches in height, which the biggest prints being made at the time and known in the trade as “double elephant” folio prints. Five of the nine were of large American birds; six still had their original Kennedy Gallery labels en verso, with Wahtman watermarks, very important to collectors. The prints were from the estate collection of Ms. Augusta Smith. The four top achievers of the group were: “Brown Pelican” ($24,000); “Great American Cock Male” ($36,000); “Whooping Crane” ($14,400); and “Great American Hen and Young Vulgo” ($24,000). All were printed around the 1820s or ’30s, while Audubon was alive. “Great American Cock Male” (or “Wild Turkey”) sold within range, having been expected to realize $20,000 to $40,000.
This 1930 drypoint and sandpaper ground etching by Martin Lewis, titled “Stoops in Snow,” realized $31,590.
• Two important etchings by the renowned Australian-born American artist and print maker Martin Lewis (1881-1962) also crossed the auction block. Both were drypoint and sandpaper ground etchings. One, titled “Stoops in Snow” (1930, Edition 115), showed figures walking in New York City’s snowy streets ($31,950). The other, titled “Bay Windows” (1929, Edition 104), also depicted a snowy Manhattan street scene ($20,400). Both were pencil signed, and both ended up topping the pre-sale estimates, which were $10,000 to $20,000 for each one.
• Other artworks included an oil on canvas by Edward Moran (Am., 1829-1901), titled “Shad Fishing on the Hudson” (1873), 13 ½ inches by 23 ½ inches, signed and dated ($28,800, against a pre-sale estimate of $6,000-$8,000); an oil on canvas by Guy Pene du Bois (Am., 1884-1958), titled “Nude Woman (Artist’s Wife),” 25 inches by 20 inches, artist signed ($18,000); and an oil on board rendering by Pieter Claesz (Dutch, 1597-1661), titled “Morning Still Life,” unsigned, 10 ¼ inches by 13 ¾ inches ($13,200, which bested the estimate of $5,000-$10,000).
This palace-size Sultanabad Oriental carpet, late 19th century, with an all-over ivory design hammered for $29,250.
• A rare, late 19th-century ivory design Sultanabad Oriental carpet, in overall excellent condition, measuring 11 feet, 9 inches by 19 feet, 9 inches, changed hands for $29,250, nearly tripling the high pre-sale estimate of $6,000-$10,000. Also, an Aesthetic Victorian mahogany table with silver inlaid spider web top and set on turned and squared legs ending in brass feet (N.Y., circa 1870-1880) gaveled for $10,800. The table was only expected to fetch $400-$800.
• Returning to estate jewelry, a ruby necklace composed of three graduated strands of bead rubies ranging from 17 to 19 inches per strand, with 18-karat yellow gold clasp set with three square-cut emeralds on either side of the clasp, made $18,000, more than tripling the $3,000-$5,000 pre-sale estimate; and a platinum three-stone diamond ring, with a center round brilliant cut diamond weighing 1.52 carats, with H-I color, hit $12,600, against a pre-sale estimate of $6,000-$10,000.
• A platinum, three-stone diamond ring with filigree undercarriage, all of the diamonds European cut, the center diamond weighing about 1.79 carats, size 7 ¾, slipped on a new finger for $14,400, topping the pre-sale estimate of $5,000-$9,000; and an early 20th-century platinum emerald and diamond ring, the center emerald being about 5.75 carats and surrounded by 52 round-cut single diamonds, size 3 ½, hit $16,800. It was expected to command $4,000-$8,000.
Nadeau’s is always accepting quality consignments for its bigger sales, held throughout the year, and its general auctions, held every four weeks. To consign an item, an estate or a collection, call 860.246.244, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Nadeau’s Auction Gallery website.
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