Auction Results: Pair Chinese Carved Coral Sculptures Each Gavel for $66,550

This antique Qing Dynasty period Chinese hand-carved red coral sculpture depicting four Guan Yin brought $66,550, which tied for top-lot honors at Elite Decorative Arts’ Nov. 2 auction in Florida.

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. – A Chinese hand-carved red coral sculpture of four Guan Yin (Buddhist deities of mercy and compassion) from the Qing Dynasty and a Chinese hand-carved red coral group figure depicting two Guan Yin with flowers throughout each gaveled for $66,550 to share top-lot honors at Elite Decorative Arts’ Nov. 2 auction in Florida.

The sale—featuring 370 lots (300 of which met or exceeded their reserves) of Chinese works, fine decorative arts and fine artworks—was held in the firm’s Boynton Beach gallery. About 80 people attended the event live; another 650 bid online, via LiveAuctioneers and Artfact. Phone and absentee bids were also recorded.

This Chinese hand-carved red coral figural group depicting two Guan Yin with flowers throughout was the other top lot in the sale, realizing $66,550.

More than 1,000 Internet bids were placed in an auction that attracted worldwide interest. People from as far away as Eastern Europe and Asia logged on to bid for items. All eight phone lines were kept busy as well. By the time the final hammer came down, the sale had grossed $735,000.

“It was one of our better auctions, said Scott Cieckiewicz of Elite Decorative Arts.

The red coral sculpture grouping of the four Guan Yin stood just shy of 11 inches tall and was estimated to be from the Tongzhi reign (circa 1862-1874) of the Qing Dynasty. The lot included a certificate of antiquity from the Hong Kong Art Craft Merchants Association from 1985. It was appraised then for $50,000. Each figure was beautifully, meticulously hand-carved.

The same bidder who purchased that lot also bought the one immediately following it: a large (14 ½ inches tall) Chinese hand-carved red coral group depicting two maidens holding sheng and pipe instruments. A phoenix and crane can also be seen. A rock formed the base with high relief flowers. The piece sold for $41,140, so the two purchases combined topped $100,000.

The other Chinese carved red coral group that realized $66,550 was larger than either of the two just described (19 inches tall). A fitted wooden base was included in the total height. One other Chinese carved red coral group that did well was a finely carved sculpture depicting a standing Guan Yin holding a platter with flowers, 7 ½ inches tall, circa 19th century ($15,125).

Following are additional highlights from the auction (all prices quoted include either an 18-percent buyer’s premium for in-house and phone bidders or a 21-percent premium for Internet bidders):

Fine artworks were abundant and did exceptionally well. An oil on canvas still life of a cup with fruit by the Mexican artist Pedro Coronel (1923-1985), titled “Naturaleza Muerta,” 31 ½ inches by 44 ½ inches, fetched $33,880. Coronel was a painter, sculptor, engraver and draftsman. In 1946 he went to Paris, were he studied under artists Victor Brauner and Constantin Brancusi.

A cluster of paintings by German-born American artist Wolf Kahn (b. 1927) got paddles wagging. These included the works “Tree Dance” ($16,520), “Forest Murmurs” ($29,500), “Red Shed, Blue Sky” ($13,570), “Ruisdale, New Hampshire” ($25,960) and an untitled Impressionist work ($13,570). All five were recently valued by Christie’s for between $12,000 and $30,000 each.

Standing This Chinese hand-carved white jade boulder depicting a mountain city scene, 9 ¾ inches tall, brought $21,830.

A collage on metal by Victor Vasarely (Fr., 1906-1997), depicting a Monochrome Violet design, 39 ¾ inches square, signed and mounted in a chrome tone metal frame, rose to $15,730; a still life of flowers in a vase by Nell Blaine (Am., 1922-1996), signed and mounted in a gold and white painted wooden frame, went for $13,730; and a bonded acrylic on canvas of a majestic stallion by Judith Dazzio (b. 1942), titled “Wild Passion,” 30 inches by 40 inches, made $13,915.

Returning to Chinese objects, a Qing Dynasty (circa 19th century) palace-sized hand-carved figural jadeite scholar’s desk brush washer of slightly tapered oval form, 8 ½ inches tall by 27 inches in length, with the exterior carved to depict nine raised Chih lung dragons amidst lingzhi form clouds atop crashing waves, weighing a total of 92 pounds, topped out at $23,600.

A Chinese hand-carved white jade boulder depicting a mountain city scene and depicting what is called “Kong Cheng Ji” (or the “Stratagem of the Empty City” where occupants open the gates of a non-fortified city to confuse and frighten approaching armies) hammered for $21,830. The 9 ¾-inch-tall translucent jade specimen featured russet suffusions and a fitted wooden base.

A pair of fine Chinese relief-carved and pierced pale green translucent hetian jade incense holders in a fitted presentation box—each one having a continuous scholar’s mountain landscape scene depicting pagodas, rock formations, trees, waterfalls and bridges—breezed to $21,240. Each holder stood just under 10 inches tall (including covers and spinach jade bases).

Rounding out just some of the auction’s top lots, a rare Chinese antique hand-painted enameled Grisailles planter, with a flower and leaf design over yellow ground, from the Qing Dynasty (Tongzhi to Guangzu, circa 1862-1908) realized $12,980; and a stunning Bensabbot (Chicago) sterling silver and jade hook desk set with a gold wash magnifying glass and letter opener, made circa 18th or 19th century (and decorated by Bensabbot later on) garnered $11,798.

Elite Decorative Arts’ next big auction is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 23, also in the Boynton Beach gallery, starting promptly at 1 p.m. (EST). Offered will be over 300 lots of fine art, bronzes and Chinese works. Previews will be held Friday, Nov. 22, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 11 am to 1 p.m.

Elite Decorative Arts is always seeking quality consignments for future auctions. To inquire about consigning an item, an estate or collection, call 561.200.0893, e-mail to or visit the Elite Decorative Arts website.

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